Tim Murray, Mass. Lt. Gov., to resign for private sector job

The board of directors of the private business group was expected to vote later Wednesday to confirm the appointment of Murray, a former mayor of Worcester, as president and chief executive.

Elise Amendola/AP
Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Tim Murray speaks at an event in Winchendon, Mass, in Jan. Several people familiar with Murray's decision said Wednesday, May 22, 2013, that he is expected to step down as Lieutenant Governor to become head of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray is expected to resign to become head of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, several people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The board of directors of the private business group was expected to vote later Wednesday to confirm the appointment of Murray, a former mayor of Worcester, as president and chief executive. The exact timing of the lieutenant governor's departure from Gov. Deval Patrick's administration was not immediately known.

The people, including two within the administration, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the development publicly.

Murray was approached by the chamber about the job and decided to pursue it because he felt it was a good opportunity for his family, according to one administration official. The position pays more than $200,000 a year, more than his current state salary as lieutenant governor.

A message left with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce was not immediately returned.

Murray, 44, is in his second term. He previously announced that he would not try to succeed Patrick, who is not seeking re-election. He has also said he had no plans to seek another elective office in 2014.

There is no provision in Massachusetts law for filling a vacancy in the lieutenant governor's office, so the position will remain vacant until after the 2014 elections.

Secretary of State William Galvin would become the next in line to the governor's office following Murray's departure.

Murray has enjoyed strong support from Patrick and has been credited with leading many of the administration's economic development initiatives and support for veterans' services. But his tenure has also included some controversies.

He faced questions about a pre-dawn crash on Interstate 190 in November 2011 that totaled the state car he was driving. Data later released from the vehicle's "black box" show the car was traveling more than 100 miles per hour in the moments before it left the highway, hit a rock ledge and rolled over.

Murray, who was not seriously injured, was issued a $555 ticket.

His version of the events of that morning shifted during the course of the investigation. He initially told reporters he was driving around the speed limit and believed the cause of the accident was black ice, but he later said he probably fell asleep at the wheel just before the accident.

The administration declined requests from the media to release any of Murray's cellphone records for around the time of the crash.

In January, the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance made public a letter it sent in September to Attorney General Martha Coakley saying there was evidence Murray and his political committee broke the law by accepting donations raised by former Chelsea Housing Authority Director Michael McLaughlin.

Murray said at the time he was cooperating with the investigation and was prepared to return any money that was raised improperly.

McLaughlin pleaded guilty in February to federal charges that he knowingly concealed his salary in annual housing authority budgets from 2008 to 2011 and submitting the false figures to state and federal regulators. He admitted to falsely reporting his annual salary as $160,415 in 2011, when his total compensation was at least $324,896.

Murray acknowledged that McLaughlin was a political supporter but said he never asked McLaughlin to raise campaign money for him. The lieutenant governor also said he was unaware of McLaughlin's allegedly bloated salary.

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