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Massachusetts Lt. Governor Murray announces resignation

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May 22, 2013

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Tim Murray

By Greg Janetka

BOSTON, Massachusetts: Tim Murray (D), who has served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts since 2007, announced today that he will resign his position effective June 2 in order to lead the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. While Murray has been the subject of controversies, he said his decision had nothing to do with them, calling the move "a right fit and a right decision."[1]

Murray's departure makes him the first Massachusetts lieutenant governor to resign mid-term since John Kerry in 1985 and the third lieutenant governor across the nation to resign this year. Rick Sheehy (R) left his post in Nebraska in February[2] and Jennifer Carroll (R) resigned her position in Florida the following month.[3] Both cases involved scandals.

Murray had been expected by many to seek the governor's seat after Deval Patrick (D) leaves office in 2015. However, Murray put those rumors to rest earlier this year. His political troubles began in November 2011 with an automobile accident involving a state vehicle and questions surrounding his ties to an ex-housing director.

Murray was involved in an automobile accident where he initially stated that he lost control of his state owned vehicle on black ice. Authorities later concluded that, based on the car's black box crash data, Murray was driving at 108 miles per hour before driving off the road and crashing. State police ruled that Murray had fallen asleep at the wheel, discounting black ice. He also took a breathalyzer test at the crash site and the test did not show any signs of alcohol. Murray accepted responsibility and was cited $555 for speeding, lane, and seat belt violations.[4]

Around the same time, former Chelsea Housing Authority chief Michael McLaughlin came under fire and resigned after it became known that he was making $360,000 - well over the $160,000 salary he had reported on state filings.[5] It soon came out that Murray and McLaughlin had exchanged over 80 phone calls during the seven months prior and that McLaughlin had been a key supporter of Murray's 2006 campaign and a financial supporter throughout Murray's political career which, while he was an employee of an agency that receives federal funding, could be in violation of federal law. This also brought to light accusations of apparent cronyism where Murray helped McLaughlin's son, Matthew McLaughlin, get a job as a member of a board of appeals within the state's Registry of Motor Vehicles.[6]

As the Massachusetts Constitution does not provide a way to fill a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor, the post will remain vacant until a new officeholder is elected on November 4, 2014. The situation previously occurred in 2001 when then-Gov. Paul Cellucci resigned and Lt. Gov. Jane Swift took over as governor, leaving the position empty. In the event that Deval Patrick (D) leaves office, Secretary of State William Galvin would serve as acting governor.[7]

As lieutenant governor, Murray served as a liaison to local officials, as well as focusing on veterans affairs, transportation, and economic development issues. In his new role at the chamber of commerce he will be making over $200,000, a jump from his current salary of $124,920.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name

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