THERE’S A NEW LIQUOR CZAR IN TOWN
After several long months, Boston finally has a new liquor czar. Governor Patrick has filled a post that had been vacant for seven months and took steps to return future appointment power to the Hub after decades of state control. Patrick appointed Nicole Murati Ferrer, a longtime attorney for the city, as the new Chairwoman of the Boston Licensing Board. He’s also appointing retired Roxbury Chief Justice Milton Wright to take over for board member Michael Connolly, who will step down in June. The post has been empty since July, 2O1O, when former Chairman Dan Pokaski stepped down amid the controversy over the corruption scandals involving ex-Senator Dianne Wilkerson and ex-City Councilor Chuck Turner. Both cases involved bribes for liquor licenses, but no board members were implicated. The vacant post left just two members on the board and led to many tie votes and delayed action on licenses. Patrick’s legislation cedes appointment power for the city’s liquor board to the mayor. The governor has had the authority since 19O6, although many other cities and towns in Massachusetts have long had local control of liquor licenses. At press time, the legislation still needed House and Senate approval.