SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Governor Charlie Baker’s decision to fire Holyoke Soldiers’ Home superintendent Bennett Walsh has been reversed by a judge’s order. Hampden County Superior Court Judge John Ferrara ruled that the governor did not have the authority to terminate Walsh.
Bennett Walsh had been superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home for the past four years, but was suspended and later fired following a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the veterans’ facility. An independent report commissioned by the governor’s office was highly critical of Walsh’s handling of the outbreak at the home.
Seventy-six COVID-19 positive residents died at the veterans’ home since the beginning of the pandemic. Walsh has been represented by his uncle, former Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett, who released the following statement:
“For several months Superintendent Walsh has been vilified by Governor Baker, Secretary Sudders and others. I hope that this decision will allow people to consider that perhaps that criticism is unfair and that the actual story of what happened has not yet been understood. A true inquiry into the Covid outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home should focus on the science. Covid has a unique method of transmission. It spreads silently and is transmitted by people who do not appear to be infected. When the disease got into the Soldiers’ Home, where the veterans were already vulnerable because of the living conditions and their age and health, it spread rapidly despite the good faith efforts of the staff.
I would like to thank my associate, Attorney Talia Landry, for her hard work and very effective advocacy in this case.”William Bennett
Attorney for Bennett Walsh and former Hampden County District Attorney