Pajala to sit on House impeachment inquiry panel

State Rep. Kelly Pajala of Londonderry.

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2023 Telegraph Publishing LLC

State Rep. Kelly Pajala of Londonderry is one of seven House members who were appointed to a special committee concerning the impeachment inquiry to “investigate the conduct and potential wrongdoing of Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore and State’s Attorney John Lavoie, according to a press release from the office of Speaker Jill Krowinski today.

Pajala, the town clerk in Londonderry, represents the Windham-Bennington-Windsor District comprised of Weston, Andover, Londonderry and Winhall.

In November, Grismore was elected Franklin County sheriff despite being charged with kicking a shackled prisoner while he was a captain in that office and being fired by outgoing Sheriff Roger Langevin last August. He has refused to step down and the only avenue for removing him from office is impeachment by the legislature.

In May, the Executive Committee of State’s Attorneys formally requested that Franklin County State’s Attorney John Lavoie resign “based on the findings of an investigation that substantiated a pattern of harassment and discriminatory conduct directed at employees and other individuals.”

According to a May 2 press release, the Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs had informed the leadership of the Vermont General Assembly of the results of the investigation and the department has requested that the House of Representatives consider impeachment proceedings.

“The committee will diligently review all relevant evidence, interview witnesses, and carefully assess the allegations against Sheriff Grismore and State’s Attorney Lavoie. Their primary objective is to ensure justice and maintain the public’s trust in the legal institutions that serve the people of Franklin County and the entire state of Vermont, Krowinski’s press release stated.

“It is imperative to note that the Special Committee on Impeachment Inquiry operates independently from other branches of government and will conduct its proceedings under established protocols and laws. This approach ensures the protection of all individuals’ rights while maintaining the highest standards of accountability,” she concluded.

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