Stephen Murphy may run for Register of Deeds

Boston, MA., 12/16/15, The city council paid tribute to current longest-serving councilors. At-Large City Councilor Stephen J. Murphy, in photo after acknowledging his wife, and District 4 Councilor Charles C. Yancey. during the last meeting of the year. Globe staff/Suzanne Kreiter
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
Boston City Council paid tribute to departing members Stephen Murphy, center, and Charles Yancey, not pictured, on Dec. 16, 2015.

Call it a comeback bid.

Former Boston city councilor Stephen J. Murphy has taken the first step in mounting a campaign to become the next Suffolk County register of deeds.

“I’m looking at it,” Murphy said Wednesday. “It’s a public management job. I think it would be a good fit for what I bring. Public service is a noble profession. I’ve been in it. I love it. I love people.”


Murphy recently pulled nomination papers and began to gather signatures to qualify for the ballot in September’s Democratic primary.

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The county office became vacant after Register Francis “Mickey” Roache resigned Dec. 31 after 13 years in office. The position is well-compensated: Roache was paid nearly $124,000 in 2015, according to payroll records.

Murphy served more than 18 years as an at-large city councilor, which included several years as the body’s president. The Hyde Park resident lost his seat in November after coming under fire for his work habits.

While serving on the council, Murphy ran for Suffolk County sheriff but lost. He said Wednesday that several other potential candidates for register of deeds have also pulled nomination papers.

“I’ve got to get elected and I’ve had mixed results,” Murphy said with a self-deprecating chuckle. “I’ve won some and I’ve lost some.”


The register is responsible for recording real estate transactions in Suffolk County. Since Roache’s resignation, Thomas M. Ryan has served as temporary register.

Secretary of State William Galvin has the power to appoint a new register or wait for November’s election. Galvin’s spokesman said he will not appoint Murphy to the post. Murphy’s wife works in the secretary of state’s office.

Although Murphy said he had not “made a firm decision” about running for register of deeds, the job “intrigues me.”

“It’s because it’s a public service position, a management position,” Murphy said. “I’ve run in the county before, and I have a lot people encouraging me to get back into politics everywhere I go.”

Andrew Ryan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.