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April 3, 2013

Lantigua puts Collopy on Board of Registrars

LAWRENCE — Mayor William Lantigua has given a part-time security guard a temporary appointment to the agency that oversees elections in the city, an 11th-hour appointment that could avert the City Council’s full review but gives the agency a quorum to operate as it heads into the April 30 special election.

Yesterday, a day after giving Laurence Collopy the temporary appointment to the Board of Registrars, Lantigua followed it up by sending the nomination to the council with a warning that he would give Collopy the appointment if the council did not act on it immediately.

The apparent discrepancy — using the threat of a temporary appointment to pressure the council to approve an appointment he already had made — left several councilors bewildered at last night’s council meeting.

Adding to the confusion, Lantigua asked the council to declare the nomination an emergency, a declaration needed to allow the council to act on the nomination even though Lantigua did not send it to the council in time to get it on last night’s printed agenda.

The councilors voted 8-0 to declare the emergency and add Collopy’s nomination to the end of their agenda, then voted 8-0 to send Collopy’s nomination to the Personnel Committee. Both votes came without discussion. The committee will consider it next week.

The two tracks Lantigua took in appointing Collopy to the Board of Registrars confused even Collopy, who left last night’s council meeting believing his appointment would not take effect until the committee had reviewed it and sent it on to a vote by the full council.

In the meantime, Collopy’s temporary appointment will allow him to serve indefinitely, even if the council eventually rejects him.

Ana Medina, the only other appointed member of the board, also was a temporary appointment. Lantigua put her on the board on Nov. 3, 2011. City Clerk William Maloney is an ex officio member of the board. Two seats are empty.

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