EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 29, 2014

Suspended county attorney invited to budget meeting

Delegation asks suspended attorney to speak

BRENTWOOD — Interim Rockingham County Attorney James Boffetti thought nothing of it Saturday when he received an email saying the budget meeting he was to attend at his office Monday morning was canceled.

What he didn’t learn until Monday afternoon was that the meeting actually was held. The meeting was moved to the county complex and he wasn’t invited, but suspended County Attorney James Reams was.

“I thought there was an illness or something and it had to be rescheduled,” Boffetti said yesterday.

But Rep. Kenneth Weyler, R-Kingston, vice chairman of the county legislative delegation’s executive committee, said he didn’t think a temporary county official should be handling the office’s fiscal year budget.

He consulted with other committee members, including clerk and Rep. Kevin Waterhouse, R-Windham. Weyler said he then directed a staff member to notify Boffetti not to come and asked that Reams, who faces sexual harassment and other allegations, show up. Weyler also changed the meeting venue Friday.

“Why would we turn to a temporary person to do the budget for the whole year?” Weyler said. “He may not be allowed to do prosecutions, but he hasn’t been reprised of the position he was elected to do. It seemed to me Jim Reams should be invited. ... I have no regrets.”

Boffetti, a senior assistant attorney general, has been filling in since Reams’ prosecutorial authority was revoked by Attorney General Joseph Foster in November.

Reams was suspended by county commissioners amid allegations of management and operational issues within the office. Later, the 15-year county attorney found himself defending his reputation against allegations of sexual harassment and improper diversion of county funds.

“I can tell you I didn’t touch any woman sexually in that office or any other place,” Reams said last month. “I think there are agendas at work here. It’s clearly to make me unelectable.”

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