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Challenge to Alicea on ethics law


Open Meeting violation also charged



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State Rep. Geraldo Alicea, D-Charlton, (partly obscured) chats with Town Council Vice Chairman Albert Vecchia Jr. at immediate right, and Chairman Steven Lazo after Monday’s executive session regarding a return of a Registry of Motor Vehicles branch to Southbridge. Ryan Grannan-Doll. (click for larger version)
April 06, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — State Rep. Geraldo Alicea, D-Charlton, is denying he violated state ethics laws when he participated in an executive session meeting of the Town Council Monday night. During the meeting, bringing a Registry of Motor Vehicles branch back to town was discussed.

At the same time, Town Councilors are steadfastly defending themselves against a complaint alleging they violated the state's Open Meeting Law.

The Southbridge Evening News Tuesday morning filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission alleging Alicea created a conflict of interest by participating in the closed-door session.

The News also filed a complaint with the Worcester County District Attorney's Office alleging the Town Council violated the Open Meeting Law when it met.

The council did not decide or vote upon anything Monday night, according to Chairman Steven Lazo, because Councilor Pamela Regis was not there.

Citing budget cuts, the RMV last year closed the Southbridge branch at the Big Bunny plaza on Main Street. About a month later, the RMV opened a new branch off the Massachusetts Turnpike 5-East service area. Since then, controversy has erupted with lawmakers and residents who have criticized the site as unsafe and inconvenient.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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