Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

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Should Selectman Russ Harding Resign?

Yes
10
53%
No
8
42%
Undecided
1
5%
 
Total votes : 19

Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby curt » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:17 am

September 19, 2012
Danville selectman still refuses to resign

By Doug Ireland direland@eagletribune.com

DANVILLE — Selectman

Russell Harding, charged with assaulting a teenage boy, has again refused to resign.

Fellow selectmen censured Harding at their meeting Monday night, seeking his resignation for the second time since his confrontation with the teenager Aug. 18 during the town’s Movie Night.

Harding, 35, faces two counts of simple assault, both misdemeanors, for allegedly shoving the boy and grabbing him by the neck and pushing his head against a table. Harding turned himself in to state police Sept. 6 and was released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail. He is to be arraigned Sept. 24 in Circuit Court in Plaistow.

Harding gave a simple “no” without further explanation when asked Monday if he would resign, Selectmen’s Chairman Shawn O’Neil said. The rest of the board also asked him to resign Sept. 4.

Harding admits pushing the teenager, but nothing more. He has refused to comment on the incident since his arrest. The confrontation occurred when Harding thought the teen was damaging the town’s movie equipment.

Under state law, a public official can only be removed from office if convicted of a felony, according to New Hampshire Local Government Center spokeswoman Laura Simoes.
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby curt » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:33 pm

The 9/4/12 selectmen minutes wrote:I. Delegate – Selectman Russ Harding
Speaking from the audience Selectman Harding asked to address the Board concerning his response to the previous Board of Selectmen’s meeting and asked if he could have a few moments to explain himself. He outlined his involvement with movie night and said he had worked with Chief Parsons and others to set up, tear down, and work in the Snack Shack, arriving first and leaving last for each event held. He stated that the movie had been postponed due to weather on August 3 and August 11, and he did not want to see it postponed again. He had been out of town all day and when came within range, discovered that movie night was posted as postponed in the morning as Selectman Harding stated he checked three different weather sources and there was no inclement weather. He stated he looked at his involvement as a committee and once he found out the event was postponed, he began texting back and forth with Chief Parsons, ending with Chief Parsons suggesting he contact Recreation. He stated he contacted Recreation, said the event was still doable, and contacted Michelle Cooper for keys to the Community Center, van, and Snack Shack. He stated that two recreation members and a resident showed up to help after he decided to hold movie night. Selectman Harding stated he was afraid the public would lose faith in the event; nearly $5000.00 was spent. He was concerned about the equipment which has been wet due to condensation and he couldn’t “square it in his own head because it wasn’t raining.”
Chairman O’Neil stated that Selectman Harding has done a really good job and no one questions his devotion and the job he has done and Vice-chair Giordano added that Selectman Harding was an asset to the Board. It was stated that Selectman Harding made poor decisions that night and to tell the BOS and viewers what happened. Selectman Harding stated there was an incident when he was taking down the equipment. He had gone over to Mayo’s Market to cancel the event due to no one showing and when he came back so someone standing by the equipment and he put himself between the equipment the person who he then said was a teenager. He stated “I touched him. Should I have, no. I should not have touched him but he was messing with the equipment. I don’t know what is being done about that. I am not going to resign.” He stated he would not be attending this meeting.
Danville BOS 9/5/12; Approved 9/18/12
Page 2 of 3
Selectman Cooper stated that Chief Parsons coordinated this event, presented it to the Board, and with Recreation is responsible for the event. It was posted all day long that it was postponed. She stated that if you were an average Joe, you would not have been able to get keys and hold the event. As a Selectman, you pushed the issue, even after Chief Parsons asked you not to hold the event and that after having cancelled the event, it would embarrass him if you went ahead with it. Selectman Inman stated that Selectman Harding was relentless in his texts to the Chief and made one very poor decision that resulted in several more bad decisions. She also stated that Selectman Harding’s thought of “one person should not be making the sole decision to postpone the even” works both ways and he had no right to be the one person deciding to hold the event. Chairman O’Neil stated that there was more going on than was obvious and Selectmen Harding’s actions that night were more serious. Selectman Harding responded “that was unfortunate.” Vice-chair Giordano stated “you need to stop.” Selectmen Harding stated his official response was no, he would not resign from the Board. He stated he was not attending tonight’s meeting.
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby SBinRockrimmon » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:01 pm

A dead heat.....I would love for some of the supporters to chime in. I can't help but wonder if they'd feel the same way if it were their child. I wonder if they will still support Russ if the property tax increases to defend a lawsuit or settlement. I wonder if the support will still be there when he is due for reelection.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. - Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. - Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby Rob C » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:18 pm

SBinRockrimmon wrote:I wonder if they will still support Russ if the property tax increases to defend a lawsuit or settlement.

How would there be a lawsuit against the town from this?
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby SBinRockrimmon » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:49 pm

Rob C wrote:
SBinRockrimmon wrote:I wonder if they will still support Russ if the property tax increases to defend a lawsuit or settlement.

How would there be a lawsuit against the town from this?


In today's world you can sue anyone for any reason, granted a win is not guaranteed, but even if you win the legal defense still costs. Even if Russ was not acting as a member of the BOS at the time of the movie event he was acting as an agent of the town by running the event. A very real argument could be made that the town did not provide a safe environment for what was supposed to be a family night. Typically to be awarded a settlement you have to show some type of damages, but I suspect a claim of emotional distress would not be difficult to ascertain for a 13 year old child. What if this child has suddenly developed an unhealthy fear of strangers, or people of authority? What if the kids grades suddenly fall off. I realize this may not pass the common sense sniff test, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the right daytime TV lawyer would be willing to take the case. Or perhaps a new attorney looking to make a name for him/herself. This argument will only become stronger if Russ is found to be ANYTHING other than "not guilty"Keep in mind we live in a time where a woman can get a large settlement for spilling hot coffee on herself. A quick online search for "frivolous lawsuits" would make a lawsuit for this incident look very warranted.

I'm not sure anyone (other than the child's family) has taken into account how this child felt about this. If the accusations are true I have to imagine a 13 year old child would be pretty upset and shaken up by being attacked by some random man.

I will openly admit that I have a disdain for anyone that would assault a child, the elderly or handicapped. I still believe with the sole exception of self defense you should not put your hands on another person, period. I find it even more disgusting for someone to assault a person that's not capable of defending themselves.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. - Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. - Thomas Jefferson

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. - Benjamin Franklin
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby curt » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:34 pm

I agree there could be a lawsuit but I don't see the connection with Russ resigning or not. Whatever happened, happened, and Russ resigning won't undo it. The town will be just as susceptible to a lawsuit if he resigns as if he does not.

It would be a different matter if an understanding were reached with the parents that no lawsuit would be filed if Russ were to resign.

I wonder if this would be covered by the town's liability insurance, and, if so, what is the deductible? The only reason I question coverage is that we were not covered for the Marie Hill malicious prosecution verdict.
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby SBinRockrimmon » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:11 pm

Curt - I agree, but my concern would be for future liability. Should the town risk whether or not he may do something else, I have real concerns that he couldn't restrain himself this time. Common sense would dictate that Russ knew such actions were unacceptable, yet he ignored reasonable thought and reacted instead of thinking.

Aside from that I don't really see how he can be very effective when he has lost respect from the rest of the board members.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. - Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. - Thomas Jefferson

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. - Benjamin Franklin
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby Thundergirl » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:37 pm

Keep in mind we live in a time where a woman can get a large settlement for spilling hot coffee on herself.

Not to get off topic but this poor woman (now deceased) and her family has been denigrated enough over the hot coffee lawsuit.
http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm
http://www.hotcoffeethemovie.com/Default.asp

There are too many frivolous lawsuits but this wasn't one of them.
"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." - Wimpy
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby SBinRockrimmon » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:13 pm

I notice that Russ has been absent from the past two BOS meetings. I can't help but wonder why the refusal to step down yet not show up to the meetings.
Last edited by SBinRockrimmon on Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. - Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. - Thomas Jefferson

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. - Benjamin Franklin
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby ebakenoza » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:15 pm

listening to legal advice? probably have to not say anything until after case is settled
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby SBinRockrimmon » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:01 am

ebakenoza wrote:listening to legal advice? probably have to not say anything until after case is settled


I suppose, but all the more reason to step down and run again come election time. Perhaps his attorney advised that stepping down would be a form of admission, but I really can't imagine that doing so would hinder the case.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. - Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. - Thomas Jefferson

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. - Benjamin Franklin
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby michelle_oneil » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:30 am

Where's Russ?

He won't resign, but he hasn't shown up to the last 3 meetings.
Looks like we may wind up with a no show selectman until his term is up in 2014.
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Danville selectman takes leave of absence

Postby curt » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:32 pm

November 16, 2012
Danville selectman takes leave of absence

By Doug Ireland direland@eagletribune

DANVILLE — Two months after he was censured by his colleagues, Selectman Russell Harding is taking a leave of absence.

Harding has not attended the board’s weekly meetings since mid-September, shortly after he was charged with assaulting a teenage boy, Selectmen’s Chairman Shawn O’Neil said.

Harding notified selectmen last week that he was taking an unpaid of leave of absence while he deals with his legal issues, O’Neil said.

He was asked by the board to resign, but refused. Harding was charged with allegedly grabbing the boy by the neck and pushing his head against a table.

“He never gave any indication he wasn’t going to attend,” O’Neil said. “He just didn’t show up.”

Selectmen receive $250 a month. Harding has continued to be paid, even though he has not fulfilled his duties, O’Neil said.

O’Neil said he read a letter from Harding at the board’s meeting last week.

“Until this situation reaches a decision, I feel that my presence on the board of selectmen, or an unqualified absence, is a distraction to the town,” Harding wrote. “For that reason, I will continue to sit out meetings until a resolution has been arrived at.”

Harding also said in the letter he would not return until after Dec. 31 or when his court case was resolved, whichever came first.

But his trial in 10th Circuit in Plaistow on two misdemeanor assault charges has since been scheduled for February.

Harding could not be reached for comment yesterday.

He has refused to speak about the case since turning himself in to state police on a warrant Sept. 6.

The arrest stems from a confrontation with the teen Aug. 18 during the town’s Movie Night. Harding admitted pushing the teen, but nothing more after he thought the unidentified boy was damaging the town’s movie equipment.

Selectmen asked him to resign twice, but he refused.

O’Neil and other selectmen have said Harding should step down because he is creating a distraction. A replacement would be appointed to serve the remainder of his term, which ends in March 2014, O’Neil said.
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby curt » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:57 pm

I think Russ should either show up and do the job, or resign.

If he resigned, he would have the option of running for the remaining year of his term in March.
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Re: Russ Harding asked to resign from BOS

Postby shawn_oneil » Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:14 pm

curt wrote:I think Russ should either show up and do the job, or resign.

If he resigned, he would have the option of running for the remaining year of his term in March.


I would like him to resign so that someone can run for the position come March. He has lost the respect and support of the Board. Do you realize that a Selectmen could win election, take the oath of office, and not show up to another meeting for 3 years of their term, and the people cannot do anything? There is no recall process and there is no mean to petition the court either. I think the Legislature should put some procedures in place. They do for other elected positions such as Town Clerk, Tax Collector, and Treasurer.
Shawn O'Neil


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