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Council President: Turner Should Be Removed

Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, center, leaves the Moakley Courthouse Oct. 29 after being found guilty on all counts in a corruption trial. (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)
Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, center, leaves the Moakley Courthouse Oct. 29 after being found guilty on all counts in a corruption trial. (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)

Boston City Council President Michael Ross on Monday issued an order of expulsion for convicted City Councilor Chuck Turner. Turner's colleagues gather Wednesday for a hearing to decide whether he will be able to retain his position.

Late last month, a federal jury found Turner guilty of accepting a $1,000 bribe and lying to the authorities.

Ahead of the Wednesday hearing, Ross released a statement expressing his intent to recommend that Turner vacate his councilor position, effective Friday.

"The matter before us today is larger than any one Councilor," Ross wrote in his letter. "We have but one judicial system in this country, and whether we personally agree with the verdict or not, a jury of his peers found Councilor Turner guilty of very serious crimes."

"This can't be about one individual," Ross added while speaking to WBUR. "This is not about the accomplishments of one person. It is more about the integrity of the entire city council."

Turner is asking for a delay on the decision until after his sentencing, on Jan. 25. He says he could receive probation and remain available to complete his term.

"If they choose to vote me off then, they have that right," Turner said, "but also the people of this city have a right — and will — sit in judgment if they choose to run for city council. And that's fair."

Turner says his record speaks for itself.

"They know that on the council, I have been, I think, the watchdog in terms of fiscal and moral integrity."

Council Rule 40-A, which was adopted just last year after Turner's arrest and indictment, clearly states the council president "shall automatically refer a matter to the council upon a felony conviction of any member."

Ross becomes the fifth councilor to publicly support removing Turner from office. Two-thirds of the 13-member council would have to vote against Turner to oust him from office.

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This program aired on November 29, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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