City Council President Michael Anderson

City Council President Michael Anderson

WOBURN - City Council President Michael Anderson will soon exchange his local legislative gavel for a set of judicial robes.

During a virtual meeting on Wednesday morning, when most members gathered in the Statehouse for an unrelated nomination hearing, the Governor's Council sanctioned Anderson's candidacy for an associate justice vacancy on the Mass. Probate and Family Court.

As promised following an hours-long confirmation hearing last week, the married father-of-five's judicial candidacy enjoyed the unanimous support of the Governor's Council, which approved his appointment without debate.

"It is my pleasure to appoint Michael D. Anderson. He is very qualified. He has the life experience [needed of a good judge] and has been in sole practice [at his law firm for 20-years], which I love," said Governor's Council member Marilyn Petitto Devaney. "It was a great appointment — not political — and there should be more like it."

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, who presides over Governor's Council deliberations, was quick to note the broad support for Anderson's appointment before briskly moving on to other business.

"So it's unanimous," Polito said matter-of-factly.

Anderson was first announced as the leading contender for the judgeship in late June, when Mass. Governor Charles Baker announced he had nominated the family law attorney as his top choice to replace retiring Judge Randy Kaplan.

Now that the governor's council has confirmed the appointment, Anderson will relinquish his seat on the council. In an interview earlier this month, the Frances Street resident explained state rules of judicial conduct prohibit him from holding both positions. He will also be required to shutter his Pleasant Street law practice, though he plans to take some time in doing so to ensure that clients' are able to find new legal representation.

Though it doesn't appear that Anderson has yet tendered his resignation, the council president during the recent interview indicated he would formally step down from the City Council within days of his judicial appointment being finalized.

During the most recent gathering of the City Council, when Mayor Scott Galvin paid homage to the council president for his service to the city over the past decade, Anderson acknowledged that he would very much miss his role as a local alderman.

"It's an incredible hobnob for Mike and well-deserved. I know he'll do a good job and I just wanted to extend my gratitude for all the hard work you've done on the council," said the mayor.

"Thank-you," responded Anderson. "It's a little bittersweet, but I'm looking forward to [this new opportunity]."

Anderson now becomes the second consecutive City Council president to relinquish the chairman's gavel after obtaining a higher state office, as his immediate predecessor, State Rep. Richard Haggerty, similarly left office early to assume his new role on Beacon Hill.

In the first matter of business, the City Council will need to name a new president. Based upon past precedent for the replacement process, Ward 2 Alderman Richard Gately as the senior member of the council will preside over the process for naming Anderson's successor.

Council presidents, besides getting to add an extra $2,000 to the $10,000 stipend given to sitting aldermen each year, also gets to set assignments on committees, where many of the more labor-intensive matters are flushed out by the aldermen in-between regular meetings.

Once a new president is named, the aldermen will have to settle upon a process for naming a new Ward 4 alderman to serve out the remainder of Anderson's unexpired term.

Per the city charter, the elected officials must advertise the vacancy for at least a week before making the appointment.

Though there is no requirement to interview candidates, when Haggerty departed his alderman at-large seat in Jan. of 2019, the City Council charged its Personnel Committee with the task of reviewing each application from interested candidates.

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