By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Congratulations to Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who will leave his office in a couple of weeks to take a job running the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

For all of the ridicule he’s received since his bizarre 2011 car crash and the skepticism directed at his relationship with disgraced former Chelsea Housing Authority chief Michael McLaughlin, it’s worth noting that Murray has never been charged with any crime, and there’s no indication he’s about to.

It’s also notable that most of the people who know him best, in the State House and in Worcester where he served on the City Council, speak highly of his character and abilities.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

I asked Murray Wednesday if the ongoing probe of McLaughlin’s sketchy fundraising activities on behalf of Murray and others played any role in his decision to leave office 19 months before the end of his term, and he insisted it didn’t.

But while we’re being fair to Murray, let’s also be fair to the taxpayers and note that leaving office won’t and shouldn’t absolve him from responsibility for his decisions.

Murray strained his credibility by insisting he never knew of McLaughlin’s long, questionable past. When you lie down with dogs you risk getting fleas, and yet Murray persisted in a relationship where the risks arguably outweighed the benefits.

Murray engaged in patronage hiring on behalf of McLaughlin that was, while apparently legal, a violation of the public’s trust.

And it shouldn’t be forgotten that even if Murray didn’t know about it, McLaughlin’s abuses of power and sticky fingers exploited and damaged some of the most vulnerable members of our society, poor and frail elderly tenants of public housing.

It may be that all Tim Murray ever did was grossly misjudge someone, and who among us hasn’t done that.

But while he sails off into the private sector, he should also recognize that he has unfinished business to take care of with the rest of us.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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