Decision on Boston Councilman Chuck Turner won’t be rushed
Boston’s City Council will wait a month before it decides the fate of Chuck Turner, the six-term councilor convicted Friday of accepting a $1,000 bribe in his district office from an FBI informant.
The council will hold a hearing and take a final vote Dec. 1, waiting until after a special election to fill an empty seat. The council’s president, Michael P. Ross, said Monday that members have not determined whether Turner will face expulsion or another disciplinary action.
“This is a serous matter and we are taking serious action by moving forward with this meeting,’’ Ross said. “I think we are moving very quickly here, but I also think we are moving deliberately.’’
Turner had asked Ross to postpone the hearing until after his sentencing on Jan. 25, in the hope that he receives only probation and could complete his term, which runs through 2011. If US District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock sends Turner to prison, state law would force him out of office when he is sentenced.
After Turner’s arrest, the council adopted a rule in January 2009 that requires a hearing when a member is convicted of a felony related to the councilor’s official duties. Turner voted in favor of the rule, which requires a two-thirds vote, or nine members, for action. The rule, however, does not specify a punishment, which means the council must decide whether Turner should face expulsion, censure, or something else.
Turner said Monday that although he voted for the rule that could lead to his expulsion, he may challenge its validity.
“Questions have been raised about whether the council rule is even legal,’’ Turner said. “Lawyers are looking at it.’’
Council members were not willing to respond on the record Monday to questions about what should be done with Turner. When approached by a reporter at City Hall, Councilor at Large Stephen J. Murphy held up his palms. “No comment,’’ Murphy said.
Ross also deferred comment, but said he planned to make a recommendation to his colleagues at the hearing. “You’ll know exactly my position, as well as the position of my colleagues, on Dec. 1,’’ he said.
Councilor Charles C. Yancey attended a rally for Turner on Saturday outside his district office and asked a crowd of about 200 people “why was the FBI so hell-bent on destroying one of our strongest leaders?’’
Yancey did not respond Monday to several messages seeking comment.
Turner came to work Monday at his City Hall office and vowed not to appeal his conviction for attempted extortion and three counts of lying to federal agents. The extortion count alone carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.