BOSTON -- After admitting on the campaign trail he didn't really want to do the job he was asking for, Rep. Paul Heroux is beginning his tenure with unfavorable comparisons to former Lawrence mayor William Lantigua. Like Lantigua, Heroux is turning his back on his city's taxpayers by refusing to give up his seat in the Legislature - all to advance his partisan political interests.
"Rep. Heroux's decision to be a part-time mayor for shallow, political reasons is wrong for the people of Attleboro, who deserve full-time service. It's hard to imagine anything more disrespectful to taxpayers than Beacon Hill Democrats' massive pay hike, but Heroux's decision to provide part-time, sub-par service while collecting two taxpayer-funded salaries is an even worse failure of leadership." -MassGOP spokesman Terry MacCormack
Mayor-elect in Attleboro won’t be resigning his House seat
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
By Andy Metzger
Attleboro's mayor-elect, Democrat Rep. Paul Heroux, plans to serve out the remaining 14 months of his term in the House even after taking over at City Hall, in part to give his party a better chance at holding the House seat.
After hearing about his plans, House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Wednesday said a conversation with Heroux is likely, but the decision would ultimately be up to the three-term lawmaker.
During the campaign, Heroux criticized Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas as overpaid at a salary of $122,000 a year and said if elected he would commission a study to determine how much he should earn as mayor, the Attleboro Sun Chronicle reported in August. As a state rep, Heroux receives base pay of $62,548 and is entitled to an additional $15,000 for office expenses.
If Heroux serves out his term and the election is held next year, the Democrats would have a "fair shot," he said.
The Sun Chronicle reported on Heroux's plans to hold down both jobs Wednesday morning. North Attleborough Republican Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, who represents part of Attleboro, was surprised to hear he plans to remain in the Legislature through 2018, calling it an "incredible revelation."
"I think we can carry on once he leaves until the special election takes place, which is the normal procedure," Poirier told the News Service. She said, "He has no idea what kind of a schedule he's facing as mayor of a city."
After winning election in 2009 as mayor of Lawrence, William Lantigua initially retained his House seat, but under pressure from fellow Democrats he bowed out of his state House seat in February 2010. The controversy was fueled, in part, by the Legislature's consideration of legislation at the time that would have allowed Lawrence to borrow $35 million to pay its debts, and put the city's finances under the control of a state receiver.
Lantigua, who lost a bid Tuesday to reclaim the mayoralty in Lawrence, ultimately resigned in 2010 but only after his colleagues filed legislation to ban municipal executives from serving in the Legislature.
Heroux informed the speaker of his intent to serve in both positions during the Democrats caucus on Wednesday, and DeLeo said it was "too early in the process" to say whether he might ask Heroux to choose between the two jobs.
"As I told him, I think it's something we need to have further discussion on, but as long as it's within the legalities of the system then that would be up to the representative to choose. If he feels he can do both and do both jobs, then I would leave that up to the representative," DeLeo said.
Asked if that would be a double standard compared to the pressure brought by House leadership and then Gov. Deval Patrick on Lantigua to resign, DeLeo said, "Ultimately it became Representative Lantigua's decision what to do and I would say it would be the same with Representative Heroux."
Lantigua's resignation should have set a "precedent," Poirier said, but she said she would leave the matter to the speaker and other Democrats. She said, "It's not up to me. He's not a member of my party."