"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NH House Rep. Glenn Cordelli Draft Proposed Legislation Addressing Removal of Planning Board Members

Following is from NH House Rep. Glenn Cordelli.

Last year there was a divisive attempt to remove two members of the Planning Board. Aside from the reasons for the attempt, the state statutes were a contributing factor to the problems caused in the community. The current state statutes poorly define the potential reasons for removal and the process to be followed.
I have filed legislation to correct this situation. I hope there will be support from Moultonborough next year during hearings.
The bill does one more thing. It repeals another section of our statutes that says the selectmen can remove the town treasurer, clerk or tax collector if they believe that person has become insane.

The draft bill text is:
1 Local Land Use Boards. Amend RSA 673.13 to read as follows:
673:13 Removal of Members. The governing body may institute proceedings to remove the elected or appointed land use board member from office for incompetency, malfeasance in office, or permanent inability to perform official duties.

For the purposes of this section, "incompetency" means: gross ignorance of official duties; gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties; or unfitness or inability to promptly and properly discharge official duties because of a serious physical or mental defect as documented by a licensed physician that did not exist at the time of the officer's election; “malfeasance” means: intentional conduct that is wrongful or unlawful, especially by officials or public employees which is at a higher level of wrongdoing than nonfeasance (failure to act where there was a duty to act) or misfeasance (conduct that is lawful but inappropriate).

The governing body may institute proceedings to remove the elected or appointed land use board member as follows:
    I. The governing body shall notify the elected or appointed land use board member by certified mail with return receipt and the Town Clerk of its intention to proceed under this section by providing a written explanation and justification for the removal.
    II. (a) Within 20 days of receiving the notification provided in paragraph I, the elected or appointed land use board member shall respond. The response shall be submitted to the governing body and the Town Clerk and shall include written comment on removal reason cited by the governing board..
       (b) If the elected or appointed land use board member fails to respond at any step in the process under this section within the prescribed period of time, then the governing body shall be permitted to remove the elected or appointed land use board member from office as provided in paragraph V.
    III. Within 20 days of receiving the elected or appointed land use board member's written response, the governing body shall provide written notification to the elected or appointed land use board member and Town Clerk of its decision to proceed or not to proceed to remove the elected or appointed land use board member from office.
    IV. Within 10 days of receiving the written notification in paragraph III, the elected or appointed land use board member may request a public hearing before the governing body. If a hearing before the governing body is requested, it shall be:
       (a) Conducted in accordance with RSA 91-A; and
       (b) Held within 20 days of the date of the request.
    V. After the elected or appointed land use board member's response and hearing, if any, and if the governing body determines that removal of the elected or appointed land use board member is justified, the governing body may remove the elected or appointed land use board member and the Town Clerk by written notification by certified mail with return receipt. Any vacancy created by such a removal shall be filled by appointment by the governing body as provided in RSA 669:69.
    VI. The governing body's determination under paragraph V may be appealed de novo to the superior court in the county in which the municipality is located.
    VII. If the elected or appointed land use board member’s removal is found to not be justified at any point in the proceedings, the governing body shall be responsible for any legal fees of the member.

2  Repeal 41:12 Removal of Collector, Clerk, or Treasurer.


If you have any questions, please see my web site: www.CordelliforNH.com or contact me at: glenn.cordelli@leg.state.nh.us.



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too little and way to late for a town fix here.

But, what about two BOS already there ?

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

Keep up the great work Rep. Cordelli!

Another consideration for removal of all town elected (not appointed) officials.

Require the governing body to warrant a "special town meeting", cf. RSA Chapter 39, to vote on removal by the legislative body.

Rationale: It is the legislative body that elected, then provide for the legislative body to remove!

In conjunction, consider deleting appeal to Superior Court, "de novo" or "standard of review".



Josh Bartlett said...

Thank you, Glenn, for your efforts to make government work better.
I certainly hope this passes in this form.