Neil Kinnon, who has been a lightning rod for controversy as chairman of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School Board of Trustees and as a Malden city councilor, resigned his council post Thursday.
The charter school, which is located in Malden, attracted international attention in May over a policy that punished primary black students for wearing hair braid extensions. The Board of Trustees suspended the policy after Attorney General Maura Healey said it was unlawful.
Kinnon’s Facebook posts also have been controversial, including one from his City Council account last fall dismissing multiculturalism as “nothing but a con by the rich and those who want to take down this Country by selling out the future of our children.”
In a letter to Malden City Council President Peg Crowe sent Thursday, a copy of which Crowe supplied to the Globe, Kinnon, who has been on the council for 10 years, tendered his immediate resignation, citing obligations to his four children.
But Crowe, and another city councilor, Ryan O’Malley, said it appears Kinnon resigned so he can become the city’s next chief financial officer.
Crowe, who earlier last week criticized O’Malley for raising the possibility of Kinnon’s candidacy for the CFO job, said she now has little doubt about Kinnon’s intentions.
“I guess the rumors are true,” Crowe said. “I really didn’t think he even applied.”
Kinnon did not return calls seeking comment.
The timing of Kinnon’s resignation was a red flag for O’Malley, who recently sought guidance from the state Ethics Commission regarding city councilors applying for municipal positions that are overseen by the City Council, such as CFO.
“I think it’s pretty clear what’s happening,” O’Malley said Friday. “I’m concerned that the [hiring] decision is already made in a backroom deal.”
At a City Council meeting Tuesday, O’Malley said he was blocked from reading into the record a letter from the Ethics Commission he received addressing his questions.
O’Malley said the Ethics Commission told him a city councilor may be appointed to a municipal position 30 days after leaving the legislative body. That individual may serve on the City Council again if he or she wins a seat in the next election, but may not participate in any decisions related to the department in which he or she is employed.
O’Malley said a three-person search committee that includes two members of the City Council, Jadeane Sica and Craig Spadafora, along with city controller Charles Ranaghan, received more than 70 applications to become the city treasurer or CFO, depending on qualifications. Compensation for treasurer went up to $111,638 annually, and ranged from $120,394 to $132,903 for CFO, according to an advertisement for the job.
None of the search committee members responded to calls from the Globe.
Kinnon is currently director of Financial Systems North America at Iron Mountain, which provides secure offsite records storage. He has a bachelor’s degree from UMass Lowell and a master’s degree in finance from Bentley College.
Sean Teehan can be reached at email@example.com .