EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 8, 2013

Santiago fired from Lawrence DPW job

By Jill Harmacinski
jharmacinski@eagletribune.com

---- — LAWRENCE - Jose Santiago has been fired from the temporary public works job handed to him by sometime political ally Mayor William Lantigua.

Santiago, 53, was terminated from the job Monday just hours after he was arraigned on a restraining order violation charge in Lawrence District Court. He was served with a letter of termination at his 391 Chestnut St. apartment.

The fired police sergeant and former state representative has had four restraining orders filed against him since 2005, according to court records revealed Monday.

He was arrested outside an Essex Street club early Saturday morning for violating the latest restraining order last week.

In addition to his arrest, Santiago recently made headlines because he was hired by Lantigua for the $15 per hour temporary laborer's job in the city public works department. Santiago was hired Nov. 26, replacing 8-year worker Tom Sapienza, who had been out on leave since August caring for his terminally ill wife.

Heather Sapienza, 40, died Thursday after an 19-month battle with cancer.

Tom Sapienza earned $18 per hour and has vowed to return to his job. His lawyer has said a race discrimination complaint is now being drafted and will be filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Santiago's hire is the latest Lantigua misstep to be scrutinized. He and his administration remain the focus of a state and federal investigation into corruption, big rigging, suspicious out of state travel and more.

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Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.