Section 19D. After the acceptance of the provisions of section nineteen B in any city or town, the incumbent city or town clerk shall not be removed from office, lowered in rank, or suspended, except for just cause, and for reasons specifically given him in writing by the city council or board of aldermen or other appointing authority as the case may be, in the case of cities, or by the board of selectmen in the case of towns. Before any action affecting employment is taken, the said clerk shall be given a full hearing before the appropriate board as referred to in the preceding sentence, of which hearing he shall have at least five days’ written notice, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, from said appropriate board, and he shall be allowed to answer charges preferred against him either personally or by counsel. He shall be notified in writing within three days after the hearing of the decision of said board, stating fully and specifically the reasons for removal or suspension.
Within thirty days after the date of the decision of said board following a hearing as set forth in the preceding paragraph, any city or town clerk who was removed, lowered in rank, or suspended, may bring a petition in the district court within the judicial district in which such clerk resides, praying that the action of said board in removing, lowering him in rank, or suspending him, as the case may be, may be reviewed by the court, and, after such notice in writing to the board which has ordered such removal, lowering in rank, or suspension, as the court deems necessary, it shall hear witnesses, review such action and determine whether or not upon all the evidence such action was justified. If the court finds that such action was justified, the action of the said city council, board of aldermen or board of selectmen, as the case may be, shall be affirmed; otherwise, it shall be reversed and the petitioner shall be reinstated in his office without loss of compensation.