In a congenial interview with the elected panel that reviews judicial nominees, colleagues of Edward Savage recounted his travels from the "mayhem" of Dorchester District Court to the rigors of Brookline's demanding citizenry.
"It's mayhem 24/7 over there," said Retired Judge Thomas May, describing Dorchester District Court, where Savage was an attorney before taking a magistrate position at Brookline District Court. A lifelong Brookline resident, May said, "Brookline has a very demanding public. Very demanding. And even though they're not lawyers, they sure know their rights. And the wonderful thing is Ted handles that, perhaps better than most."
With Councilor Robert Jubinville running the hearing as Savage seeks to rise from acting clerk magistrate to clerk magistrate, the councilors on hand indicated they would be pre-disposed to vote in favor of his nomination.
"You earned it the old-fashioned way," said Councilor Marilyn Devaney.
A graduate of Stonehill College, who helped build up the school's Knights of Columbus Chapter, Savage graduated from New England School of Law and served as a Suffolk County prosecutor from 1990 to 1993 when he opened a private practice. He became an assistant clerk magistrate in May 2000.
"I don't think there's a clerk in this commonwealth who hears as many cases as I do," Savage said. "I'm by myself."
Savage said he had resisted limiting court hours even as other courts handled budget constraints by closing up for part of the day, and the number of magistrates in Brookline has fallen to one.
"When I first started I was the fourth clerk. Over the past four years, I've been the only clerk," Savage said.
A Dorchester native who recently moved to Walpole, Savage handles people with respect, his colleagues said.
"He is always respectful," said Acting Presiding Judge of Brookline District Court Mary Dacey White. She said, "Most of the patrons of the court leave happy. Very few go away dissatisfied."
The hearing began with only Jubinville and Councilors Oliver Cipollini and Michael Albano present, and Jubinville did not swear-in the witnesses, a practice that has sometimes raised controversy.
Jubinville subtly lobbied for Savage's confirmation, telling Devaney, "We just wanted to hear that you're voting for him," and flattering Albano.
"He controls everything out in western Mass.," Jubinville said, introducing the councilor from Longmeadow and inviting him to question the nominee.
"Would you consider a transfer to Springfield?" Albano asked.