Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray will leave office next month, a year and a half before his term ends, to take a job in the private sector.
The Boston Globe broke the surprising news this morning, citing an unnamed Patrick administration official who said Murray, a former Worcester Mayor, will resign in June to become the new Chief Executive Officer and President of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
If hired, Murray will replace current President and CEO Richard Burke to head the organization, which according to its website, is the largest of the chamber’s New England chapters, with some 2,300 member businesses.
According to the source for the piece, Murray had been offered the job which would pay an annual salary of about $200,000, though the chamber’s Board of Directors still has to formally approve Murray’s hiring in a vote scheduled for this afternoon. No statement from the Lieutenant Governor as of this writing has yet been posted on either his website or his twitter account.
Murray, a former attorney and teacher, was first elected to the second highest office in the state Executive branch in 2006 when he and current Governor Deval Patrick were elected on the same ticket. Despite a strong year for Republicans across much of the country, both men were re-elected to a second term in 2010.
During his tenure, Murray has been active in promoting the administration’s agenda, working on a myriad of issues ranging from domestic violence prevention to chairing the Seaport Advisory Committee and the Science Technology Engineering and Math Advisory Council. He also made news in early 2011 when he came across he rescued two children from a burning SUV in Worcester.
However, Murray did make his share of embarrassing headlines. In November 2011, Murray came under scrutiny when he a crashed a state-owned SUV on I-191 in Sterling. Initially claiming a patch of black ice had caused him to slide off the road, later evidence from the vehicle’s black box showed Murray had been traveling at around 1oo miles per hour and may have fallen asleep in the moments leading up to the accident, thereby contradicting the initial statement he had given Police.
Murray is set to face charges for speeding, not wearing a seat belt, and giving false statements to police. He is set to be formally sentenced on June 14.
In 2012, he again came under scrutiny, this time from state regulators when it was revealed that Michael McLaughlin, the Chelsea Housing Director had helped with fundraising activities for Murray, violating state campaign finance laws. Murray who is still under investigation, denied he was connected with the activities.
Thought to be a leading contender to run for the Democratic nomination, Murray took many Massachusetts political observers by surprise in January when he said he would not be a candidate for Governor in 2014.
Given that state law and the Massachusetts Constitution does not have a mechanism for choosing a replacement for Lieutenant Governor, the office will remain vacant until 2015, when a new Governor and Lieutenant Governor are elected and sworn into office.
In the meantime, longtime Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin will move up into second place in the line of succession.
No word yet on the specific date of when Murray will actually leave office or whether this has anything to do with the scandal, however I am sure more information will come in throughout the day.