Whitehall Board of Education member Brandon Howard publicly apologized during the Feb. 14 board meeting for an incident last summer that landed him in court on a fourth-degree felony charge.
Howard in a plea bargain pleaded guilty in Franklin County Common Pleas Court Feb. 4 to a reduced, misdemeanor charge of illegally carrying a concealed weapon. He will serve no jail time but will pay a $300 fine and court costs.
The firearm involved in the incident was ordered destroyed by Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel Hogan, who heard the case earlier this month.
During the board meeting, Howard used the last few minutes reserved for comments by board members to make his apology. A handful of supporters were on hand but did not speak publicly.
After commenting on the recent success of several district athletes, Howard said, "I also do want to apologize for bringing embarrassment not only to myself but to my family and my community. I am grateful that my issue has been resolved and is over, and I can move forward with my life."
A Franklin County grand jury indicted Howard Sept. 28 for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The charge was a fourth-degree felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Howard had been very tight-lipped about the felony charge stemming from an incident during National Night Out festivities Aug. 7. He was carrying a loaded firearm during Whitehall's National Night Out celebration at John Bishop Park. He was not arrested and later surrendered a firearm to police.
Prosecutors said they are not certain the firearm he had surrendered was the same firearm he was carrying at the event. The one turned over to police two days after the incident, though, was deemed inoperable.
Howard's clean record and the police department's inability to prove the gun he was carrying during National Night Out was operable played a large part in the plea deal.
Howard won a seat on the school board in November 2011. He was the sole candidate running for the remaining two years of the unexpired term left vacant by former board member Carolyn McIntosh.
His seat will be up for grabs again in November.
Howard is the son of board Vice President Ronda Howard and city of Whitehall Treasurer Brent Howard.