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Somerville city solicitor resigns

Posted by Marcia Dick  March 11, 2010 01:04 PM

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City Solicitor John Gannon became the fourth high-ranking Somerville official to relinquish his post in recent months, announcing his return to private practice in a letter dated March 5.

“Holding the position of City Solicitor has been professionally rewarding and the culmination of over 20 years of public and private law practice representing municipalities and other governmental entities,” the letter states. “I now have a wonderful opportunity to return to private legal practice and to reach a new set of career goals.”

Police Chief Anthony Galloway resigned in January to become chief in Clearwater, Fla., and shortly after Tom Champion left his job as the city's director of the Office of Communications and Cable to work for a private communications firm. A fourth, director of Traffic and Parking Jim Kotzuba, resigned in December.

During his six-year tenure as city solicitor, Gannon cited his work with the Green Line Expansion and the development of Assembly Square as particularly enjoyable. Under his supervision, Somerville's law department has become one of state's most effective, he said.
 
“I have realized my goal of developing the best municipal law department in the Commonwealth, and I am proud of my team’s achievements,” he said.
 
Gannon will officially vacate his position on March 19, at which point Assistant City Solicitor Frank Wright will take over as Acting City Solicitor, said Deputy Director of Communications Jackie Rossetti.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said he respects Gannon's decision to retire from municipal government, noting the quality of life issues that often motivate public employees to move to the private sector.

"These things happen, I'm not surprised," he said. "He's done an exceptional job as City Solicitor. He's well respected in the community and I'm happy for him."
 
Gannon's tenure was marred by three convictions of driving under the influence of liquor in 2008, stemming from incidents the previous year. On January 8, 2008, he was found guilty on two counts of driving while intoxicated in Brighton District Court, a court spokeswoman confirmed. Two weeks later, he was convicted on another drunken driving charge in Waltham District Court, a spokeswoman said. His license was revoked for a year as a result.
 
Gannon, who was educated at Brown University and Suffolk University Law School, was paid a gross salary of $94,070 in 2008, according to city records.
 
In May 2008, his wife, State Representative Rachel Kaprielian, was appointed registrar of Motor Vehicles by Governor Deval Patrick after serving six terms representing Watertown and portions of Cambridge in the state House of Representatives. The couple has reportedly separated.

Asked about Gannon's driving convinctions on the day her appointment was announced, Kaprielian said "Any personal matter of any friends and family to me will not have any bearing whatsoever on my capacity as registrar." 

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