EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 2, 2013

Lantigua's board nominees come before City Council

LAWRENCE — After a restive City Council committee sidetracked or rejected nine of mayor William Lantigua’s recent picks for city boards and commissions, the full council on Tuesday will consider the 14 nominees who withstood the committee’s review.

In all, the council’s Personnel Committee delayed action on eight of Lantigua’s picks for the boards and commissions and rejected one — Vinicio Frometa, Lantigua’s City Hall receptionist, whom Lantigua nominated for the Airport Commission.

Lantigua withdrew three nominees for the Zoning Board of Appeals and another for the Board of Registrars even before they reached the Personnel Committee last week, saying he made the nominations in error. At least one of the nominees whose name was withdrawn by the mayor attended the Personnel Committee meeting, expecting to be interviewed.

Lantigua sent the 27 nominations to the council two weeks ago in a sudden push to restock 11 boards and commissions that have been hobbled by vacancies and are often unable to round up the quorum needed to meet. In all, 55 seats on the agencies are vacant or are filled by members who are continuing to serve after their terms have expired, which has helped the agencies maintain their quorums while waiting for Lantigua to act.

The Conservation Commission canceled a meeting earlier this month after a resignation left it with just two members. The Planning Board is down to three members, shy of the four needed to consider special permits and carry out other core functions. Last year, the membership on the Licensing Board dropped to one (Mayra Lantigua, the mayor’s former wife, who is now acting chairwoman of the board).

Lantigua has since filled the two empty seats on the Licensing Board. Last week, he made at least three appointments to the Conservation Commission, which do not require the council’s review. He did not act to reappoint or replace commission chairman Tennis Lilly, who continues to serve a term that has expired.

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