EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Mayor Lantigua

July 6, 2011

First step in effort to recall Lantigua kicks off

On third try, group submits 150 signatures to City Clerk

LAWRENCE — The third time was the charm for members of a group petitioning to begin the recall process against Mayor William Lantigua.

At 2:10 p.m. yesterday, they submitted 150 signatures to City Clerk William Maloney with Elections Coordinator Rafael Tejeda standing beside him.

A minimum of 100 certified signatures of city registered voters is needed to start the process.

"It's done," said the Rev. Edwin Rodriguez, the head of a group called It's Your Right, which is trying to remove Lantigua from office.

Rodriguez turned over seven pages of signatures to Maloney. Maloney also gave Rodriguez a copy of the city charter which includes how a recall should be conducted.

"They are going to be in my care and custody," Maloney said of the pages of signatures. "They're not going anywhere."

The movement to recall Lantigua faced two obstacles last week.

On Thursday, Maloney did not accept the signatures because they were on separate petitions. One petition had a detailed explanation for signers as to why Lantigua should be ousted, while the other page of signatures had only a two-line explanation.

When members of It's Your Right returned on Friday, Lantigua had abruptly ordered City Hall closed early for the July 4th weekend.

Lantigua sent City Hall workers an email at 11:45 a.m., Friday telling them that they could leave early.

"Here we go again and this time we're going to hit the jackpot," Javier Negron, a member of It's Your Right, said yesterday.

In addition to Negron, Rodriguez was accompanied to City Hall by Victor Hernandez and Sucre Castillo.

Submitting an affidavit with 100 signatures is the first step to initiate a recall. Maloney said his office will verify the signatures which are then certified by the city's Registrars of Voters. Three out of the four members have been notified and a meeting will be held Thursday in the City Council chambers.

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