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Governor Says No Law Exists to Allow Interim State Rep Appointment

Mayor Ted Bettencourt had asked the governor to give him the authority to make a non-political interim appointment to Peabody's vacant seat in the Mass. House of Representatives.

That's a negative on the governor appointing or giving authority to appoint an interim state representative for Peabody to fill the seat left vacant with the death of Joyce Spiliotis.

Gov. Deval Patrick's office says there is no constitutional provision in Massachusetts' law for Patrick to do so, reports the Salem News.

A specific law does exist, however, to deal with U.S. Senate vacancies and Patrick acted under that provision last week to appoint William Cowan while a special election gets underway. Cowan will step down once a winner is elected.

In this case, Mayor Ted Bettencourt had asked for a similar temporary appointment to the vacant seat for the 12th Essex District until that special election is decided on April 2.

He said he was concerned at the diminished voice Peabody will have on Beacon Hill, particularly on the state budget, until that time.

The only relevant laws that deal with state special elections leave the control with the Mass. House of Representatives and that's what Patrick's legal staff told Bettencourt, according to the Salem News.

State Rep. Ted Speliotis, who represents West Peabody along with Danvers and part of Middleton, had suggested Bettencourt send his letter to the Speaker of the House instead.

As for the race underway to succeed Spiliotis, there will be a Republican Primary March 5 in which Greg Bunn and Leah Cole face off. The winner of that contest heads to the final election with Democrat Beverley Griffin Dunne and unenrolled candidate Dave Gravel.

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