On the council, Laplante emerged as the original anti-Lantigua within months of the mayor’s arrival at City Hall in January 2010. His focus has been on Lantigua’s appointees, including in September 2010, when he was the only councilor to oppose all three of Lantigua’s most controversial appointments — Economic Development director Patrick Blanchette, Personnel Director Frank Bonet and Deputy Police Chief Melix Bonilla.
Since then, Laplante has twice tried to get Bonilla off the payroll, most recently after Bonilla was indicted on corruption charges in September, when Laplante proposed a local law that would embargo the paychecks of city workers who are indicted. The proposal is stalled in a council committee, along with Laplante’s earlier proposal to abolish the deputy chief’s job altogether.
More recently, in October Laplante undid two of Lantigua’s appointments to the Licensing Board after he pointed out that neither met the partisan qualifications for the board, forcing both to step down.
Last month, Laplante took the fight to Lantigua’s Boxford Street driveway, where he photographed a city contractor plowing the driveway after the blizzard of Feb. 8-9, then posted the photos of the plow at work on his Facebook page and emailed them to local and Boston media. The contractor said he was paid a market rate for the work.
Laplante, 46, is an enforcement coordinator for the state Department of Environmental Protection in Wilmington. He regularly rides his bicycle the 23-mile round trip from his Durso Avenue home to the office, as he did yesterday.
He said he would wait for the field of mayoral candidates to round out before deciding who to endorse, but said it wont’ be Lantigua.
“That’s fairly obvious,” he said. “When the indictments (of Bonilla and Lantigua’s former chief of staff, Leonard Degnan) came down last year and the mayor took no responsibility for the dark cloud around his administration, I immediately called for his resignation. Since that time, he’s done nothing to convince me that he should carry on.”
Lantigua could not be reached for comment yesterday.