Baker: Soldiers Home report speaks for itself’ in Bennett Walsh’s firing

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BOSTON (WWLP) – Bennett Walsh, the former Superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers, doesn’t think Gov. Charlie Baker has the authority to terminate him from that position.

Walsh’s attorney said they’re fighting the governor’s termination letter, but Governor Baker said the report on oversight issues at the home speaks for itself. Back in April, Gov. Baker brought in Mark Perlstine to look into the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home.

Perlstine found that two units at the Home were put together and that healthy veterans were in the same area as residents showing signs of COVID-19. Gov. Baker said he has since reached out to the families of the 76 veterans who lost their lives in the facility.

“It was hard for me to read the report, they expressed to me that it was hard for them to read the report some of them had to read it in pieces, they couldn’t read it all at once because it was too painful, many of them believe that report to be accurate, I’m with them,” Baker said.

The governor didn’t comment directly on Walsh’s decision to fight the termination, though he has said before that the report makes it clear that Walsh was not qualified for the role of superintendent.

The Soldiers’ Home Board of Trustees is expected to meet next week to determine Walsh’s status.

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