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October 24, 2012

Ruling ousts two from city's Licensing Board

Lantigua calls emergency Council meeting tonight on appointments

LAWRENCE — The Licensing Board was stripped of two of its three members and plunged deeper into chaos yesterday when City Attorney Charles Boddy declared that two men the Council approved for the board last week are ineligible to serve.

The opinion reduced the board to one member – Mayra Lantigua, Mayor William Lantigua’s former wife — prompting the mayor to use his emergency powers to call a special City Council meeting for 5 p.m. today with the hope of filling at least one of the vacancies in time for the board’s bimonthly meeting later tonight.

The emergency is the third in a month that Lantigua has declared or asked the council to declare regarding the membership of the Licensing Board, in an effort to fill at least one of the vacancies so that it can conduct business.

All have been without success.

And Boddy’s opinion yesterday voiding the appointments Pedro Torres and Luis Martinez, approved by the council for the Licensing Board last week at Lantigua’s request, follows another forced departure from the Licensing Board only two weeks ago.

Alfonso Garcia was the first to go, on Oct. 9, when Boddy said Lantigua did not have the authority to invoke his emergency powers to put Garcia on the board without first sending his nomination to the City Council. Garcia, a newspaper columnist and radio talk show host who regularly uses his media platforms to rally political support for Lantigua, served just two weeks before he was forced to quit.

Yesterday, Boddy said Torres and Martinez also cannot serve because of a state law requiring local Licensing Boards to have at least one Democrat and one Republican who have been enrolled in their parties for at least two years.

Because the Lawrence board already has one Democrat — Mayra Lantigua — it must have at least one member who has been an enrolled Republican for at least two years before it can conduct business.

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