There must be a system of checks and balances on actions by the governor.
Recently, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi commuted the sentences of four men convicted of murder and released them without any governmental entity review. The system in Mississippi clearly does not instill confidence in government and grants unchecked power to the governor.
In Massachusetts, the Governor's Council would have convened a forum to hear from victims and law enforcement officials, and then voted to create parole eligibility or deny the recommendation from the governor. If approved, the matter would be sent to the Parole Board for further review, and, if the decision by the board was to release, there would be conditions attached to the individual for the balance of their sentence.
In some states, the Senate is the check and balance entity. In others, it is the House. Both branches have oversight of the budget process - creating an inherent conflict of interest.
In Massachusetts, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo would be the defacto check and balance on all appointments. While both are fine public servants, I believe an 8-member elected Governor's Council from across the state makes for better public policy and avoids the potential for a conflict of the public interest, either real or perceived.
Further, the Governor's Council votes on all financial warrants approved by the treasurer.
In 1989, it was the Governor's Council, led by Peter Ely, that held up a Dukakis administration prison proposal in New Braintree - where there was considerable community opposition.
Eventually, the Council's denial of the warrant delayed construction until the new administration of Gov. William Weld. Governor Weld converted the facility into a police training center rather than a prison.
The Governor's Council has authority over the purse strings of the Legislature and governor and offers another system of checks and balances. Read a fuller response at www.mikegovcouncil.com