Newspaper Archive of
Boston, Massachusetts
June 24, 2011     Post-Gazette
PAGE 11     (11 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 11     (11 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
June 24, 2011

Newspaper Archive of Post-Gazette produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2018. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 24, 2011 Page 11 Bellotti submitting nomination papers for Governor '64 being told by schoolmates, "My dad says your dad is a bum and a thief." The chal- lenge continued. If the pugnacious Bellotti couldn't make peace with party leaders, he was deter- mined to make up for it by winning over diehard con- vention delegates and com- mitted loyal supporters for his campaigns. He had noth- ing to offer except his com- mitment to public service and a desire to help others if given the chance. After losing again in a crowded primary race in 1970 for governor, he narrowly won in 1974 for Massachusetts attorney general against Republican Yankee Josiah Spaulding. As General Patton had once said, "Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of vic- tory." He did. This election began a 12 year, three term successful legacy of public service in Massachusetts government that has been used as a model for other attorneys general to follow. It was also the beginning of Bellotti's "Camelot," a period of high favorability among voters attracted to his charisma, warmth, and sincerity. Bellotti had finally reached "his" moment in time and it would not be squandered. Bellotti came out of his cor- ner swinging. Upon taking office, he ordered a series of administrative and organiza- tional changes that perma- nently changed the attorney general's office. First, he eliminated part time assis- tant attorneys or "Specials" as they were known to end all potential conflicts of in- terests in the handling of cases. He then moved the agency from the historic Beacon Hill State House to a new nearby office building, another positive move that was recognized to separate corrosive "boiler room" poll- Bellotti professionalized the attorney general's office not only with these moves but with his apolitical hiring practices, the manner he treated people. Considered a hallmark of his administra- tion, he created a screening panel of respected legal pro- fessionals who raised the bar significantly in the se- lection and appointment pro- cess for his managers. Many of his executive appoint- ments went on to become elected leaders, judges and heads of major law firms. Three were later elected at- torney general; one became a state Supreme Court jus- tice and another state Sen- ate president. Bellotti never forgot the people who helped make his goal a reality. He rewarded people like Robert Travaglini and gave him his first start as an assistant press aide fresh out of college. On pa- per, Travaglini did not look qualified in comparison to his competitors vying for the slot. However, Bellotti was often a "people person" not a *paper person." Bellotti's ad- vice to him was "keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut." Travaglini never forgot that opportunity or the advice. He later left the attorney general's office and ran for state Senate Bellotti campaigning Attorney General in '66 tics from the "people's law firm" that he was seeking to create. He opened a profes- sional law library at the new location allowing his assis- tants to have unfettered ac- cess to the latest law review journals and general laws to better prepare for their tri- als and negotiations. Unlike his predecessors, he also regularly issued legal opin- ions on a particular current or notable legal issue. These opinions became invaluable documents for both the judi- ciary and the bar to incorpo- rate in their legal postures and decisions. BeUotti in '64 watehing 'Endicott Peabody condede eventually becoming elected by his peers to the powerful position of Massachusetts Senate president. One of Bellotti's proud- est moments was watching this young protdgd achieve complete success. We were "Bellotti's buds" as Trav- aglini aptly called them. They were people who flour- ished and matured to be suc- cessful leaders and thinkers contributing greatly to soci- ety in positive ways prima- rily due to the fatherly nur- turing and astute guidance received from Bellotti. According to another "Bellotti Bud", John Donohue, CEO of Arbella In- surance Company, Bellotti taught his staff simple busi- ness commandants: Don't be afraid to hire people smarter than you; Treat everyone with the same level of respect regard- less of their position; Take time to get to know people, their joys and pains and help them if possible; Know and understand your enemies. Bellotti also insisted that his staff be fully prepared when conducting agency business. Lack of planning and preparedness was a di- rect reflection on the agency and the state. He hung a Rose Kennedy, Frank Bellotti, Joan Kennedy and John McCormack bold sign in his office that shouted, "Have you done the last thing?" The sign applied to everyone who worked there including himself, from the receptionist shut- ting off the lights at the end of the day to an attorney ar- guing before the state Su- preme Court the following morning. Forget what time it is. Get it done. Bellotti's mother, Jenny who by default had become the dominant force in Bellotti's life, instilled in him powerful attributes of compassion, fairness, and independence that he still carries with him till this day. When Bellotti took over as attorney general in 1974, only four women were em- ployed in his office. When he departed in 1986, there were 84 in total. Bellotti appointed women to the highest ex- ecutive positions in the at- torney general's office. Later on he successfully recom- mended many of them for judgeships and to high pow- ered law firms. In 1984 during his final Massachusetts as attorney general with outstanding competency and dedication. It was time for him to step back, refocus and recharge for one last try for the execu- tive office. In 1990, with just a few phone calls and letters, Bellotti quickly reassembled his campaign brain trust and his legion of volunteers to mount his final challenge for the governor's office. However the pendulum in Massachusetts had swung. Bellotti's time had passed as a veteran of these cam- paigns. Voters were upset with the results of the previ- ous four years for which he had played no role. Still, he represented to them the old regime. The electorate de- cided it was time for new blood and a redirection. He never made it out of the pri- mary. It was his "Last Hur- rah". A Bellotti reunion commit- tee was formed and annual dinners for the last 20 years have been held for hundreds of Bellotti alumni to stay con- nected with their colleagues. Bellotti with Mayor John Collins term, his reforms of the at- torney general's office was recognized on a national level when he was elected presi- dent of the National Associa- tion of Attorneys General, just one of many professional accomplishments, commen- dations and awards he had received over the years for his public service and legal accomplishments. Most recently in April 2010 Bellotti received the Sir Tho- mas More award from his alma mater, Boston College Law School. The award was a most fitting one considering that Thomas More was ex- ecuted by the king of England for refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy which declared the king the supreme head of the Church of England. By 1986, he had fulfilled his goals, his mission and his commitment to the people of No other Massachusetts po- litical candidate has such an event. On a personal level, this became his crowning achievement- his people. Not his victorious prosecutions or his efficient reorganiza- tions -just his people. Peter Flynn, a former assistant echoed the alumni when he remarked "I owe everything I have to Frank Bellotti". For the last 20 years, Bellotti has practiced law and helped launch the highly suc- cessful Arbella Insurance Company. At 87, he is still considered a heavyweight in political circles and is often consulted for advice. He con- tinues to rise before dawn to exercise. He makes his own wine, cooks for his family and admits he owes it all to Maggi. To me, he will always be the "nice little Italian boy" who beat the machine.