Judge Rules Against LRA Board Member Who Claimed He Had a Five Year Term

By: Tom Duggan – Feb. 29, 2016

odonoghueSuperior Court Judge Robert Welch has rejected the claim by former Lawrence Redevelopment Authority member James Patrick O’Donoghue to remain on the board after his term expired. The judge dismissed O’Donoghue’s suit against the city in a written ruling February 24, 2016.

O’Donoghue claimed that he was appointed to the LRA to a five year term and that Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera illegally replaced him before the end of his term.  (Prior story here )

O’Donogue was appointed February 4, 2014 to fill the unexpired term of Estella Reyes, who left the board after taking office as a Lawrence City Councilor.

In fact, according to the video of the Lawrence City Council meeting the day O’Donoghue was appointed, it was made clear by Lawrence City Councilor Marc Laplante and Able Vargas the city’s Economic Development Director, that the appointment of O’Donoghue was to fill the unexpired term of Estella Reyes. In fact, Reyes purposely stepped down from the board after being elected to the city council so that O’Donoghue could be appointed to her seat.

At 1HR and 56min into the video here

Judge Welch said that “while the oath of office does reference a five year term, Chapter 121B limits the city in it’s appointments. The plaintiff [O’Donoghue] filled the unexpired term of a Redevelopment Authority member. The term has expired and the plaintiff has no legal right to be re-appointed to another term.”

Decision – Complaint Dismissed