Dauphin County D.A.’s office expected to file motion to remove Harrisburg School Board member

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A newly elected member to the Harrisburg School Board takes office Monday night, but her length of service could be short-lived.

Carrie Fowler's eligibility to hold that seat may be challenged by the Dauphin County District Attorney's office.

It's not the first stumbling block Fowler faced while on the campaign trail.

Earlier this year,  one of Fowler's Democratic opponents called her eligibility to run in question, alleging she hadn't signed all of her candidate petitions correctly.

Fowler not only won that challenge, but an appeal to the court's ruling in her favor. As she took office Monday, yet another challenge could be on the way.

Taking her place on the Harrisburg School Board is the moment Fowler has been waiting for, but now her ability to serve has been called into question.

"They still voted me in for office. I've been very candid, very open about my past, and very honest with them. The voters didn't see that as a weakness, they saw it as a strength, and they voted me into office," Fowler said.

Fowler said she has a past conviction for receiving stolen property. Richard Soto, Fowler's Democratic opponent during the primary has a past of his own, having served eight years in prison for a drug conviction back in 2005. He believes Fowler's past also has caught up with her.

"I'm just going by what the D.A. told me, that if I would have been sworn in, and been elected, that he was going to arrest me. That's the main issue. The main issue is, why did she deceive our people in the community," Soto said.

"I received a fine. I paid the fine, and I moved on with my life. Never in a million years did I think that that would ever prohibit me from being able to serve as an elected official," Fowler said.

"What would I like to happen next? To remove her from the school board, because I don't think she has the best interest of our kids and our district," Soto said.

Now that Fowler has taken office, the D.A.'s office is expected to do just that, as it plans to file a motion to remove her from the school board. The Dauphin County District Attorney's office said it received a complaint about Fowler's eligibility the day before the election, and gave her the chance to resign in advance.

"I have a lot of respect for our district attorneys, for Fran Chardo. I understand that he is doing his job, just like I have to do my job. He's doing his job. Now it goes to the courts. It goes to Judge Lewis, and Judge Lewis will get to make the decision," Fowler said.

Monday night's school board meeting was filled with a few other twists and turns as it came to a halt after one member refused to vote for a new president.

Eventually, that member gave the tie-breaking vote to elect a new board president.

As far as the issue with Fowler is concerned, the Dauphin County D.A.'s office may file that motion to remover her from office as early as Tuesday.