- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - The chair of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board was dismissed and the agency’s executive director placed on administrative leave Wednesday in what officials would only describe as a personnel matter.

The registry maintains a data base of convicted sex offenders and classifies offenders by the danger they could pose to the public.

A spokesman for the state office of public safety confirmed that board chairwoman Saundra Edwards was relieved of duty and that executive director Jeanne Holmes placed on leave.

In a statement, Secretary of Public Safety Andrea Cabral announced that Anne Conners, an investigator for the state Department of Early Education and Care, would replace Edwards as the board’s chair.

Conners has worked with the board in the past, understands the criminal justice system and will “hit the ground running,” Cabral said.

Kevin Hayden, who currently serves as general counsel for the registry, was named interim executive director until Conners appointed a permanent replacement for Holmes, Cabral said.

The spokesman, Terrel Harris, said the administration would have no further comment on the departures because it was considered a personnel matter.

Edwards was appointed to her post by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2007, and hired Holmes as executive director a short time later, Harris said.

Conners promised in a statement to continue the agency’s “mission of educating and protecting the people of (Massachusetts).”

Patrick is on a European trade mission and his office did not immediately have comment on the changes at the agency.

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