EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 10, 2013

Probe of suspicious signatures scrapped

(Continued)

The decision not to investigate the allegations was a reversal for Galvin, who through a spokesman told the Statehouse News Service on Nov. 5 that he would look into the allegations after the Nov. 6 election.

Yesterday, McNiff said the effort went no further than reading the Eagle-Tribune story.

The story and the pictures of the signatures that accompanied it prompted City Clerk William Maloney and city Personnel Director Frank Bonet to ask Mayor William Lantigua to place Tejeda on paid leave until Galvin completed the investigation he promised.

“I suggested to the mayor that (Tejeda) be placed on suspension with pay pending any review that might be coming, particularly from the state,” Maloney said yesterday.

Lantigua rejected the suggestion because he said Tejeda had not been officially charged with wrongdoing. He added that the Election Division could not afford to lose one of its three employees on the eve of a presidential election.

Lantigua did not return a phone call yesterday.

Tejeda did not respond to a message left on his voice mail at the Election Division in the basement of City Hall, where he is a bilingual coordinator.

Lantigua has proposed redefining the position to expand its responsibilities and increasing the salary from the $30,000 Tejeda now earns to as much as $55,000.

Moran yesterday reiterated his belief that the newspaper story was only an attempt to damage his candidacy for the statehouse seat, which he won with 62 percent of the vote against independent challenger Kevin Cuff.

He also reiterated his demand that the newspaper examine the signatures on Cuff’s nominating papers, but made no allegation that they contained faked signatures or other irregularities. Moran also is president of the Lawrence City Council, a position he is retaining while also serving as a state representative.

Cuff said Galvin’s decision not to look at Moran’s petitions “speaks volumes of the lack of accountability and common sense out of the Secretary of State’s office.”

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