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Residency Hearing Set for Aug. 2

A school district parent says Attleboro School Committee member David Murphy was not a resident when he was elected last fall. Murphy says this is not true. The commission likely won't even consider this issue.

The hearing on Attleboro School Committee member David Murphy's residency has been scheduled for next week on Thursday at 6 p.m. The session will take place in the City Council chambers at .

The Election Commission  to hold the hearing after accepting a complaint from school district parent Jennifer Crowder, who says Murphy was a resident of Boston, not Attleboro, last fall when he filed to run for office. However, Commission Chair Fran V. Hutton said last week that at the advice of the Secretary of State's office via a city solicitor, the four-member panel could only consider whether Murphy was an Attleboro resident on July 16, the date Crowder filed the complaint.

Murphy told Attleboro Patch during the campaign that , where he works as an attorney, while maintaining a permanent residence at 49 Pioneer Circle in Attleboro. He also rented an apartment in Attleboro. Murphy wrote in a statement to the media earlier this month that he no longer rents the Boston apartment.

Following the commission's decision to hold the hearing, Murphy wrote to the media, "I look forward to the hearing and resolving this issue definitively."

It has been a long road for Crowder to reach this point. She initially challenged Murphy's residency during the campaign by filing a complaint with the state Ethics Commission. The commission responded that the issue was not within its jurisdiction because he was not an elected official at the time. Legal experts told Patch the commission would not have considered the matter even if Murphy were an elected official because residency is not something it addresses.

Crowder again challenged Murphy's residence by submitting a complaint to the local Election's Department. The Election Commission  earlier this month because the document did not meet the technical criteria for consideration. She submitted the revised complaint, which is the one being considered for the hearing, the next week.

Crowder told Patch all the actions she has taken have been at the advice of the city Election's Department. She said she was not deterred by the announcement Murphy's residency on July 16 would be the only issue considered at the hearing, saying she has "a plan."

Murphy as the top vote-getter among the at-large candidates. He grew up in Attleboro and graduated from  in 2000.

DebEgan July 27, 2012 at 03:28 AM
It appears that the election's office really caused this issue. Does anyone know the relationship of the election's office and the election's commission? Who does the people at the election's office report to? If the election's office had just done their job back in October when this person first filed the complaint then we wouldn't be wasting so much time on this now. But instead the told her that they couldn't do anything until he was elected. That seems very stupid. Yes, lets wait until he is elected to see if he's allowed to serve. And if not then a new election is needed at, I'm guessing, a hefty cost. I do feel that this should be decided on whether Mr.Murphy was a resident back in October, not now. I really don't care if he's since become a proper resident. I care about when the citizens elected him. If he wasn't elligible then he should be asked to step down. If he was a resident then he should be able to and should want to show proof from back in October. The fact that Mr.Murphy has not been willing to show proof tells me that there is something to this issue. I wonder whether we'll see Obama's birth certificate before we see proof of Murphy's residence from October (LOL).
PhilD July 27, 2012 at 04:03 PM
This is complicated, let me see if I can simplify it for you. The Election office is a city department which reports to the administration. It also has a "dotted line" responsibility to the Election Commission. It also has to comply with the edicts of the Election Division of the Secretary of States office. You can't really blame the Election office for this mess. They did what they were suppose to do. They verified that Mr. Murphy was a registered voter in Attleboro. They verified enough signatures on his nomination papers to qualify him for the ballot. They posted the ballot before the election. The Election office is a small department with a big job - putting on an election. This is a complex process which results in the employees working many weekend and evening hours during election season to make it happen. They do not have the huge staff of election police which would be necessary to explore whether every candidate's residence meets the rather vague requirements. In order for a democratic form of government to work, the citizens need to be involved and take appropriate action at an appropriate time. There is a legal time period for an election to be protested, once that has passed, it is final. Otherwise, every time an elected person makes an unpopular decision, their legitimacy would be questioned. I certainly am not privy to your discussions with the Election office, but I suspect that you were told to contact the Secretary of State's office early on.

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