25 Investigates: Deputy trooper's departure may be about money – not tradition

By: Eric Rasmussen , Erin Smith

Updated:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - A former second-in-command at the State Police stands to collect in a big, taxpayer-funded pension – even as top brass in his office are under investigation for ordering troopers to change the arrest report of a judge’s daughter.

Deputy Superintendent Francis Hughes worked under State Police Col. Richard McKeon, who abruptly retired Tuesday under a cloud of accusations about the altered arrest report.

MORE: Mass. State Police Colonel retires amid lawsuits over revised report

Hughes also retired Tuesday – a move an agency spokesman attributed to a tradition of allowing the new colonel to pick her own deputy.

But 25 Investigates has learned Hughes’ sudden retirement may have a lot to do with money.

If Hughes retires now, he stands to collect an annual pension topping $160,000 – or 75 percent of his earnings in the past year.

But if Hughes, a 31-year veteran of the force, had stayed on the job and been demoted, it could have meant a smaller pension.

MORE: Second-in-command of Mass. State Police retires amid lawsuits

Both Hughes and McKeon did not respond to requests for comment, which were made through the State Police spokesman.

State Police spokesman David Procopio issued a statement Tuesday night – shortly after Hughes departure – chalking up his retirement to tradition.

“Traditionally, when a Colonel/Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police leaves his or her position, the Deputy Superintendent resigns as well to allow a new Colonel to select a second-in-command of his or her own choosing,” Procopio wrote in an email.

In recent history, the only deputy superintendent to stay on the job after a colonel retired was Marian McGovern. McGovern, second in command to former Col. Mark Delaney, was appointed as Delaney’s replacement after he retired in 2009.

McKeon announced on Nov. 10 that he planned to retire this Friday – as the investigation into the police report for the judge’s daughter ramped up.

MORE: State investigating whether trooper was ordered to alter report

Instead, McKeon left three days early on Tuesday – the same day Hughes abruptly retired.

McKeon is under fire for accusations he pressured troopers to change the Oct. 16 DUI arrest report for Alli Bibaud, the daughter of a judge, and delete comments that she made about having sex in exchange for drugs and offering a trooper sexual favors in exchange for leniency.

MORE: CLICK HERE TO READ THE LAWSUIT

MORE: Gov. Baker names Kerry Gilpin new Mass. State Police Superintendent

25 Investigates has also learned that Gov. Charlie Baker and his Public Safety Secretary did not interview other candidates before hiring McKeon or the new colonel just named Wednesday – Kerry Gilpin.

That goes against a decades-old practice of advertising the job within the department and holding interviews before selecting the state’s top cop.

A Baker spokesman defended his hiring practices, saying the law doesn’t require him to conduct job interviews, saying, “The Baker-Polito Administration follows the law governing this appointment and did so in both of these instances.”

PREVIOUS RELATED STORIES FROM BOSTON 25:

Vulgar statement removed from arrest report of local judge's daughter
State Trooper says he was forced to change arrest report for judge's daughter
Second trooper files lawsuit against MSP related to altered reports
State Police Union: Colonel McKeon may have broken law when he retired

Next Up: