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Chuck Turner fights to keep council seat

Chuck Turner fights to keep council seat
By Richard Weir  |   Tuesday, November 2, 2010  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Politics

Photo by Ted Fitzgerald (file)

As convicted felon Chuck Turner fights to keep his City Council office, he could end up serving as “kingmaker” to the next council president and even an acting council president himself — next in line to the mayor — with the honor of gaveling in the 2011 term.

Turner, who faces up to 35 years in prison after being convicted Friday of extortion and perjury charges, is battling to keep his City Council job in hopes that federal judge Douglas Woodlock slaps him with only probation at his Jan. 25 sentencing.

“Many with experience in the judicial system say that is unlikely given the circumstances of the case that I will receive any jail time,” Turner said in an e-mail sent to his fellow councilors Sunday.

“I was asked by Council President (Michael) Ross on Friday if I intended to resign. I said No. I was elected by my constituents despite my inditement (sic),” the Harvard grad-turned community activist wrote. “I realize that my decision not to resign and to fight to complete my term creates a difficult situation for you. However, I believe that my constituents have a right to have me complete the term to which I was elected.”

That means, if the council declines to oust him, that he will be in play when time comes to vote for a new council president.

“It’s a highly charged environment where it’s difficult to secure a majority. Every vote matters,” said a City Hall insider, noting that an ambitious councilor, angling to become the council’s next president, could court Turner’s vote in exchange for helping him survive a Dec. 1 council vote to strip him of his post.

“Seven is the magic number of votes and Chuck could be that seventh vote for a council president. He could be kingmaker,” the source said, adding that if Turner does survive the vote he would, as the body’s oldest member, be given the honor of serving as temporary president for two weeks when Ross completes his term in mid- December and the council resumes business on Jan. 3.

Ross said yesterday he postponed the hearing on Turner’s fate until Dec. 1 to give councilors a month to review the “legal ramifications” of ousting an elected official.

“The council has never been down this road in (its) history . . . The potential vote to possibly remove a sitting city councilor is of such gravity it should require all 13 members being present to take that vote,” said Ross, who called it “premature” to say how he will vote. But he added: “This issue is about the integrity of the City Council and our service to the city of Boston. It’s not about difficult votes. It’s about doing what’s right on behalf of the citizens.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1293211

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