It may be an unwinnable situation and a little too late, but it’s good to see that Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt is petitioning Governor Deval Patrick for the right to appoint an interim replacement for deceased State Representative Joyce Spilliotis.
The Mayor wants to ensure that, until a new rep is seated following the April 2nd special election, Peabody has its fair share of representation on Beacon Hill. The problem is that there is no precedent or law giving a mayor such powers to appoint, and it might end up taking an executive order from Patrick to allow this.
Bettencourt appointing an interim rep presents another potential sticky situation: Although Mayor of Peabody, he doesn’t even live in the open seat’s 12th Essex House District. A Ward 6 resident, Bettencourt is represented on Beacon Hill by Ted Spelliotis.
The Mayor says he would only appoint as the interim someone who is not running in the special election. So far, Democrats Beverley Dunne and James Moutsoulas, unenrolled candidate David Gravel, and Republicans Greg Bunn and Leah Cole have pulled nomination papers to run for the right to complete the final 19 months of Spilliotis’ term. The deadline for returning their petitions with at least 150 qualified signatures is Tuesday, Jan. 22. The 12thEssex seat represents Peabody Wards 1-4, and precincts 1 and 3 in Ward 5.
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