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Sheriff to Resign After Winning Re-Election Rather Than Take Pension

Boston Globe via YellowBrix

November 22, 2010

BOSTON—Middlesex County Sheriff James V. DiPaola says he will resign in January, two months after winning re-election, rather than take a pension in addition to his salary.

The 57-year-old DiPaola filed retirement papers in October. He was able to take advantage of state pension law that allows retirees to run for paid elective office without losing their pensions.

DiPaola, a Democrat, could have accepted an annual pension of $98,500 in addition to his sheriff’s pay of $123,000 next year. He told The Boston Globe he could not in good conscience accept both, even though it’s legal.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who criticized DiPaola’s initial plan, now praises him for resigning.

Elected officials who collect pensions have almost always retired for some time before seeking office.

In DiPaola’s Own Words:

I write today to make a statement about my retirement and my reelection. First of all I want to thank all of my supporters that assisted in reelecting me the sheriff of Middlesex. I must admit I had reservations about running for another term. I have been a public servant for 36 years since 1974. As I pondered my decision it was brought to my attention that I would be eligible for retirement and if reelected eligible for the salary of sheriff.

It must be pointed out that if I retired and someone else was the sheriff there would be no cost savings. I made a black and white decision based on finances instead of my moral compass to run for reelection and to apply for retirement.

Once this decision was made public and I discussed it with Globe reporter Sean Murphy my first reaction was to defend the law. Sean made a statement to me which really hit home. He said, “You know Sheriff if you do this it will be your legacy and not any good you have done.’’ I realized then that he was right. Being an elected official is about public service and not always the best financial deal. Shortly after my discussion with Sean I decided that I would not continue my original course.

So, I want to announce that I will not be accepting the salary for sheriff. I also want to announce that on Jan. 6, 2011, I will resign my position as Middlesex sheriff. This will allow Governor Deval Patrick an opportunity to appoint someone to the office. This decision, I thought, would be a difficult one. Well, it is not. Today I want to thank Sean Murphy of The Boston Globe for reminding me of all the reasons that I served in public service for 36 years and assisting me in making this decision. Thank you and I ask for your understanding and support.

— James V. DiPaola

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