LAWRENCE — The Northern Essex Registry of Deeds office got a new assistant register Feb. 1, less than two weeks after The Eagle-Tribune interviewed Register M. Paul Iannuccillo about his schedule and why he spent just under four hours per day in the office.
Stephen Fernandes is the new assistant register of deeds and on pace to earn a salary of $99,000, according to the state's open checkbook website.
The position of assistant register at the Lawrence office had been vacant for more than two years, according to registry of deeds records.
No job description was immediately available, and Fernandes, Iannuccillo and Brian McNiff, a spokesman for state Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin, did not return phone messages and emails Tuesday. The phone messages sought answers to questions about Fernandes' job description, why he was hired, what he has been doing, and what work might have been going undone without an assistant register of deeds in the office for two years.
At the registry office in person Tuesday afternoon, Fernandes referred all questions to Galvin's office and walked away as a reporter asked about his start date and job.
It is unclear whether Iannuccillo, an independent elected official, or Galvin, whose office oversees the 21 registry of deeds offices in Massachusetts and who has a say in registry personnel decisions, hired Fernandes.
The last assistant register in the Northern Essex Registry of Deeds, which holds official copies of important property owner documents like deeds and mortgages, was Anthony Accardi, who worked from May 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2013, and earned $55,846, according to registry records.
Accardi, a retired longtime assistant register of deeds at the Northern Middlesex registry in Lowell, now is a paid consultant for the Northern Essex registry. He was a consultant for the first four months of 2013, then worked as the assistant register for the rest of that year, and has been a consultant since, according to the registry.
In fiscal year 2015, which ran from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, Accardi earned $22,500.
An Eagle-Tribune investigation revealed that Iannuccillo, who in 2012 ran a successful primary campaign against former Northern Essex Registry of Deeds Robert F. Kelley promising to be a full-time register of deeds, averaged just under four hours per day in the office from June 2015 through January 2016.
The register of deeds is an elected position with a six-year term. Iannuccillo will not stand for election again until 2018. Iannuccillo was paid $109,601 last year, according to state records.
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