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January 22, 2014

Council refuses Lantigua's final 2 appointments

LAWRENCE — Three weeks out of office, former Mayor William Lantigua suffered two final defeats on the City Council last night when it refused to consider his requests to give his former wife another term on the Licensing Board and to give acting Police Chief James Fitzpatrick a permanent appointment to the job.

Lantigua nominated Fitzpatrick and his former wife, Mayra Lantigua, who chairs the Licensing Board, in the final days of his administration.

Mayor Daniel Rivera moved to cut off the two nominations in some of his first official acts after succeeding Lantigua on Jan. 2, when he nominated businessman Pedro Torres to Mayra Lantigua’s seat on the Licensing Board and asked the council to take Fitzpatrick’s nomination off their agenda to allow him to conduct a search to fill the chief’s job.

The unanimous votes last night suggested that a council that still includes many Lantigua loyalists, including its new president, Modesto Maldonado, is ready for a honeymoon with the new mayor, who served four years on the council before he was elected mayor in November.

Rivera addressed the council briefly before last night’s votes.

“This is the beginning of a great partnership,” Rivera told his former colleagues. “I’m a resource for you and I know you’ll be a resource for me as I try to figure things out.”

Maldonado and Rivera have met several times since Rivera was elected mayor and Maldonado was elected to the council and then chosen its president in a unanimous vote after only a single term and an absence of two years.

“It would be fair to give the opportunity to Mayor Daniel Rivera to make his own appointments and fill those boards with the people he would prefer,” Maldonado said before joining the 9-0 vote to send Torres’ name to a committee for review.

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