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Welcome Message and Mission Statement

Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

This Blog will not fall to outside hacks from anyone, especially insecure public officials afraid of their constituents criticism.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Selectmen once again prize corruption over legality.

This weeks meeting of the Atkinson Circus was illuminating.

A Quick recap. The Conflict of Interest Committee(COI) last year faced two complaints regarding selectmen. The First, dealt with the latest in Phil Consentino's 15 year history of COI violations, which was two fold, voting to appoint Sapia to School Board, and voting to increase pay for Police dept employees, including his WIFE. Then he lied, as usual claiming that his wife left the dept, prior to his  vote. She did not leave until a couple of weeks prior to this lie.

The Second involved ALL the selectmen at that time, about voting while in conflict. In both cases the COI found that the selectmen had violated the ordinance. In Consentino's case as it  is his approximately 756,342 nd violation(slight exaggeration, Phil, no need to  get your beach ball attorney to sue) they recommended removal from office.

Now HERE is where it gets interesting.The selectmen succeeded in hiding this until after the election, They put the COI Chair on the agenda for Mar. 23, 2015 to  discuss the investigation and reveal the recommendation. HOWEVER the selectmen evidently had a meeting(Illegal as it  was neither posted, nor minutes kept) where they discussed this(they referred to it during the meeting) punishment of Consentino may have been discussed.

Flash forward to  this week. They bump the COI from the agenda, and announce in bright red letters that NO PUBLIC COMMENT WILL BE ALLOWED AT THIS MEETING!

WHAT ARE THEY TRYING TO HIDE?

Evidently they are trying to hide the fact that rather than do  THE RIGHT THING, and pass this issue to Rockingham Superior Court to decide, whether or  not to remove the disgraced former serial  sexual harasser from office(as it would be a further conflict for  the selectmen to  decide his fate), The selectmen have decided to  hire an outside attorney as Town Counsel informed them it  would be a conflict for him to represent them in this  case, to defend Phil  ONCE AGAIN. How many hundreds of thousands, if not  millions of dollars have been wasted defending this corrupt man from his  own violations?

Once again the selectmen choose to ignore the best interests of  the town, its taxpayers, and the people in favor of circling the wagons around Phil.

You know, Guys, if  the selectman had fired him in the early 1980's when he was caught dipping his  hand into the cookie jar, you could have saved this town, and its insurers close to a million dollars in settlements and legal fees.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Selectmen Corruption continue

WHAT A SHOW!

Last night's selectmans meeting  provided yet another example of this board's willingness to violate town ordinance,

They were going to violate State law by going into non public to discuss Consentino's proposed punishment recommended by the Conflict of  interest committee, but having been apprised of the illegality of that, and apparently  fearing more lawsuits stemming for their repeated violations they held off on that one.

They, however, decided that they would appoint a "liaison" to the Conflict of Interest committee, something they have no  authority to do.

Selectmen, ESPECIALLY YOU, Phil, listen up. there are for boards in town over which you have absolutely no authority. Budget committee. Conflict of interest committee, ZBA, and Library Trustees. And for  good reason. The Conflict of interest committee must remain free from governing body influence. Now, yes, we all know and have seen Phil try to intimidate this  committee by abusing his authority as police chief to investigate its members, but that, too, was illegal, not  that this has ever stopped Phil.

How can the COI committee investigate complaints about the selectmen, with one of their members on that committee?

The COI committee is a quasi judicial body. The selectman's action is akin to the public defender choosing the judge in a criminal case. IT CAN'T HAPPEN!

Phil, you have been violating law, and ordinance for thirty years and largely getting away with it. Take your lumps and stop trying to corrupt everyone around you. As a former, now fired and disgraced, law enforcement officer no, one should  have to tell you the consequences for your violations of law.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Atkinson committee wants Consentino removed

By James Niedzinski
Eagle-Tribune
ATKINSON — While incumbent Selectman Philip Consentino secured another three-year term on the board, one town committee has made a recommendation to remove him from office.
The Conflict of Interest Committee found that on two occasions Consentino did not disclose conflicts of interest.
He declined to comment on the decisions Wednesday.
Some Conflict of Interest Committee members had to recuse themselves when taking a vote on the complaints.
Committee Chairman Raymond Fournier was in the selectman's race against Consentino. Another committee member, Peter Torosian, had to recuse himself because he was a candidate for the Timberlane Regional School Board.
Resident Leon Artus filed both complaints. He, too, was in the race for selectman against Consentino.
Artus could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Artus filed his first complaint on Dec. 10, according to the Conflict of Interest Committee decision.
He claimed Consentino had conflicts of interest with three of the four people who were seeking appointment to a Timberlane Regional School Board seat.
When former School Board member Michael Mascola resigned in September, it was up to selectmen — including Consentino — to appoint someone to finish his term.
Selectmen appointed Jack Sapia. He was elected to the board Tuesday.
The Conflict of Interest Committee held a public hearing Feb. 24 and voted 3-0 that Consentino violated the conflict of interest ordinance.
Torosian and Fournier did not vote, Fournier said.
Consentino didn't have to state the nature of his conflict, according to the decision, but he should have made others aware that he had a conflict.
The committee also found that all three selectmen violated the Right to Know law because they did not interview candidates for the School Board seat in public.
In his second complaint, Artus claimed Consentino, who served for decades as the town's police chief, voted that non-union police employees should get the same pay as union members.
At the time, according to the committee decision, Consentino's wife, Joanne, worked for the Police Department. She left the department Jan. 26.
Last week, the committee voted, 4-0, that Consentino did violate the conflict of interest ordinance by not disclosing his wife worked for the Police Department.
Fournier said he recused himself from that vote, too, because of the selectman's race.
"The committee recommends removal of Philip Consentino, by the other selectmen, or Mr. Consentino should be allowed to resign," the committee wrote in its decision Saturday.
Selectmen Chairman William Baldwin did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
The committee plans to present its findings to selectmen on March 23, Fournier said. Consentino will be there because he was re-elected Tuesday.
It will be a bigger board. The election of Jason Grosky and William Friel brings the membership to five.
Selectmen have 45 days from the date of the committee's findings to act on the committee's decision of March 7.

Rockingham County attorney faces possible whistleblower lawsuit

By JAMES A. KIMBLE
Union Leader Correspondent
BRENTWOOD — Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway is facing a potential whistleblower’s lawsuit for her decision to fire a key witness in a state misconduct investigation just hours after she was sworn into office.

County commissioners acknowledged on Wednesday that they received an offer to settle the matter financially instead of defending themselves from a lawsuit regarding the Nov. 7 firing of former assistant county attorney Jerome Blanchard.

Blanchard tipped off state and federal investigators in late 2013 about a legally questionable forfeiture account and ethical issues allegedly involving former Rockingham County attorney James Reams.
Reams denied any wrongdoing.

He left his elected post last June after eight terms in office.
Conway was drawn into the investigation when Blanchard told investigators that her husband, Eric Lamb, had been improperly “cleared” from a list of former and current police officers with potential credibility issues.

Conway denied in an interview Wednesday that her decision to terminate Blanchard was payback.
“The termination of Attorney Blanchard was in no way retaliatory,” Conway said. “It was done in the best interest of the county. I stand by my decision.”

Conway has denied having any knowledge about Blanchard being the person who told investigators about her husband’s incorrect designation on the state-mandated list.
Blanchard’s lawyer, Sean O’Connell, offered a rough outline of what a lawsuit against Rockingham County — and Conway individually — would look like if it went to trial.

“Ms. Conway was very close — both professionally and personally — with Mr. Reams,” O’Connell wrote in a March 6 letter to commissioners. “It is more than fair to characterize Mr. Reams as a mentor to Ms. Conway and a champion of hers within the County Attorney’s office.”

The letter, obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader, said the lawsuit would be brought under the state’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act if the case was not settled out of court.
Conway acknowledged in a letter written to commissioners on Monday that Blanchard is seeking legal action against her personally for alleged wrongful termination.

She asked commissioners to defend her in court, suggesting that her actions were conducted in her official capacity and protected under state law.
Conway told commissioners that she would not be able to meet with them on Wednesday because she was in trial.

Conway, a Republican from Salem, campaigned on restoring credibility to a county attorney’s office racked by a legal battle that Reams waged against the state attorney general’s office.
The lawsuit returned Reams to office, but brought to light allegations of sexual harassment, ethical violations and mismanagement of a forfeiture account.

Rockingham County Commission Chairman Tom Tombarello said that Conway has never fully explained why she fired Blanchard.
“We asked her a couple of times,” Tombarello said. “She said she couldn’t because it was a potential legal matter. She told us it was her decision.”

Conway said those conversations involved personnel matters that came up during public meetings, and she was unsure whether she could discuss such matters with commissioners.
Tombarello said he hoped that Conway’s reasons for terminating Blanchard were legitimate. Commissioners will have to decide whether to provide Conway legal representation given that she would be sued individually, and not in her official capacity.

“If he goes after her personally, Tombarello said. “I am not sure if we are interested or not interested in providing her legal assistance.”
Commission Vice Chairman Kevin Coyle, a harsh critic of Conway’s decision, said he would not support any request for the county to protect Conway in court.

“I believe her firing of Jerome was retaliation,” Coyle said. “This is something she did and she is going to have to suffer the consequences.”

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Consentino to be REMOVED FROM OFFICE- Conflict of Interest committee recommendation

Yes folks, The Conflict of Interest committee voted UNANIMOUSLY to recommend removal from office, Serial ordinance violator Phil Consentino.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST COMMITTEE DECISION
DATE: 03/07/2015
MISSION STATEMENT:
The Conflict of Interest Committee was created to help control the ethical behavior of all public officials, town employees, and school districts. The Committee is designed to help take the appropriate steps to maintain the highest level of “Code of Conduct” and the integrity of it’s government members, so that they perform their duties without conflicts between their private interests, and those of the citizens that they serve.
DECISION:
The Committee had a complaint issued by Petitioner Mr.Leon Artus, and was scheduled for a hearing on 02/24/2015. At that time, the Respondent Mr. Phillip Consentino stated on video and also recording to the COI committee that both his son, and his wife had submitted their resignations prior to his vote on the Police contract.
The Selectmen meeting was on December 1, 2014 for the first motion that all union and non-union police employees would get the same rate of pay increase. The second Selectmen meeting was on December 15, 2014, a motion was made to revise the motion made on December 1, 2014 to reflect that the union, and non union would still get the same pay rate as stated in the union contract, except step increases are only for the certified Police Officers.
The committee advised Mr. Consentino that his hearing dated 02/24/2015 would close until further proof of the resignations were submitted to the COI committee for review. The committee received a copy of a resignation letter from Mr. Consentino on his son Officer David Consentino one dated 08/09/2014 at the 02/24/2015 hearing. The board was still pending a copy of his wife's (Joanne Consentino) resignation letter from her position, as a police dispatcher. The next day the Chairperson Ray Fournier received from Barbara Snicer assistant to the Town
Administrator, another copy of David Consentino's resignation letter dated 09/01/2014, and Joanne Consentino's resignation letter dated 01/26/2015. The Committee requests clarification from Mr. Bill Innes (Town Administrator) on which resignation letter was correct on David Consentino, and was advised to contact the bookkeeper. The COI committee scheduled another hearing on 03/05/2015 for review of all letters received.  Neither Mr. Leon Artus, nor Mr. Philip Consentino attended this public hearing.
The COI has voted 4-0, 1 members have recused themselves from the vote. The committee suggests that Phillip Consentino has violated the Town of Atkinson’s Ordinance Section V Prohibited Conduct:
This committee finds: It is a violation of this code for any member to
1. In his or her official capacity as a Selectman, introduce discuss, deliberate, approve or vote upon any matter in which he or she or any member of his or her family has an interest known to said member being his wife (Joanne Consentino) who was a police dispatcher at the time of the Selectmen meetings on December 01,2014, and December 15, 2014.
2. As a Selectman, knowingly enter into any discussion, testimony or deliberation without first, publicly and for the record, stating all dealings, interests, relationships, and possible conflicts that may exist between said member and his or her family, the principals and the issue under deliberation, as may be known by the member, who is his wife the police dispatcher (Joanne Consentino).
3. As a Selectman, knowingly participate in town business without disclosing all potential conflicts of interest, with his wife (Joanne Consentino) who was a police dispatcher at the time of the Selectmen meetings on December 01, 2014 and December 15, 2014.
The committee does believe that Mr. Phillip Consentino should have stated his FAMILY conflicts publicly, and for the record, and request if anyone has an issue or opinions on his discussions, deliberation, and voting on Police pay raises as his wife Joanne Consentino was still employed on both Selectmen meetings dated December 01, 2014 and December 15, 2014, and would receive a monetary benefit from this vote. At both Selectmen meetings, he did not
recuse himself from voting on any monetary benefits that involved his family.
DISCIPLINARY ACTION:
Pursuant to RSA 31:39a, violating this code shall be grounds for recommending disciplinary action to be taken by the Board of Selectman if found by the majority vote on the Committee.
This is the second violation of the Town of Atkinson Code of Ethics in 2 months, by Mr. Phillip Consentino. The Board of Selectmen knowingly allowed Mr. Consentino to vote while his family member was employed by Atkinson Police Department. Mr. Consentino was Chief of Police for many years, he should recuse himself as a Selectmen from any police matters while family was employed, he should also leave the room, until which time the vote has been processed and recorded.
The committee recommends removal of Phillip Consentino, by the other Selectmen, or Mr. Consentino should be allowed to resign.
Failure to comply with Section V Prohibited Conduct, the Conflict of Interest Committee shall petition and file with Superior Court and retain an Attorney utilizing the Town of Atkinson Legal Line.

Per the Conflict of Interest Ordinance, Section VII, Paragraph G the Selectmen have 45 days from the date of  finding to act on the Committee's decision. Please see attached Conflict of Interest ordinance.

FINALLY they recognize his multiple violations of  the ordinance over his tenure as selectman. Their decision even echoed the words of Rockingham Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh who said  it appears Consentino believes the town is his to do what he want with, regardless of law. 

So, Consentino, fired for serially sexually harassing a female employee under his command, has ignored town law AGAIN.

HERE IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING;

The current board of selectmen having just been found in violation of the ordinance along with Consentino, last month, CAN NOT VOTE ON PUNISHMENT FOR CONSENTINO, because to do so would be a further violation of  the Ordinance and would open them up to removal from office. 

MY GOD, what an extraordinary path of wreckage this one corrupt official has left in his wake. For those of  you who are unaware of Mr. Consentino's tenure  with the Town of Atkinson, here is a brief synopsis;

Appointed to acting chief in 1978. in 1980 just after being promoted to Chief, selectman Wayne Peak  discovered that apparently  Consentino, as chief, was giving monies collected for reports and such to the Policeman's association, rather than to the town bookkeeper as law required. Now when this was revealed, most normal people being caught would have said, "Oh my God, I am sorry, did not  realize, will turn that money over immediately" Not Our Ego maniacal Chief, his words were "I won't stand here and take this" "My name is a pure as the wind driven snow" This led to competing lawsuits between the two for  the next 6 years. Costing the town and its insurers hundreds of thousands in legal fees and settlement costs..

Then, shortly  after this ended he fired the Police Lt. and CLAIMED the he wiped out 12 years of database records on the way out.(The PD did not  have computers in 1979, just another lie)

Then there were more scandals, with Officer Buco, Selectman Fred Childs. the infamous spitting incident in Town Hall,  At one point Phil  was showing to people in town, a Police record on Selectman Childs to undermine his re election campaign. Not  only seedy, but  ILLEGAL, not  that Phil  cares about legality apparently.

Then came Phil parking his cruiser outside Steve Lewis' office on Main St., blue lights going for almost an hour while he screamed at Lewis in his office, threatening him, This was witnessed by the County Registrar Cathy Stacy, allegedly.

Then in  2003 he gets himself elected selectman, making himself his  own boss. And the circus began. He kept his  ego  in check for almost a year, then he voted as selectman, to  approve his own request as Chief, to  withdraw $2500 from the Donation account. When challenged by Mr. Acciard telling him he could  not do that, Phil responded "I  can do  whatever I want, it  is my town". This  led Mr.  Acciard to  file a complaint with the conflict of interest (COI) committee. Then chairman, Dick Smith said  in a meeting, "But it is the chief", as if he was above the law. They found no  violation, Mr. Acciard appealed to Rockingham Superior Court, and the Court had some harsh words for  both Consentino and the COI committee.

Then there was the tower scandal, the Town that hates Halloween, when it made National News that Consentino bragged that his men would turn cars with Mass.  plates back at the border, and had been doing so for years. It is  not  every day a police chief admits violating the Constitution.

Labor actions against the Town and Consentino by Officer Michael Rivera, and Gary Lorden, where the NHPELRB ORDERED Consentino to  "cease and desist" from bullying, harassing, and intimidating his officers.

Then came the civil  suits; Phil was sued for harassment for  following Acciard, his wife, and son through town, making verbal threats, stopping them to visually inspect their vehicles, using his  official position to investigate Acciard and his  business. Phil  called Acciard's customers and suppliers and told  them he was "under investigation by the Atkinson PD" This was a lie.

There was the civil  suit by the Grants, by Acciard, by Artus, Lewis, Brownfield, etc. In the midst of  all of  this Phil tried to get Billy Baldwin an extra $2,000/mo or  so, by claiming that his  base pay while  deployed was his total compensation. More sleaziness. 

Brian Boyle, as selectman, when Billy got  orders to Kuwait, motioned to  advance him $5,900 so  that he would not  lose money while  deployed. This was exceedingly generous, as the law merely requires his job be kept open. All Boyle demanded in return was Billy's Military "leave and earnings" Statement. his monthly paycheck stub, if you will. Billy, refused to provide it, providing, instead, a "commanders base pay letter" claiming that was all  the town needed(NOT his decision to make) Consentino was in the selectman's meeting ever week demanding $515/week that he alleged Billy was not  getting. This  was based upon the base pay rather than total compensation, in other words this was a lie. The FACT was that Billy's  total  compensation was only approximately $400/mo.  different from his town pay.

This track record of dishonesty, violations of law, and ordinances, violations of  Court orders (he was found in Contempt of  Court, by Rockingham Superior court), the hundreds of  thousands, if not  millions of dollars in legal costs and settlements, ALL in service to one man's ego. The COI committee is correct he NEEDS to be removed from office. Any normal person would have kept a low profile after being fired for serially sexually harassing a woman young enough to be his  daughter, but not Phil. This  alone should tell you all you need to know about him. He probably fits the definition of a narcissistic Sociopath.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Let the whining commence, as history repeats itself

At the Conflict of  Interest committee hearing this week Mr. Consentino, once again, engaged in a collossal  display of whining that would put a 3 year old to shame. Proclaiming his  innocence as he has in every case in which he has been ordered to  obey the law, and whining that the "committee is stacked against him"

NEWS FLASH: Perhaps if you stopped violating the law, various boards, committees and Courts would stop finding you in violation of  the law, and on a side note, wasn't enforcement of the law your primary career? Odd for  one who has transgressed it so often.

HISTORY: Mr. Consentino's illustrious town tenure has been almost constantly marked by controversy, and legal fees. Mr. Consentino has cost the town more than any other individual inn history, costing the town(and it's insurers) hundreds of thousands if not  millions in legal fees and settlement costs for his various perfidies.

He began his career as Chief with a six year legal  battle with former selectman Wayne Peak. Mr. Peak found that Consentino had been giving fees collected by the PD for reports, etc. to the Policeman's assoc. not  the town. Although the entire issue could have gone away if Consentino had simply said, I am sorry, it was an oversight. Instead his response was "my name is a pure as the wind driven snow" and " I am not going to stand here and take this". The conclusion was  rumored to be, at the time,  the largest civil settlement in NH history, as Mr. Peak had a huge party at the K of C in N. Andover. Officer Pat Judge quietly closed the association and gave the money to the town, demonstrating the honor Consentino evidently lacked.

Over his tenure he has been ordered by the NHPELRB, NHPSTC, Rockingham superior  Court(a number of times) and the conflict of interest committee to  obey the law, and he still can not  apparently do so.

He also was recently FIRED FOR CAUSE, said  cause being the serial sexual harassment of a female  employee, in which he was allowed to settle to avoid prosecution, which settlement cost the town $100,000+.

it is following this sordid history that Mr.  Consentino finds himself before the conflict of interest committee AGAIN, FOR THE EXACT SAME THING Rockingham Superior Court ORDERED him to cease and desist from. VOTING upon matters in which he has a conflict of interest.

Hey, Phil, if  you stop violating the law, committees will stop finding against you.

Ego run amok, and as always THE TOWN PAYS!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Atkinson candidates (who sends this stuff to the paper?)

Atkinson: Voters will have many choices come March; there are several contested races in town. There are two three-year selectmen seats and four candidates. Incumbent Selectman Philip Consentino seeks re-election. The other candidates are Budget Committee member Craig Schuster, Conflict of Interest Committee Chairman Raymond Fournier and Timberlane Regional Budget Committee Chairman Jason Grosky.
The board will add two members in March, one three-year term and one one-year. Rep. William Friel, R-Atkinson, a former selectman, is running unopposed for the new one-year seat.
Three people are seeking two three-year terms on the Budget Committee. Candidates are incumbent Peter Torosian, Dennis Winsett and Wendy Barker.

Three people are running for two three-year seats on Kimball Library's Board of Trustees. Incumbent trustees Wendy Doughty and Linda Jette are seeking re-election, but must defeat newcomer Anna Winsett