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Feeney resigns from City Council, may be in line for city clerk

Maureen E. Feeney, shown during a City Council meeting last year.

John Blanding/Globe Staff

Maureen Feeney, shown during a City Council meeting last year.

Boston City Councilor Maureen Feeney quietly resigned last week after 17 years in office, submitting a letter to the city clerk’s office that ended her tenure with two months left in her term.

Feeney’s resignation took effect at 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the letter. When she announced in April she would not seek a ninth term, Feeney said she planned to complete her current term, which runs through Dec. 31.

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The Dorchester native did not immediately respond to a phone message this morning seeking comment. Some of Feeney’s City Council colleagues were not aware this morning that Feeney had resigned.

Her resignation is not a surprise because Feeney has long been considered next in line for the job of city clerk, a post appointed by the council and often filled with its former members.

State ethics law requires that Feeney leave the council for a minimum of 30 days before her former colleagues elect her city clerk.

The current city clerk, Rosaria Salerno, declined this morning to comment or discuss her plans.

Salerno, who is in her mid-70s, has held the position since 1995 but does not have a defined term. When Salerno was up for reappointment to another three-year term in February 2010, the council took no action.

Salerno has talked about retiring in February 2012.

Feeney has held the District 3 City Council seat since 1993, representing a diverse swath of the city that includes much of Dorchester. Feeney won the job from City Councilor James E. Byrne. Feeney worked in his office before succeeding him.

Feeney rose to City Council president in 2007 and kept the job for two years, making her the longest-serving woman to hold the leadership post. When Feeney announced in April she would not run for reelection, a throng of candidates battled for her seat. Feeney campaigned aggressively on behalf of one candidate, John K. O’Toole.

O’Toole advanced to last week’s final election last week but lost to Frank Baker. The defeat was a rebuke to Feeney and the political organization of Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Baker will take office in January.

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