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July 07. 2013 6:11PM

Danville selectmen petition to have member dismissed

BRENTWOOD — The Danville Board of Selectmen has filed a petition asking a judge to dismiss embattled Selectman Russell Harding from his elected position for allegedly violating ethics and his oath of office.

The petition submitted last week seeks a closed-door session with a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to present the selectmen’s case against Harding.

According to their petition, selectmen accuse Harding of bringing “nonpublic material, personnel and private information into a public forum.”

Selectmen cite a state law that gives the court the power to dismiss a town official who violates the oath of office.

The petition does not provide specifics on the information that Harding is accused of using publicly. The petition alleges he violated his oath of office by “risking exposure to the town” by reckless action. The petition also accuses Harding of engaging in reckless action for personal gain and risking damage to the “reputation and harm of town employees.”

The petition comes just a few weeks after Harding, 36, of 23 Coburn Hill Road, pleaded guilty to assaulting a 13-year-old boy by the back of the neck during a town movie night at Day Field last August.

After entering his guilty plea to the simple assault charge, Class A misdemeanor, Harding was fined and given a suspended 60-day sentence in the Rockingham County jail. He was also ordered to stay away from the teenager and his family, receive an anger management evaluation and perform community service.

Following his arrest by State Police last September, selectmen asked Harding to resign, but he refused.

Selectmen are not able to remove him from office because he is an elected official.

Harding could not be reached for comment.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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