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August 25. 2013 9:19PM

Search on for new Danville selectman

DANVILLE — The search has begun to find a replacement for former selectman Russell Harding, who resigned this week after missing several recent board meetings.

After receiving Harding’s letter of resignation on Tuesday, selectmen wasted no time posting the opening at the town hall and on the town’s website.

The resignation came as selectmen were trying to get a judge to remove Harding from the board for allegedly violating ethics and his oath of office.

The latest effort to force Harding off the board followed other attempts made by selectmen, who asked him to resign last fall when he was charged with physically assaulting a 13-year-old boy at a town movie night.

In his letter of resignation, Harding made no mention of the assault — to which he pleaded guilty in June — or the ethics and oath of office allegations after selectmen said he brought non-public information into a public forum.

Harding, whose three-year term is up in March, said he was quitting the board because of other commitments.

“Because of my increasing responsibilities outside of town, the time I have to commit to the people of Danville has diminished considerably and it’s not fair to the people of Danville that I can’t continue to give them the time and commitment that they deserve,” he wrote in the letter dated Aug. 19.

Harding also acknowledged his absence from the board.

“Having missed a number of meetings because of time commitments and not seeing my schedule freeing up anytime soon, it’s important for me to feel that the people of this town have the opportunity to have someone that has the time and energy to give back to the community,” he wrote.

Selectman Shawn O’Neil, board chairman, said Harding had not attended a board meeting since selectmen filed a petition in Rockingham County Superior Court at the end of June asking a judge to dismiss Harding over alleged ethics and oath of office violations.

Harding denied the allegations and earlier this month asked a judge to dismiss the case.

Selectmen did not have the authority to remove Harding themselves because he was an elected official.With Harding’s position now vacant, selectmen have asked any residents interested in serving on the board to submit a letter of interest by Sept. 4. Interviews are expected to begin on Sept. 9.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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