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January 16. 2014 12:09AM

Court declines to reinstate Nashua Historical Society president

NASHUA — For the time being, the Nashua Historical Society will continue operating with an interim president after a local judge denied a motion to immediately reinstate the group’s ousted leader.

Terry Romano, 82, former president of the Nashua Historical Society, previously filed a motion at Hillsborough County Superior Court seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief directing the society to reinstate her as head of the group.

However, Judge Diane Nicolosi recently denied the preliminary injunction, and is asking both parties involved to further elaborate on whether the court should continue to intervene in the dispute.

“The alleged harm does not appear to be sufficient to overcome the general rule that a court will not interfere with the internal affairs of a private society,” says Nicolosi’s ruling. The only harm mentioned in the petition is that the former president of the Nashua Historical Society is now prevented from performing the duties of the office that she was elected to serve, Nicolosi explained in her ruling.

“This threat is not significant enough to warrant a temporary injunction,” she added.

According to court documents, Romano was elected to serve a two-year term as president of the organization in May 2012. Following several disputes with the society’s Board of Directors, however, the board held an executive session on April 9, 2013, and voted to remove Romano as president.

Cecil Renzi is now serving as interim president of the group.Romano, along with some members of the Nashua Historical Society, argue that the board lacked authority under the bylaws of the organization to remove Romano as president, says court records.Still, Renzi and the Nashua Historical Society maintain that a supermajority of the board has authority to remove a president. Each side claims Robert’s Rules of Order are in their favor, and are asking the court to determine the validity of the board’s action.

Nicolosi, however, contends that the Robert’s Rules of Order issue does not need to be determined this early in the proceedings, as a threat of irreparable harm has not been demonstrated.

If there was any harm, it is not irreparable, Nicolosi said in her ruling.

“At the next annual meeting, the members may change the bylaws to clarify and/or strengthen the removal process, and may also re-elect Romano to the president position if they feel her removal was improper,” she wrote.

Romano and her attorney have until Friday to notify the court of their interest to proceed with the matter.

Attorney Kevin Devine, legal representative for the historical society, said previously that the board has authority to make decisions about managing the organization, including whether to remove an elected officer.

Attorney Francis Murphy, legal counsel for Romano, said earlier that Romano was improperly removed from office in the wake of escalating conflicts over how to manage the organization.khoughton@newstote.com


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