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Lt. Governor Tim Murray Resigns

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BOSTON (CBS) — Lt. Gov. Tim Murray has resigned from his post at the State House, effective June 2nd.

Murray said he was not actively searching for employment opportunities when he was approached about the  job as head of Worcester Chamber of Commerce.

Sources tell WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson that Murray will be making over $200,000 per year.

Calling the decisions an “ending and a beginning,” he said the decision makes sense for him professionally and personally.

“I want to add my congratulations and thanks to Tim for the extraordinary role he has played,” Gov. Deval Patrick said noting his work on issues of homelessness, domestic violence and veterans affairs.

Watch Tim Murray’s Announcement

“Tim Murray is a trusted partner and just a great friend. He was here everyday for the right reasons,” Patrick said.

Murray announced in January that he would not make a run to succeed Deval Patrick as governor.

The Lt. Governor has been the subject of scrutiny for his ties to disgraced Chelsea Housing Authority director Michael McLaughlin. A grand jury is investigating McLaughlin for his role in fundraising for several political candidates, including Lt. Governor Murray.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Murray told WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller the McLaughlin scandal had “nothing to do” with his decision to resign.

“I will take responsibility for whatever mistakes that may have been made,” Murray said in January, “but we try to do things the right way. We always try to do that.”

At issue is whether Murray and his political committee violated state law by accepting campaign contributions raised by McLaughlin.

In a filing late last year with the Attorney General’s office, the Office of Campaign and Political Finance said there was evidence that between 2008 and 2011 McLaughlin and another former housing authority official violated campaign finance laws that prohibit political fundraising by public employees and political fundraising in public buildings.

The WBZ-TV iTeam reported in February that despite not running for governor, Murray was continuing his own political fundraising. He told the iTeam the money could be used for his legal defense fund.

In 2011, Murray was apparently asleep at the wheel, driving more than 100 mph when he crashed his car on I-190 in Sterling.

The car’s data recorder, which captured data 20 seconds before the crash and five seconds after impact, showed Murray’s state-issued vehicle was going in a straight line and he never hit the brakes.

Reaction From State House

The sudden resignation of Lt. Governor Tim Murray had the statehouse buzzing. Many lawmakers say they weren’t surprised since Murray had already announced earlier this year he would no longer be running for governor.

While Murray says his political woes did not influence his decision, some believe he was looking for a graceful exit. “It’s not surprising he wants an exit strategy,” said Republican state senator Robert Hedlund. “He had problems that made it clear he did not have an immediate political future.”

But Murray was looking for a new opportunity and says when the Worcester Chamber of Commerce contacted him back in March, he wanted to make the move rather than risk losing the job.

“He’s not independently wealthy, he obviously needs a job,” said former State Representative Vincent Padrone who served alongside Murray in the House. “This is a real opportunity not just for him personally and his family, but even better for Worcester.”

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports

Murray filled his portfolio, and got high marks, as the Governor’s liaison to local communities, promoting such issues as economic development and transportation. He also made veterans’ affairs a top priority.

“He can use his experience of the last six years to benefit Worcester and businesses,” said State Senator Michael Moore, a Worcester democrat.

As for his political future, State Senator Brian Joyce says don’t count him out since he believes Murray is “talented, popular, and a very likeable person.”

But he leaves as the Attorney General continues to investigate whether he violated campaign finance laws in his relationship with former Chelsea housing director Michael McLaughlin.

“I’m not sure leaving now for a new post wipes the slate clean for the administration. The issues will continue to be discussed and explored,” said Republican House minority leader Brad Jones.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report.

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