For Immediate Release
April 29, 2014
Ann Rice, Deputy Attorney General
On April 29, 2014, the Superior Court entered a stipulated order jointly submitted to the Court by the Attorney General and County Attorney James Reams. The Order permits Mr. Reams to return to the Rockingham County Attorney's Office pending a hearing on the Attorney General's and Rockingham County Commission's Complaint for Removal, but expressly limits and proscribes his authority to make personnel decisions. Attorney General Foster said: "From the start of this matter, an important goal of our Office was to protect employees from retaliation or other adverse employment actions arising from their cooperation in our investigation. By entering this agreement as an order, County Attorney Ream's obligation to fairly treat all of his employees is clear. The order should help guarantee discrimination and retaliation will not occur."
The order provides no hiring, firing, demotion or other adverse employment actions can be taken against any Assistant County Attorney without notice and approval of the Attorney General, or against any other employee of the Rockingham County Attorney's Office without notice to and the consent of the County Commissioners.
Earlier today representatives from the Office of the Attorney General met with the employees of the Rockingham County Attorney's Office to explain the Order and to tell them to immediately contact the Attorney General's Office if any adverse employment action takes place.
The Attorney General's investigation also revealed alleged ethical lapses. To address that concern, the Order reaffirms the Attorney General's statutory and common law supervisory authority over prosecutions in Rockingham County and expressly provides that an Assistant Attorney General can remain on site to monitor and if necessary supervise the prosecutorial operations of the Rockingham County Attorney's Office.
On March 11, 2014, the Attorney General and the Rockingham County Commissioners filed a Complaint for Removal alleging that County Attorney Reams committed acts that constitute official misconduct and warrant his removal from office. The Petition followed an investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General and the United States Attorney's Office. A hearing on the complaint is scheduled to begin August 4, 2014. Attorney General Foster said: "I have sought expedited judicial review and I am pleased the petition has now been set down for an evidentiary hearing. The matter raises important issues and a prompt resolution is in every party’s best interest."
Adobe Acrobat Reader format. You can download a free reader from Adobe.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301