LRA Board Member Files Injunction to Stop His Replacement

Lawrence resident James Patrick O’Donoghue has filed an injunction in Newburyport Superior Court, to try and halt his removal from the Lawrence Redevelopment Authority.

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. 

O’Donoghue claims in his filing with the court that he was appointed to serve a full, five year term to the LRA board, and that the mayor is replacing him illegally.

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

Mayor Dan Rivera recently replaced O’Donoghue on the board with his pick, Michelle Melancon saying he wanted to go in a different direction on the board. “That’s why I submitted Ms. Melancon’s name for approval by the council. I consider Mr. O’Donogue a friend and thank him for his service and support.” 

According to the Lawrence City Charter, if the City Council does not take a vote within thirty days of the mayor’s recommendation to fill a board appointment, the candidate is legally approved and takes office on that board. 

The LRA is a state sanctioned redevelopment authority that helps finance capital improvements in the city. The mayor appoints four members and the governor appoints one member. 

James Patrick O’Donoghue ran for mayor and lost the primary in 2013, and endorsed then City Councilor Dan Rivera over incumbent Mayor Willie Lantigua.