Rockingham County delegates shocked by probe of attorney
Rockingham County Attorney James Reams has been temporarily suspended from duties as a state and federal probe investigate managerial and operational issues at his office. JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE PHOTO
Waterhouse is among the 90-member county delegation waiting to see what further details will be made public in the wake of the removal of Reams, the longtime county attorney, and Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid late Wednesday. While Reams was suspended, Reid was placed on paid leave, along with a victim-witness advocate.
A complaint by a former employee set off the investigation, leading the FBI to interview several former and current employees who also worked under Reams and Reid.
"It struck me by surprise. I didn't know anything that was going on," state Rep. Bob Fesh, R-Derry, said on Friday. "Apparently, they have evidence."
Fesh said he is concerned about the integrity and credibility of Reams' office, but said it makes no sense, since the county attorney's office has operated "for 15 years with no problems."
State Rep. Norm Major, R-Plaistow, who chairs the county delegation, said he was "shocked and surprised" by the announcement by Foster and Kacavas.
"I have talked to the commissioners and they can't say anything right now," Major said.
On Friday, Major said he met with the delegation's clerk to review the state statutes that may be relevant if the county delegation must suddenly appoint a new top law enforcement officer.
The attorney general exercised a rarely-used collection of state laws and a 1975 state Supreme Court case to suspend Reams from his elected duties.
Reid is a county employee. County commissioners agreed to put Reid and a victim witness advocate on paid administrative leave after meeting in nonpublic session with Foster, Kacavas and the FBI on Wednesday afternoon.
"I know Jim Boffetti. You've got a very capable guy there to hold the office together," said State Rep. Gene Charron, R-Chester.
Boffetti, chief of the state's consumer protection and anti-trust bureau, will likely have to pick up on other duties Reams carried out while the investigation continues, according to several delegation members.
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