Jul 30, 2014
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Residency Complaint Against School Committee Member Dismissed

A city solicitor says the complaint filed by Jennifer Crowder against David Murphy does not meet the standards for the Election Commission to consider it. Crowder says she will file a new complaint. Murphy calls her a pawn on a pathetic crusade.

Residency Complaint Against School Committee Member Dismissed

One chapter of an inquiry into the residency of Attleboro School Committee member David Murphy concluded Wednesday evening with the Election Commission unanimously dismissing a complaint filed by school district parent Jennifer Crowder. But a new chapter could begin as soon as Thursday afternoon because Crowder said she would file a revised complaint.

The commission dismissed the complaint alleging Murphy lives in Boston by following an opinion issued by attorney Lauren Galvin from the Office of the City Solicitor (the opinion is attached to this article). Galvin wrote that for a complaint to be considered it must meet six criteria, which Crowder's letter does not do.

Among the issues with Crowder's document were that it was not sworn and does not state why "the complainant has reason to believe and does believe that Mr. David Murphy has been illegally or incorrectly registered in Attleboro and the reasons for such a belief."

Commissioner Henry B. Reiley III was the only person on the four-member panel to comment prior to the vote at . He said, "Ms. Crowder only says she suspects David Murphy is a resident of Boston, which is equivalent to rumor without facts."

Crowder said after the meeting that she had been given incorrect information by the local election's office on how to file the complaint. She said her revised document would be sworn and state why she believes Murphy is a Boston resident, including RMV and tax information proving he does not live in Attleboro.

Murphy did not attend the meeting, but he issued a statement:

Ms. Crowder is misguided about the laws of our state, and misinformed about the facts of my life. Maintaining an apartment in Boston does not disqualify someone as a resident of Attleboro. Incidentally, I relinquished possession of the particular apartment that Ms. Crowder was so concerned about three months before she initiated her pathetic crusade.

He continued:

Ms. Crowder and those using her as a pawn for their political antics do not represent the values of the Attleboro community, which is a community I am honored to serve.

[Murphy's statement is attached to this article.]

Crowder said she would respond to Murphy's statement after she completed the revised complaint. Regarding the allegation that she is a pawn, Crowder said she is operating as an individual with the research assistance of another Attleboro resident whose name she declined to reveal. Crowder said the person helping her does not follow local politics.

Crowder said her concern about Murphy's residency is due to the problems she said she has had .

"If there are going to be people who are involved with our children and how the schools are run, they should have an interest in it," Crowder said. "It's nothing against him personally, but he doesn't have a family here. He's not involved actually in the schools. How can he really know what's going on other than hearing from us parents, especially when many [school officials] don't listen to us parents anyhow. What's his interest in the school committee?"

Murphy, who grew up in Attleboro and graduated from declined to respond to Crowder's comment.

Among those attending the commission meeting were City Councilor Jeremy Denlea, School Committee members Brenda Furtado and Barbara Craw and former School Committee member Ray DiCiaccio.

DiCiaccio asked the commissioners if they had the ability to address the matter of a school committee member who misses many meetings because she spends time in Florida. He was presumably speaking about Teri Enegren, .

"To me, that's a far, far greater issue than what's been brought up here," DiCiaccio said.

Chair Fran V. Hutton told him that would not be an issue the commission would consider.

Enegren wrote in  last year that she spends 45 percent of her time in Florida because she practices real estate there and her significant other lives in the state.

She wrote, "I cannot always be in attendance in Room 178E [for school committee meetings], but I am diligent in my efforts to stay up to date and do my research ... I make it a priority to stay informed about everything that goes on in the district and I have always gone over and above what is expected from a school committee member." 

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