Baker said he ‘forgot’ meeting with former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home superintendent before hiring

Hampden County

BOSTON (WWLP) – Elected officials on Beacon Hill continue to point blame over the COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

There have been dueling reports over what exactly happened at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home that led to the deaths of at least 77 veterans at the facility. The governor admitted on Friday that he knew more about the Homes leadership than he initially said. 

When COVID-19 hit the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Governor Charlie Baker hired former U.S. attorney Mark Pearlstine to investigate the deadly outbreak. Pearlstine found that the Homes former superintendent Bennett Walsh was unqualified for the job.

Gov. Baker said several times that never met Walsh but a report released by the legislature earlier this week found that the two had a meeting before Walsh was hired.

“I forgot. The board at Holyoke which had the legal authority to do so chose to him and he and I had a brief interview before I swore him in,” Baker said.

The legislature is now putting pressure on Gov. Baker to answer their questions about the outbreak.

Gov. Baker didn’t say directly that he would answer lawmakers’ questions, however, he did say that he looks forward to working with them making major reforms at the facility.

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