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Legislature’s technology chief to be replaced

The Legislature’s technology chief, who came under fire Monday for his large paycheck and failure to pay his federal taxes, will be soon be replaced.

The Legislature does not plan to renew its contract with Edward S. Bell — who earned more than $1.1 million in fees since 2010 — when it expires Aug. 16, according to legislative staff familiar with the situation who were not authorized to speak on the record.

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The staff members said a current technology employee, Paul Pak, is slated to replace Bell as interim chief information officer next month. Pak currently earns an annual salary of $125,000, according to state payroll records. It is unclear if he will receive a raise.

By comparison, Bell earned $286,000 last year as an outside contractor, double the pay for the state’s chief information officer, John Letchford. such officials nationwide earn an average of $134,000, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

Bell, who lives in Beverly, has served as interim chief information officer for the Senate and House since 2009, overseeing projects to revamp the Legislature’s website and other initiatives. He also has his own business, 3S Con Inc.

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As the Globe and others reported Monday, the Internal Revenue Service filed liens last year against Bell and his wife, totaling $145,962 for the 2010 and 2011 tax years, according to filings with the Southern Essex County Registry of Deeds.

Bell said Monday he worked out a payment plan with the IRS earlier this year to pay his 2010 and 2011 taxes, has paid his 2012 taxes, and is current on his 2013 taxes. However, the IRS does not typically remove liens until they are fully paid.

Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo declined to answer questions Monday about Bell’s hiring, pay level, or tax problems. But they did issue a joint statement Monday saying the legislative technology projects, including the website redesign, were a top priority.

Todd Wallack can be reached at
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