Pressure for Dawson to vacate his seat has been building since his arrest on suspicion of spousal abuse and child endangerment after Sheriff’s deputies responded to a disturbance at the Dawson home on Aug. 27. Free on $20,000 bail, Dawson will face misdemeanor charges at his arraignment on Oct. 31.
At last week’s CSD meeting, resident Jeff Barber repeated his call for Dawson’s resignation, or at least his removal from the school board committee.
“I think it is completely inappropriate that you have a director out of jail on bail being charged by the district attorney for violence against his family, including child endangerment,” Barber said at the meeting. “I don’t believe that individual should be representing this board anywhere or anyplace and I think you should remove that director at your earliest convenience, tonight if possible, from any active representation on this board … I think it is completely wrong, especially anything to do with children, given the charges against the individual.”
Contacted by phone on Tuesday, Dawson declined to comment on Barber’s demand. Later, however, he sent The Press a copy of a one-sentence e-mail he had sent to his fellow board members Monday.
“Gentlemen,” the e-mail read, “due to a scheduling conflict, I have asked Director Steele to attend school board meetings for me for the indefinite future.” No further details were offered.
Steele, the alternate on the school district committee, agreed to take over for Dawson. “I am happy to step up and take over that representation,” said Steele. “And I’m looking forward to working with the school board directly.”
Meanwhile, CSD Director Mark Simon said Dawson should resign not only from the school district committee but the CSD board as well: “I believe that Brian should have stepped down immediately from the school board committee, although I don’t believe for a minute that he is a threat to children, but because he is a distraction to the board. His conduct has become the center of attention and I have an issue with that … I still maintain that he should resign from the (CSD) board.”
Director Ray Tetreault, who previously called for Dawson’s resignation, also continues to believe the vice president should step down. “It’s about perception,” said Tetreault. “The whole thing is unfortunate but the town shouldn’t have to deal with any of it. I stand with my previous comment that he should do the right thing (and resign).”
Dawson was arrested after the Aug. 27 incident during which his wife, Jessica, sustained bruises but did not on require hospitalization. If convicted, he could face up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine for each of the misdemeanor counts.
State law dictates that a CSD board member is required to resign only if convicted of a felony. Dawson, who said he has a history of bipolar disorder, has previously admitted that the altercation took place, which he said was due to his being off medications he could not afford. He has since said he is back on his medications and doing fine, and that he would therefore not resign.