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Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday named Rachel Kaprielian, the state's registrar of motor vehicles for the past five years, to serve in his Cabinet as secretary of labor and workforce development.
Kaprielian, a former state representative, replaces Joanne Goldstein, who is accepting an offer to become an associate vice president at Northeastern University. Goldstein, who had served as secretary since 2010, called the job the highlight of her career to date.
Patrick lauded Kaprielian for improving customer service within the Registry of Motor Vehicles, citing the opening of new RMV branches and the expansion of online services.
As secretary of labor and workforce development, the governor said she will help to lead a "busy agenda" in the final year of his administration. Patrick is not seeking re-election.
"I'm looking forward to engaging people who are out of work and looking for work and want new opportunities, and how we can bring the state forward," Kaprielian said.
The secretary oversees several departments including unemployment assistance, career services, labor standards, industrial accidents and labor relations.
In a press release first announcing the appointment, Patrick thanked Goldstein "for her four years of dedication and commitment to our workers, job seekers and employers through some of the Commonwealth’s most challenging economic times."
Among her duties, according to the release, "Secretary Goldstein has [over the past several months] overseen the launch of UI Online, a modern, web-based system that replaces Massachusetts’ outdated and fragmented UI computer system."
The launch of that new online system — which was built by Deloitte Consulting in a contract that was awarded before Goldstein became secretary — has been troubled.
The Boston Globe, which has documented the system's issues, reports that "Goldstein has faced criticism over [the] rollout of [the] $46 million computer system ... that left hundreds of users struggling to get unemployment benefits after it went into operation July 1."
On Friday afternoon, Patrick said Goldstein's departure has nothing to do with the unemployment system's problems, according to the Globe's Michael Levenson.
Celia Blue, the assistant secretary of the state Department of Transportation and a former RMV deputy, will become the new registrar, according to State House News Service's Matthew Murphy.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom