Changing course after a rising tide of criticism, Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua is resigning from his second job as a state lawmaker.
"In the past few days … it has become clear to me that I can no longer serve in the House of Representatives, advocating for the city of Lawrence, in the same manner to which I have grown accustomed over the years," Lantigua wrote in a resignation letter to House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
"Today I submit my resignation as state representative so that I may continue to serve the people of Lawrence to the best of my ability. At this time, 'my best' means advocating from Lawrence as mayor of Lawrence," he said.
Lantigua met with DeLeo today to discuss his plans. At a news conference this evening at Lawrence City Hall attended by about 60 supporters, he said he made his decision not because of pressure from the media or legislative leaders, but after he had talked with his mother, wife, and the people of Lawrence.
"The community made that call," he said.
As recently as Wednesday, a defiant Lantigua told Globe columnist Brian McGrory, "I'm not stepping down."
Lantigua was elected in November and sworn into office early last month. The mayor's job pays $100,000 and the lawmaker's job around $70,000. He said Wednesday that the people of Lawrence had elected him to both, they were comfortable with him, and if he resigned from his State House job, he would be caving into outside interests.
But the issue of Lantigua's two jobs recently drew attention because of the city's fiscal troubles. It faces a $24.5million deficit this year and next year's deficit is estimated at nearly $15 million.
Beacon Hill leaders are considering loaning the city $35 million. But some lawmakers threatened to immediately install a five -member control board, dominated by state officials.
Action on the bailout, slated for earlier this week, was postponed after lawmakers were angered because Lantigua didn't appear at a hearing on the measure.
“Speaker DeLeo respects the decision Mayor Lantigua has made for himself and for his constituents. He thanks him for his service to the House of Representatives and advocacy on behalf of the people of Lawrence. He looks forward to working with him in the future," DeLeo spokesman Seth Gitell said in a statement.
"I appreciate Mayor Lantigua’s decision to focus all his energies on City Hall and on getting Lawrence back on its feet," Governor Deval Patrick said in a statement. "He and the new City Council have inherited a dire budget situation and I am committed to working with them so that Lawrence has the tools necessary to get its fiscal house in order."
Lantigua said Wednesday that he would have had a conflict of interest in attending the hearing -- as the mayor seeking a bailout and a lawmaker considering whether to approve the bailout. "I couldn't be judge and jury at the same time. They know that," he said.
Martin Finucane and Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more