By Keith Eddings
---- — LAWRENCE - City Clerk William Maloney yesterday was given a year’s probation and ordered to surrender his driver’s license for 45 days after pleading guilty to driving drunk on May 22, when police said he struck a second vehicle and pushed it into the porch of a South Union Street home.
The drunken driving arrest was Maloney’s second. The first, in 1993, was continued without a finding.
Maloney did not return a phone message left at his City Hall office, where an aide said he took yesterday off. His lawyer, Robert Kelley, could not be reached.
Mayor-elect Daniel Rivera, who has been sharply critical of Maloney’s performance as city clerk, would not say whether Maloney’s guilty plea would influence his thinking about whether to replace him. He noted that any decision to fire Maloney would be shared by the City Council, where six votes are needed to remove a department head.
“He clearly has an issue he has to deal with,” Rivera said. “It’s also something the City Council has to deal with first thing. We hope the best for him, but at the same time it’s something for the council to look at.”
Maloney was arraigned in Lawrence District Court on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol on May 23. His case was moved to Lowell District Court, where prosecutors yesterday asked District Court Judge Daniel Crane to give Maloney a six-month suspended sentence at the Middletown House of Correction and to suspend his driver’s license for two years. Prosecutors also asked Crane to order Maloney into a residential treatment program for two weeks.
Crane opted for a less stiff sentence. Besides placing Maloney on a year’s probation and suspending his license for 45 days, Crane ordered Maloney to attend an out-patient alcohol treatment program for 24 days.
Maloney was arrested after crashing his Nissan Maxima into a Honda Civic driven by Christian Pinargote, 20, of Lawrence, at the intersection of South Union and Kent streets just before 8 p.m. on May 22, according to a police report filed by Sgt. Michael Simard. Pinargote’s car was thrown into a home owned by Robert Laskey, damaging a fence, a porch and several shrubs. No one was injured.
Simard said Maloney was “unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and had the smell of alcohol on his breath.” He said Maloney admitted to drinking “two whiskeys” earlier in the evening but denied causing the accident.
He was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. At police headquarters, a breathalyzer test recorded a blood-alcohol-content level of .18 percent, more than twice the legal limit.
Maloney was appointed Lawrence city clerk in September 2004. He is a lifelong Lawrence resident and has been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts since December 1986.
Stephanie Chelf, a spokeswoman for Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, who prosecuted Maloney after his case was transferred from Lawrence, said the county’s Probation Department would decide when Maloney would have to begin treatment and surrender his license.
He now lives at 17 Cutler St., a $5 cab ride to City Hall.