Moran Answers Tough Questions in Bid for State Rep.

Will not commit to quitting council or

stepping down as council President if he wins


By: Valley Patriot Staff – May, 2012

Lawrence City Council President Frank Moran
Lawrence City Council President Frank Moran

Lawrence City Council President Frank Moran is a candidate for State Representative in the 17th Essex District. The newly created rep. district was created by the state legislature last year as a “majority-minority district”. In political code, that means the district was specifically designed for a “Latino” to win that seat. The new district is made up mostly of Lawrence neighborhoods coupled with a few “Latino” neighborhoods in Methuen’s Arlington District, and four “white” precincts in Andover mixed in.

Moran will face Kevin Cuff who is running as an Independent in November.

Moran, is in his fifth year on the city council, and his third as council president. He has been one of Mayor Lantigua’s strongest advocates on the council and has approved nearly every measure Lantigua has put before him, including; approving all of Lantigua’s hires, board appointments, firings, personnel moves, lawsuits, and even supported Lantigua’s 2012 budget to cut police, fire and close fire stations.

Moran appeared on The Paying Attention Radio program on 980AM’s WCAP last month and made quite a few revelations during his interview with host Tom Duggan, who is also the publisher of The Valley Patriot.

Moran told Duggan’s audience that the relationship between he and Mayor Willie Lantigua is not as rosy as people make it out to be and painted a picture of conflict between the two officials.

“Yeah, but if he was running for reelection tomorrow you’d be campaigning for him wouldn’t you?” Duggan asked.

“Probably not, probably not,” he responded quickly. “We would have to talk and have to sit down and see what his vision is for the city.”

Moran has been council president for all three of Lantigua’s years in the mayor’s office.

Moran said Lantigua has not endorsed him for state rep. and that he has not sought Lantigua’s endorsement.

“I don’t know, I have not approached him for an endorsement but I really haven’t asked anyone for an endorsement,” he claimed. He then scoffed at the suggestion that Lantigua would be supporting him over “the white guy”.

Duggan also asked why he has supported every single major initiative Lantigua has put before the city council. Moran responded saying he believed Lantigua’s proposals were good for the city.

As for why he is running for the newly created state rep. seat, Moran touted his council experience and said he wanted to make Lawrence more financially self-sustaining, something he says will help Andover and Methuen when they no longer have to cover Lawrence fire and police .

“I thought it was important for the city of Lawrence to have another voice. I think if we make Lawrence better, we take away the burden from other cities and towns. If we can fix the public safety situation in Lawrence we take away the burden from the other cities. I want to make sure Lawrence holds its’ own weight so we don’t depend on the state 110%.”

Moran defended his decision to support Lantigua’s 2012 budget that closed two fires stations and laid off police officers.
Asked if he took responsibility for the spike in fires, crime and violence in the city after he voted to cut fire and police he said sharply, “absolutely, of course I do.”

“You feel responsible for every vote you take, but at the end of the day you have to go to bed with that vote, not anybody else.”

“Hopefully, the short term loss is a long term gain,” he continued. “Today we have a $6 million surplus in the city budget’s general fund and an additional $5 million in our sewer and water enterprise fund. We have brought every police officer back, now I want to bring in more police officers.”

“This is a very lean budget this year. We passed the meals tax, put in parking meters and gone to the levy limit for the last three years. But, as a taxpayer I want to see a return on my investment. As a citizen I want to feel safe. As you know a safe city leads to economic development. So if we don’t have a safe city there’s no economic development.”

Challenged by Duggan as to why he was so strongly against Mayor Sullivan’s acting appointments to city positions but has allowed mayor Lantigua to make temporary appointments with no criticism, Moran said the council has acted to stop that.

“Last year we had a provisional DPW position and we [eliminated] that salary so that the mayor cannot use that money for anything until he sends those names down to the city council. As you know, once the council approves the budget we expect the CEO of the city is going to manage the city better. So we did put a stop to that. We did that last year.”

But District “F” city councilor Marc LaPlant said that the council reversed that decision just weeks before the interview and has put that money back in the budget as evidenced by Lantigua’s temporary appointment of his secretary (George Jamie) to head the parks department with no park administration experience.

Asked why he supported Lantigua’s efforts to fire those he perceived as political enemies despite the fact that Moran is a Democrat and is supposed to support “workers rights” not to lose their municipal jobs because of politics, Moran defended his votes.

“I believe a mayor should be able to choose his own cabinet,” he said.

When asked by a caller if he would step down from the city council should he win the state rep. race in November, Moran said he “I will take everything into consideration.” When pressed for an answer as to whether he would at least commit to stepping down as council president, Moran balked at making a commitment.

In 2010 Mayor Lantigua drew harsh criticism from the legislature and the Boston media for trying to hold on to his seat in the legislature after taking office as mayor. He was eventually force to resign due to the public pressure though there is no law stating that one cannot hold two elected positions at once.

Duggan asked Moran if he would take responsibility for some of the “shenanigans” going on in the Lantigua administration once the indictments are announced and it is learned that some of Lantigua’s appointments (that he supported) turn out to have been involved in illegalities.

“Absolutely,” he agreed. “If that happens, of course I will look back and take responsibility for that. We are not perfect we’re all going to make mistakes.”

Moran denied that he has been contacted by law enforcement concerning the multiple criminal investigations into the Lantigua administration and also denied any involvement in any wrongdoing surrounding the Lantigua allegations.