On Tuesday a months-long investigation into two of Franklin County’s top law enforcement officers is set to begin.
House Speaker Jill Krowinski announced the seven members of the special committee on impeachment last week, and they will start to iron out how they will proceed with the information in the unique cases of Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore and State’s Attorney John Lavoie.
The committee’s meeting on Tuesday is the next step in the impeachment process for Grismore and Lavoie, who have resisted calls that they resign their positions. Committee chair Martin Lalonde, D-South Burlington, said the rules guiding the committee will be the first order of business.
“We’ll talk about the subpoenaing process, how and when executive session would be triggered, confidentiality of documents and how we will proceed with testimony,” Lalonde said.
In an August video, Grismore — then a captain — appeared to kick a detainee in custody. An investigation found that Lavoie routinely making crude and profane comments about coworkers and their families. .
In an interview last week, Grismore questioned the fairness of the committee. He said two members, who represent Franklin County, asked him to drop out of the race before he was elected. Those two were House Government Operations Chair Mike McCarthy, D-St. Albans, and Rep. Carolyn Branagan, R-Georgia.
“There is more to be heard,” Grismore said. “I’ve been treated guilty largely and by the politicians of this county.”
Krowinski said the committee will be gathering the evidence and taking testimony.
“This committee has to go through a very thorough process,” she said. “They’re going to be hearing from witnesses, they’re going to be setting up rules and procedures, and even bringing in their own special investigator.”
Hearings are set to begin this summer. The committee will ultimately decide whether to recommend a House to impeach. A two-thirds vote in favor would push the discussion to the Senate, which will make a final determination.
Lalonde said the committee is determined to restore the trust of Franklin County residents in their elected officials. Krowinski said the House will propose a constitutional amendment next year making it easier to hold sheriffs and state’s attorneys accountable.