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Disgraced ex-state Sen. Marzilli applies for pension increase

Disgraced ex-state Sen. Marzilli applies for pension increase

A former Massachusetts state senator who resigned after he was charged with harassing women has applied to nearly double his pension to $27,000 annually.

James Marzilli Jr. in his request to the state Board of Retirement cited a law that allows elected officials under age 55 with more than 20 years of service to boost their pension if they fail to win re-election.

The Arlington Democrat announced shortly after his arrest in June that he would not seek re-election, even though his name remained on the ballot.

The retirement board last Tuesday voted to postpone a ruling on Marzilli’s request until his criminal case is resolved.

Marzilli pleaded not guilty to multiple charges and was treated at a psychiatric hospital for bipolar disorder. He goes to trial in April.

Mass. man barred from offering foreclosure help

LAWRENCE — The Massachusetts attorney general’s office has obtained a preliminary injunction against a Methuen mortgage broker authorities allege preyed upon financially distressed homeowners.

Attorney General Martha Coakley alleges that David Coleman and his business, Mortgage Finders of New England, represented himself as an attorney and bankruptcy expert who offered to file bankruptcy petitions to save homes from foreclosure.

The injunction granted last week prohibits Coleman and his employees from offering foreclosure or bankruptcy-related services.

The attorney general is also seeking a permanent injunction against Coleman, restitution, penalties and fees.

It is the first lawsuit filed under rules instituted in 2007 to regulate foreclosure-related services.

Framingham State gets $1M gift

FRAMINGHAM — Framingham State College has received an anonymous $1 million gift that will be used to provide scholarships for students preparing to become math and science teachers.

The gift announced last Tuesday, from the family of an alumna, matches the largest lump sum donation in school history.

College President Timothy Flanagan said the donation could help students who might otherwise not attend college.

Flanagan said the money will also be used to bolster teacher development and student interest in math and science, which he noted has been on the decline for 30 years.

Mass. hospitals cutting down ER waits

State public health officials say emergency room waits are decreasing at many Massachusetts hospitals as they prepare to comply with a new state rule prohibiting ERs from turning away ambulances.

Some ERs reroute ambulances to other hospitals if they are overcrowded.

In November, ERs were closed for 232 hours, less than one-quarter as often as at the beginning of the year.

Effective Jan. 1, hospitals must stop those temporary ER closures, called diversions, in almost all cases.

The Boston Globe reported last Wednesday that many hospitals are finding ways to speed the flow of patients through their emergency departments, including hiring more nurses and doctors.

Doctors and others in the industry say the new system will be better for patients.

State Senate backs financial bill for Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Senate has backed a bill that would give the city of Springfield 10 additional years to pay off a $52 million dollar state loan.

The Senate approved the legislation during an informal session last Wednesday. But it’s unclear if the House also will act on it before the current legislative year ends and a new one begins on Jan. 6.

Two House members from Springfield, state Reps. Benjamin Swan and Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, have said they would not support the bill without amendments.

Mayor Domenic Sarno warned last Tuesday of layoffs and deep service cuts if the bill is not passed.

Springfield received the loan in 2005 at the same time the state established a Finance Control Board to oversee the city’s finances. The bill would disband the board and replace it with a financial administrator at City Hall.

(Associated Press)