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Commission Waits on Residency Challenge

The Attleboro Election Commission will consider next month whether to have a hearing about School Committee member David Murphy's residency.

No decision will be made about a school district parent's complaint regarding Attleboro School Committee member David Murphy's residency until next month at the earliest, Election Commission Chair Fran V. Hutton told a small group gathered at  on Wednesday.

Prior to the start of Hutton's comments, Commissioner Michael Levinson (a former school committee member) said he had been asked to recuse himself on this issue and left the room. Hutton said a person must be appointed to replace Levinson so that a full body could consider the matter. This would not happen before next month.

The commission is scheduled to meet again July 11. If a new commissioner has been appointed by that time, the panel will "look at what has been presented to us and then decide how to proceed," Hutton said. This could include deciding to call for a residency hearing.

Hutton did not say Murphy's name, nor did she elaborate on what had been presented to the commission.

Murphy did not attend the meeting. He wrote in an email to Attleboro-Seekonk Patch earlier this week, "I'm a resident of Attleboro. I really don't know what else to say."

During his campaign last year, Murphy told Patch he had three homes—one at the permanent address that "people in Attleboro associate me with" and rented apartments in Attleboro and Boston. Elections Office Manager Maryann Draine told Patch in October that there is no minimum requirement for how many days of the year a person must live in Attleboro to be considered a resident.

School district parent Jen Crowder recently filed a complaint with the city about Murphy's residency. She also challenged his residency with the state Ethics Commission last fall. The commission responded that the issue was not within its jurisdiction because he was not an elected official at the time, although the commission likely would not have considered the matter even if Murphy were an elected official because residency is not something it addresses.

Crowder attended the session on Wednesday, but did not speak. She wrote in an email to Patch that her action was not a personal attack against Murphy.

"I feel that there should be a true interest and understanding of what is happening within the schools first-hand," she wrote. "This is nothing personal against Mr. Murphy. I believe that if you are going to pursue something, then do it right and do it well. I also would like to say that I am not trying to embarrass Mr. Murphy as he stated [to The Sun Chronicle], and if it is nonsense, then what is the issue with showing clear proof of residency at the time of pulling papers? If there was nothing to hide, then what is the issue with proving it?" 

She continued, "No evidence has been submitted [to the city Election Commission] at this time as there is procedure that must be followed. The only evidence at this point in time is Mr. Murphy's public statements (on the Patch) that he resides in Boston. I find it rather disturbing that Mr. Murphy could not be bothered to appear at the meeting."

Those who attended the meeting include School Committee member Teri Enegren and City Councilors Jay DiLisio and Jeremy Denlea. 

Hutton said that since she and the other commissioners would be acting as a quasi-judicial body regarding this issue, they would not comment on it outside their meetings. She said she hoped to have the matter decided before the state primary election in September.

Hutton said, "We don't necessarily want to drag this out."

Chrys Swenson June 14, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Why won't Mr. Murphy show an excise tax, water/electricity bill, drivers license? This is the school council, no one is asking him for a birth certificate. The fact that he won't provide the information and that everyone is moving so slowly to fix this issue is very disturbing.I don't know Mr. Murphy from a hole in the ground, but I do think he should do something to restore the faith of the people that elected him and that he is advocating.
city watcher June 17, 2012 at 03:14 PM
If I'm not mistaken, isn't there another member of the SC that has missed more meetings than she attended? How many meetings has Mr. Murphy attended and voted on? I would concentrate on the SC members that are lacking attendance at these meetings rather than the ones who actually show up and vote. Leave Mr. Murphy alone and let him do the job we voters elected him to do.
Ronda "Roni" Lodge June 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Leave Mr. Murphy alone? Are you kidding? Let's not worry about where he lives and just "leave him alone because he comes to the meetings" Are you off your rocker? HE DOESN'T LIVE IN ATTLEBORO AND HE HAS ADMITTED TO LIVING IN BOSTON. Isn't he a little old to be still living with Mummy & Daddy? I think I will apply to serve on the search committee for a new Superientendent in Seekonk. My sister lives there and I can just use her address. Better yet, maybe I'll just yank my kids from Attleboro schools and use my sister's address and send them to school in Seekonk. Who cares if I LIVE THERE??!! Its harder to prove you are a resident of Attleboro to send your kids to school here but we let people run our government that DO NOT LIVE HERE! The Elections Commission is made up of people just hiding the truth (oh and did I mentioned that David's good buddy Mike Levinson is on the Commission)!!!! Funny......
Max Opus June 26, 2012 at 07:33 PM
now that just seems too logical (sarc)

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