Impeachment Committee Will Start Work Next Week | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


Impeachment Committee Will Start Work Next Week


Published May 16, 2023 at 12:55 p.m.

  • Kevin McCallum
  • John Lavoie
House leaders on Tuesday announced the formation of the special seven-member committee to explore impeaching two Franklin County officials.

House Speaker Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) released the names of those serving on the Special Committee on Impeachment Inquiry. They will investigate whether to recommend impeachment of Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore and State’s Attorney John Lavoie.

An investigation released earlier this month found that Lavoie used harassing, racist and sexist language in his office. Grismore was elected sheriff in November despite having been caught on camera months earlier kicking a shackled suspect in the groin. Both have refused a growing chorus of calls for their resignations.

The committee will be chaired by Rep. Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington), an attorney and chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Mike McCarthy (D-St. Albans) will serve as vice chair. The committee members are Rep. Matt Birong (D-Vergennes), Rep. Carolyn Branagan, (R-Georgia), Rep. Tom Burditt (R-West Rutland), Rep. Karen Dolan (D-Essex Junction) and Rep. Kelly Pajala (I-Londonderry).

These legislators "bring a wealth of experience and dedication to this crucial task,” Krowinski said in a statement. “Their expertise in legislative matters, legal affairs, and commitment to upholding the integrity of Vermont’s law enforcement system will be invaluable in conducting a comprehensive and unbiased investigation."
Rep. Mike McCarthy (D-St. Albans), Rep. Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington) and House Speaker Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) - KEVIN MCCALLUM ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Kevin McCallum ©️ Seven Days
  • Rep. Mike McCarthy (D-St. Albans), Rep. Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington) and House Speaker Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington)
The independent committee will have the ability to subpoena witnesses to testify under oath and to hire investigators. It is expected to work over the summer and recommend to the full House whether impeachment is warranted.

If either officeholder is impeached by the House, which requires a two-thirds vote, the Senate would have to hold a trial and decide whether to convict, which also requires a two-thirds vote.

The panel is expected to hold its first meeting early next week.

Impeachment is rare in Vermont. No one has been removed from office through impeachment in the state since the 1700s.

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