EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 25, 2012

Fourth effort to fill Licensing Board seats fails

LAWRENCE — A fourth effort by Mayor William Lantigua to fill vacancies on the Licensing Board went off another cliff yesterday, forcing the board’s lone member to cancel a meeting scheduled for last night and deepening the stack of unattended applications pending before the board.

Lantigua used his emergency powers to call a special meeting of the City Council at 5 p.m. yesterday to consider two nominees to the three-member Licensing Board, which would have given the council two hours to act before the board’s meeting at 7.

But the effort stumbled out of the gate when questions arose about whether one of the nominees could serve on the Licensing Board while also serving on the city’s Board of Registrars. The answer came at 4:18 p.m. — 42 minutes before the City Council was to meet – when Lantigua’s secretary sent an email to the nine councilors abruptly canceling the emergency meeting Lantigua had called only the day before.

Left without a quorum, the sole member and chairman of the Licensing Board – Mayra Lantigua, the mayor’s former wife – then canceled the bimonthly meeting of the board that was to follow the council meeting.

Lantigua’s inability to fill the two Licensing Board seats – one has been vacant since Jan. 1 and the other since Sept. 9 – after four tries added to the exasperation over the issue on the City Council.

“The amount of time and energy wasted on this appointment process is very frustrating,” said Councilor Eileen Bernal. “This could have been avoided if the administration just made the effort to send down an appropriate and qualified candidate for confirmation weeks ago.”

“At the end of the day, it’s just really sad that (Lantigua) can’t get the process together to give us a candidate to vote on,” said Daniel Rivera, the council’s vice chairman. “So the city suffers until he decides to send us qualified names and give us time to review them.”

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