Saturday, 2:15 PM
By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff
Ending 10 days of political turmoil for Governor Deval Patrick, state Senator Marian Walsh announced today she will not accept a $120,000-a-year position at a state authority, saying the public outrage over her appointment has created a ''tsunami'' that has forced her to change her mind.
State Senator Marian Walsh
''I feel I have become the issue,'' said Walsh, who appeared with Patrick at a quickly convened media availability at the State House.
She denied that Patrick, who has been politically damaged by controversy, or his aides had prevailed upon her to step aside from taking the position at the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority.
The Globe, citing internal e-mails, reported on Saturday that Patrick aides, despite attempts by the governor's staff and allies to portray the hiring as the agency's decision, engineered Walsh's appointment. She was initially offered a $175,000-a-year salary. But she asked for a $55,000 reduction following the initial public outcry.
Patrick said he was relieved by Walsh's decision because of the public anger that had been aimed at her. ''We've been hammered,'' he said.
But he also said he regrets that Walsh will not take the job as the agency's assistant director because she would have been a ''change agent'' at the agency.
''I wish we had handled it different,'' said Patrick, who put his arm around Walsh at one point to demonstrate his support for her. ''It's been very painful.''