BOSTON (SHNS) – It doesn’t take much to roil the ranks of the Governor’s Council, and in this case, all it took was 10 cents.
There was a dime involved, and possible retribution for speaking to a news reporter. But who threw the 2.268-gram coin at whom inside the governor’s office suite has emerged as a subject of dispute.
Councilor Marilyn Devaney first mentioned an incident involving a dime to the News Service on March 22, and in a followup conversation she alleged that Councilor Terry Kennedy had thrown the coin at her and hit her in the chest after a council meeting.
In response, Kennedy told the News Service that it was Devaney who threw the dime at him. Both councilors, who are elected by districts of around 878,000 constituents, tossed around the term “assault.”
Devaney said that some of her colleagues were “chiding” her in March after she called a newspaper reporter about the shutdown of the council’s livestream, a decision she disagreed with.
That, she said, was the significance of the dime. She said she was perceived as having “dropped a dime” on her colleagues, so one of them threw a dime at her as she was preparing to exit the historic Council Chamber.
“I was standing here, near my chair. He came over, threw it,” Devaney said, referring to Kennedy. “Chris Iannella was standing beside him. I said, ‘What are you doing?’ And Chris said, ‘You went to the Herald.’ Terry never said a word. He just threw it. And I left.”
Devaney, a Watertown Democrat, said the coin hit her square in the chest.
Asked about the incident, Kennedy’s initial response was that Devaney “threw a dime at me.”
Councilor Eileen Duff chimed in to say that Devaney “threw it at him. There were witnesses. She chased him down the hall and threw it at him.”
Devaney disputed that she was physically capable of chasing Kennedy, noting that she “couldn’t chase my cat” due to a bad back.
It is not unusual for members of the elected panel, which has the power to mint new judges and Parole Board members, to be openly derisive toward each other. Duff, a Gloucester Democrat, last week called Devaney “mentally ill.”
Asked where the dime came from, Kennedy said he was the original source but that he “gave” it to her. As for the supposed meaning behind the dime — that she had talked to a reporter — Kennedy said, “I was kiddin’. I was teasin’.”
“I gave her a dime, she threw it at me. … I didn’t throw a dime at her,” the Lynnfield Democrat said, laughing. “Yeah, I didn’t throw a dime at her. She threw it at me. And that’s really funny. And I actually turned to her, I says, well, so it wasn’t a curling iron this time.”
The curling iron comment is a reference to Devaney’s 2007 assault and battery charge for allegedly throwing a bag, which contained a curling iron, at a beauty store employee. Devaney settled that case in 2008 by submitting to a period of unsupervised probation.
Duff also tossed out a reference to a 2020 incident in which Devaney allegedly fiddled with a piece of mail in a neighbor’s letterbox. Duff called it a “federal crime,” although that affair was referred to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service which closed the investigation without action.
In a followup interview, Devaney said she was disturbed by her colleagues’ version of events.
“Oh, what are they doing? Hey, it’s during Lent. Please, God. Look down upon me. Please. That is so outrageous,” she said. “… They’re lies. These are lawyers. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. They were my colleagues, my friends, I respected. And they’re saying lies about me.”
A 22-year member of the council, Devaney said she could not remember exactly what she did with the dime, either placing it on a desk or perhaps not even touching it.
The two sparring councilors agree on one thing.
It was “an assault on an elderly person,” said Kennedy, 64.
“It’s an assault,” said Devaney, who is over 80.
As for the other’s motivation?
“You know she’s nuts,” Kennedy said last week.
Devaney often stakes out her own position on the council and sometimes votes alone, such as on the issue of whether to reopen the council’s livestream.
“Because I don’t go along,” she said. “That’s what this whole thing is. I don’t go along.”