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November 3, 2013

Scofflaw board oversees Lawrence election

(Continued)

Medina heads Casa Dominica, a social service agency that has received $28,000 in funding from the Lantigua administration over the last three years. The money appears to be the agency’s only source of funding.

The state’s narrowly drawn ethics laws allow members of town and city boards of registrar to work on political campaigns. But Pam Wilmot, the executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of Common Cause, said Medina’s efforts on behalf of Lantigua’s re-election could expose her to allegations that she has the mayor on her mind when she considers voter challenges and related issues.

“Clearly, the optics are not good and she’s going to have to bend over backwards to prove she’s not being biased,” Wilmot said. “Ideally, election officials are completely impartial and are not participating in political campaigns, because it does raise the appearance that they’re not going to be fair, and that’s a problem.”

Medina has declined several requests for an interview about her dual role as a city registrar and a Lantigua volunteer.

An effort to track how Medina voted on the Board of Registrars since Lantigua put her on it in 2011 revealed that the board has kept no minutes for at least two years, despite the state mandate that every public agency keep records of its meetings.

On Sept. 21, The Eagle-Tribune filed a request with City Clerk William Maloney, who serves on the Board of Registrars, for copies of the board’s minutes over the last two years. The newspaper filed the request under the state’s Public Records Law, which allowed Maloney 10 days to respond.

Maloney did not acknowledge the request. The newspaper appealed to the state Supervisor of Records, a division of the Secretary of State.

City Attorney Charles Boddy then responded that the board has kept no minutes over the two years but began keeping minutes on Oct. 12, which was its first meeting following the newspaper’s request.

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