Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday he was "appalled" by the actions of a former top state parks official, confirming that video showed him driving with lights and sirens on.
Speaking to reporters outside an event at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, Baker said that Matt Sisk, the former deputy commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation "exhibited terrible judgment."
"I've known Matt Sisk a long time and was appalled by what he did. I certainly don't think you'll see anybody doing anything like that again," Baker told reporters.
Sisk resigned Friday, effective immediately. He and DCR Commissioner Leo Roy were suspended without pay for a week in early September after revelations that the two agency heads used state resources to plan and host a private party at a condo owned by Ron Kaufman, the state's Republican national committeeman.
Baker administration officials on Friday declined to discuss the reasons behind Sisk's resignation. Over the weekend, the Boston Globe reported Sisk had allegedly used lights and sirens to avoid traffic in Boston's Seaport neighborhood.
Sisk's resignation came as an internal investigation into claims of political retribution within the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs stretches into its third week.
Baker said the administration took swift action after viewing video of Sisk using lights and sirens.
"That is in fact what showed up on that video," Baker told reporters. "The minute we heard about it, we referred it to the State Police. They confirmed it, and we asked for his resignation, and he resigned, which is exactly what should have happened. It's a horrible lack of judgment."
The governor said he believes Sisk was using "his regular issued vehicle," and he has sought to learn more about non-emergency vehicles equipped with flashing lights and sirens.
The governor, who is driven around the state by state troopers, said his vehicle has only put its lights and siren on three times.
"The trooper has used lights and sirens three times since I took this job, to go to three funerals for military personnel who died in the line of duty," Baker said. "No one should be using lights and sirens unless they've been trained to use lights and sirens."
Attorney General Maura Healey, speaking on Boston Herald Radio on Monday, said she would wait to learn the results of the administration's investigation, while saying there appears to be a "pattern."
"There's no place for that in any administration," Healey said when asked about patronage in the Baker administration. "And I know that if any of these folks had worked for me, they'd be fired by now. This seems to me to be part of a pattern. Obviously the matter's under investigation, and I won't be able to speak to it. We'll await to see the findings of that investigation."
Baker, a Republican, has hired failed Republican candidates and successful political operatives to government posts. Healey, a Democrat, has brought on people who worked on her campaign to join the attorney general's office, and the practice of hiring politically connected aides is common in elected offices.
Baker told reporters he believes Sisk was "qualified" for the job, and he said, "I consider DCR to be a terrific organization that does good work."
Asked about the prior resignation of Carol Sanchez from the position of DCR commissioner earlier this year, Baker said she had a successful business career before joining the administration and "chose to go back to the private sector."