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September 09. 2013 10:08PM

Attorney General's Office rejects Franklin petitions to remove school board chairs

FRANKLIN — The state Attorney General’s office has returned two petitions each signed by 100 Franklin residents wanting the city’s two school board chairs, Ray Yonaitis and Kathleen Russo, removed from their posts.
“This office does not have authority to take action against locally elected public officials, such as school board members,” Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice said in a letter to the city’s attorney.

“The Criminal Justice Bureau investigates allegations of criminal conduct undertaken by public officials in their official capacity.

However, none of the allegations raised against the school board members appear to rise to that level,” Rice wrote.

Two petitions brought before the city council last spring by former Franklin High School football player Derek Damour asked the council to remove Yonaitis and Russo from office given “just cause,” and both petitions requested immediate hearings. As defined by the city charter, “just cause” for removal from city office requires the committing of a felony or documented misconduct.

Petitioners claim the school boards mishandled the situation surrounding former Franklin High School football coach Greg Husband, who was not rehired by the school boards in May because of worries about sanctions to Franklin athletic programs from the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Rice said her office would take no further action.

dseufert@newstote.com


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