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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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Selectmen Corruption, lying and illegality continues.

First let me open by saying that Our selectmen exhibit less than a passing regard for adherance to law. This has been the case for the decade plus that Phil has exerted control over this board, and therefore is no surprise. In my opinion they are liars as well, Oh not  the "Honey that dress looks great on you" type of liars, more along the Hillary Clinton; "It was caused by a spontaneous protest over a video that got out of hand" type of lie.The surprise, and frankly it is somewhat disgusting to watch is the blatant dishonesty and willful corruption of Mr. Grosky, himself a Lawyer, and Prosecutor. Given his training and education, as well as the professional canon of ethics Lawyers are supposed to subscribe to, he has the knowledge that precludes any claims of ignorance, lack of understanding, or the ever proclaimed necessity for "legal opinion". Which brings us to last night's litany of corruption.

We begin by noting that the Selectmen posted a Non Public meeting under RSA 91-A:3,II,e. "legal" to precede the public meeting.

When this meeting began Town Counsel, Sumner Kalman showed up for the meeting. The selectmen REFUSED to obey the stated law by opening the public meeting and voting to go into Non public, even though specifically asked if they were going to do this by Mr. Artus. Mr. Baldwin stated that they were just meeting with their attorney. Sorry, Billy, as you SHOULD know, whenever you have a quorum of the board, you have a meeting. As you SHOULD know, even if the meeting occurs in Sumners office, it must be posted and minutes kept. AND according to RSA 91-A:3, you MUST open the public meeting and make an on the record vote to go into Non public for the exemption that applies. You failed to obey this particular law. I wonder why?

Now,  RSA91-A:3, II,e. states as follows;

" (e) Consideration or negotiation of pending claims or litigation which has been threatened in writing or filed by or against the public body or any subdivision thereof, or by or against any member thereof because of his or her membership in such public body, until the claim or litigation has been fully adjudicated or otherwise settled. Any application filed for tax abatement, pursuant to law, with any body or board shall not constitute a threatened or filed litigation against any public body for the purposes of this subparagraph."

As there are no active lawsuits, of which we are aware, nor any "threatened in writing" We wonder how this was a LEGAL non public meeting? BTW, just for the record, when they emerged from this quasi non public, they never closed the non public before opening the public meeting.

As Mr. Grosky authored a letter to the Conflict of Interest committee, advising them(BTW WHEN did the selectmen authorize Mr. Grosky to  write that letter?, It seems no meeting held nor vote taken to do so, Well chalk that up under the illegality column) That the ONLY allowable reason to go into Non public for legal was to discuss an ACTIVE lawsuit or one threatened in writing, Both Mr. Groski and the Board upon which he sits clearly knows, the purpose and limitation of this law, but CHOOSE to ignore it for themselves.

And before they parade their usual lies about this meeting it should be pointed out that the Conflict of Interest committee while they have discussed among themselves the idea of a Court filing to force the selectmen to  obey the law, They have NOT put this into writing to  the Selectmen. The other oft mentioned legal matter is the Selectmens wish to Forego the fines won in Court against the Osbornes, but yet to be paid. So much for their Fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers. However this, too does not  qualify under RSA91-A:3,II,e. as the matter had been fully adjudicated(Presumably Mr. Groski, in his profession DOES KNOW what that word means). These matters would be the subject of a PUBLIC meeting, not a non public, but what is the law to our dictators?

Later in the meeting our erstwhile governing body whipped out new shiny RSA books to read RSA31;39a, the enabling statute that allowed the town to establish the Conflict of interest committee. These men were intellectually challenged to understand the simple meaning of the Statute, even the Attorney Mr. Groski, Pull up a chair Jason your education is about to begin;

" 31:39-a Conflict of Interest Ordinances. – The legislative body of a town or city may adopt an ordinance defining and regulating conflicts of interest for local officers and employees, whether elected or appointed. Any such ordinance may include provisions requiring disclosure of financial interests for specified officers and employees, establishing incompatibility of office requirements stricter than those specified by state law or establishing conditions under which prohibited conflicts of interest shall require removal from office. Any such ordinance shall include provisions to exempt affected officers and employees who are in office or employed at the time the ordinance is adopted for a period not to exceed one year from the date of adoption. The superior court shall have jurisdiction over any removal proceedings instituted under an ordinance adopted under this section."

Readers please note the simple text of the above Statute which confused out Attorney/Prosecutor/Selectman. Lets take this point by point for Mr. Groski. who proclaimed it confusing and ambiguous due to the profusion of the word "MAY";

"The legislative body of a town or city may adopt an ordinance defining and regulating conflicts of interest for local officers and employees, whether elected or appointed." This simply means the State authorizes the legislative body of  the Town(Jason, that means the VOTERS) to esablish a Conflict of Interest ordinance if they so desire. In Atkinson We did.

"Any such ordinance may include provisions requiring disclosure of financial interests for specified officers and employees, establishing incompatibility of office requirements stricter than those specified by state law or establishing conditions under which prohibited conflicts of interest shall require removal from office." This simply means that the Ordinance once established may set out requirements for disclosure, prohibited conducts, and punishments that exceed those enumerated by State law. Are you following this, Jason?

"Any such ordinance shall include provisions to exempt affected officers and employees who are in office or employed at the time the ordinance is adopted for a period not to exceed one year from the date of adoption" This is the typical phase in clause.

Now Jason, PAY ATTENTION, THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART;

" The superior court shall have jurisdiction over any removal proceedings instituted under an ordinance adopted under this section."  This means that when removal is the recommendation, PARTICULARLY of a selectman, the fellow selectmen may not decide upon their  own what punishment will be, That, too  would be a conflict. They SHALL, note that word, Jason, which in legalese allows no wiggle room, they SHALL pass it on to the Superior Court which has sole jurisdiction over removal proceedings.

So ends our lesson, As we said they read this statute on camera. proclaiming it confusing, ambiguous, and requiring of legal opinion. A Little late, Jason you claimed you had already gotten legal opinion and spent $2,285 for ELEVEN HOURS of it,back in March on this  very topic. And the taxpayers wonder why Atkinson spends so much on legal fees.

By the way, just to reveal another lie, a couple of months ago, Mr. Groski stated on camera that the voters defeated a $5,000 legal line for conflict of interest a couple of years ago. This was a lie, what would have been true, would have been to admit that the SELECTMEN wanted a CAPITAL RESERVE FUND established for legal purposes a couple of years ago, and it failed by one vote.

It is an utter travesty that we allow these actions to continue. Mr. Morse seems to be the most honest of this corrupt board, Unfortunately Mr. Friel has done a complete 180 in the last 5 years, and now routinely joins the corrupt triumverate of Consentino, Groski, and Baldwin, in their efforts to do whatever they wish without regard for law. When you consider the background of these men; An attorney and public prosecutor, a Police Lt. former school board chair, and selectman, and a Former long term police chief, selectman, and director of elderly affairs, recently fired for cause, pursuant to a sexual harassment complaint of a female employee young enough to be his daughter, NOT ONE of these men have any excuse for their behavior.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Budget Committee screws the pooch

For those with a military background, You will understand the title. For the rest of you, it means a screw up. Tuesday evening the Budget committee had one of the shortest public hearings on record. in a short 90 minutes they managed to go through the budget and warrant articles. Oh how we long for the days of Jane Cole, Brian Boyle, and Mark Acciard as Budcom chairs, when the law was adhered to, procedure followed, every budget line was read aloud, and everything was open and transparent, but, of course that takes a little longer than 90 minutes.

However, I digress, it was at the end of this 90 minute public hearing that something extraordinary happened. The BudCom that wrote and prepared the budget could not agree to vote for it and pass it onto the legislative body for ratification. When it came time to vote for the budget the vote was split 3-3. A TIE!. This has never before happened. Since the Budcom could not agree to approve the budget they, on camera, motioned and approved a decision to recess and continue the meeting to last night at 7pm, in the hopes that they would be able to get ahold of Harold Morse to break the tie.

Now let the pooch screwing commence. ACTV had a notice posted yesterday announcing that 10 minutes after the cameras were turned off, Tuesday night, the Budcom met again, and voted NOT to continue the meeting until last night. According to informed sources this was done on the august legal advice of Barbara Snicer, whose immense legal talents are not to be questioned. She apparently advised the Budcom that they did not need to vote on the budget to pass it onto the Legislative body.

Unfortunately, Ms. Snicer(where did she obtain her law degree? Cracker Jacks?) is wrong. According to LAW, The Budcom must have a public hearing 25 days prior to Town Meeting. This public hearing was only 11 days prior, First mistake. At the public hearing, the Budcom may choose to continue, or hold a second public hearing to resolve matters, or when the meeting runs past midnight. IF, they declare the date and time of the subsequent meeting during the first public hearing, the requirement to post notice of the meeting for 7 days is waived. IF they DO NOT, decide this during public session at the first meeting, then the second meeting must have notice posted 7 days in advance of the second meeting.

So, here is how we now stand, Having failed to pass a budget the town LEGALLY has no budget for the legislative body to discuss or approve at Town meeting. The second meeting after the cameras were turned off on Tuesday night was likely illegal as it had not been posted, there was no legal reason for a non public, and the meeting had formally been continued to the following night. Ms. Snicer should refrain from giving any more colossally stupid legal advice. AND last but certainly not least in order for this to be rectified LEGALLY, another meeting would have to be posted. Public hearings require 7 day posting notification, meaning if posted today the meeting could not take place until the 28th, preventing the proper time for posting of the warrant prior to town meeting.

NOW, I should also point out that this is somewhat academic as the NH Dept. of Revenue Administration is utterly useless at enforcing their own laws, and likely would not prevent the town's budget from being presented over these violations of law. Remember in TODAY'S political climate the law ONLY matters when your opponents violate it. Those familiar with Atkinson's political elite, have observed this maxim first hand.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

TRSD has a VERY bad day at Court

For those with inquiring minds, Donna Green's Right to Know case against TRSD went to Court yesterday. Mr. Metzler was not a happy camper. The District's cast of high priced attorneys also put on a less then stellar performance.

The Court rightly understood immediately that the District is applying a unique standard to Ms. green's requests. The Court also was not happy that the District would violate state law when asked for info from a member of the governing body. At one point, the Court asked if Mr. Metzler had to put in a formal request and pay for copies.

The District's attorneys studiously avoided directly answering the Courts repeated questions about where these records are kept at the moment, not wanting to admit that they are on the computer, thereby destroying their argument that they can not provide them in electronic form.

When asked why they print everything out and demand payment for each page, the Attorney responded; it is the District's policy, to which the Court responded, you have a policy that violates State Law?

Mr. Metzler left the hearing early, probably to pop Gaviscon like it was candy. His cocky policy left in tatters on the Court floor.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Triumverate of Corruption- the return of the Neo Fascisti

Evidently expanding the BOS to five members did not result in a reduction in the level of corruption evidenced by this board. The Board is still dominated by The paragon of corruption Mr. Consentino, and his elderly elected minions, Grosky and Baldwin.

Mr. Grosky seems to have happily and willingly settled into his role as Consigliere, to Consentino's wannabe Don. He enthusiastically perverts and twists the law, in reasonable sounding letters which he fires off to any board or committee that has the temerity to offend the Bully in Chief.

The latest hapless victims of Mr. Grosky's legal perversions is the Conflict of interest committee, and by extension the Budget Committee. It is Consentino, Baldwin, and Groski's position that ONLY the Selectmen have authority to add, remove and insert amounts on line items within the budget during it's preparation. This is a CLEAR violation of RSA 32:5. None of these three Neo Fascisti, care. They only demand OBEDIENCE. The State budget law clearly states that ONLY the budget committee has authority over the preparation of the budget. The Selectmen have none beyond, consulting on their budgetary needs.

This began with the latest in a long and storied history of conflict of interest complaints against Mr. Consentino. The very man who has been the subject of so many of these complaints, and Ordered by Rockingham Superior Court to obey the town conflict of interest ordinance on multiple occasions, not that he ever OBEYED said order. In fact he was found in CONTEMPT OF COURT for disobeying the Order of the Court. Notable for a "Chief law enforcement officer" and "officer of the Court". In this case Mr. Consentino violated said Order AGAIN, by voting upon a matter that affected his wife. Yes, this has happened numerous times prior, and he has been told numerous times he can not do this, but He just does not care what the plebians think. He is Don Consentino! This is HIS TOWN! However, in this case there were three complaints and given his  long track record of ignoring the law, the conflict of interest committee recommended removal. This is where it gets interesting.

The LAW under which the conflict of interest committee was established is RSA31:39-a, and it clearly states;

"31:39-a Conflict of Interest Ordinances. – The legislative body of a town or city may adopt an ordinance defining and regulating conflicts of interest for local officers and employees, whether elected or appointed. Any such ordinance may include provisions requiring disclosure of financial interests for specified officers and employees, establishing incompatibility of office requirements stricter than those specified by state law or establishing conditions under which prohibited conflicts of interest shall require removal from office. Any such ordinance shall include provisions to exempt affected officers and employees who are in office or employed at the time the ordinance is adopted for a period not to exceed one year from the date of adoption. The superior court shall have jurisdiction over any removal proceedings instituted under an ordinance adopted under this section."

NOTE the emboldened text. Now had the Neo Fascisti on the BOS actually followed the law, they would have referred the question of removal to the Superior Court, but, no they could not do that, given the history of these matters before the Court, it is likely that the errant accused sexual predator fired for cause, but elected Selectman might be removed, NO, can't have that. INSTEAD, these men a majority of whom have personal relationships with Consentino, and should have therefore recused themselves to avoid "the appearance of any conflict" as stated in the Ordinance, voted instead to ignore the law, and ignnore the recommendations of the conflict of interest committee.

Consigliere Groski's estwhile defense of Mr. Consentino presumed that he merely "knew" the potential School Board candidates "as he knows thousands of other residents". An outright LIE. Tell us Mr. Groski, were "thouands of other residents" involved in lawsuits with Mr. Consentino? Were thousands of other residents litgants suing Mr. Consentino for violating their rights? Were thousands of other resident victims of Mr. Consentino's abuse of authority while police chief?  Consigliere Groski also claimed that MR. Consentino's vote on benefits, did not matter because his wife would  have been eligible for them anyway. This "did not matter" defense was employed by Mr. Consentino in 2005 in Rockingham Superior Court and failed it test them, as Mr. Groski should well know.

This resulted in the conflict of interest committee discussing engaging in litigation against the Selectmen to force them to follow the law. They attempted to ask the budget committee for a $100 legal line in their budget. The BOS went nuts. They are attempting to punish the COI committee by claiming their  non public discussion of this impending litigation violates RSA 91-A:3, while the BOS uses this very same provision to shield its conversations about legal desires, which should be public. They have chosen to punish the Budget Comittee by refusing to approve a minor budgetary overexpenditure which AT THE VERY SAME MEETING THEY DID OVER 40 TIMES FOR OTHER DEPARTMENTS! They claim that the Budcom needed permission to overexpend a line item, something that they never demand from any other dept.. WHo remembers when Consentino overexpended his cruiser lease line item 8 days after town meeting to buy a Ford Explorer without budgetary or selectmen approval?  And to top it off, These corrupto crats forget the BudCom DOES NOT SPEND MONEY!!! ONLY  THE SELECTMEN DO! If a line item is overspent, it is the selectmen who spent it by signing the vouchers.

The PROPER course of action would have been for the BOS to refuse to engage in any discussion of removal and forward it to the Rockingham Superior Court,

The PROPER course of action with regards to overspending a line item would be to treat the budcom in exactly the same manner they treat the PD,

but, this board so rarely does the "right" thing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Defense in Atkinson marijuana case argues medical need

By Kiera Blessing kblessing@eagletribune.com Eagle-Tribune

PLAISTOW — An Atkinson couple charged in October with cultivating, possessing, and intending to distribute marijuana pleaded not guilty in Plaistow District Court

Monday, where their defense attorney argued the growing operation was never meant as a business, but as a means of relief for a man battling cancer. Robert and Valerie Zdrada, aged 65 and 60 respectively, were arrested Oct. 19 shortly before 9 a.m. after police seized more than 7 pounds of marijuana, along with seeds, plant stems and cultivation tools from their Crown Hill Road home.

The couple was given a hand summons to return to court in December and released.
In court, the couple's lawyer, Alan Cronheim, refuted the allegation that the Zdradas were running a criminal enterprise and implied that the marijuana was solely for Robert Zdrada's personal use, as he suffers from cancer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                "I think as more is known, the direction of this case is going to dramatically change," Cronheim told Judge Sharon N. DeVries. "We're anxious to get to the facts of the case but recognize today is not the day."                                                                                                                                                                                                

The prosecution told DeVries the couple is facing one charge each of intent to distribute because of the amount of marijuana found. When the statute allowing medical marijuana use in New Hampshire, passed in 2013, goes into effect, each patient and caregiver together may only posses 2 ounces at any given time. Even the distribution centers, once opened, will be allowed only a 5-pound back-stock and an additional 6 ounces per patient. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                The prosecution also noted that medical marijuana identification cards allow for possession only, while the Zdradas were illegally manufacturing their own cannabis.                                                                                                                                                                                                

Cronheim disputed the distribution charge, noting that police found no records, measures, scales or weapons — "nothing consistent with distribution." He added that Robert is "awaiting the state to finally implement the law passed three years ago" allowing for medical marijuana use. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                "This is a case about a man with cancer who is trying to survive," Cronheim said. The state is not distributing identification cards until the dispensaries open, Cronheim said, currently slated for the end of March.

Last month, an Alstead woman, Linda Horan, won her case in Merrimack Superior Court after she petitioned the state to issue her a license in New Hampshire so she could obtain medical cannabis in Maine. The court's ruling, however, ordered a license be issued for Horan only

The Zdradas were again released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail, with the condition that they continue living in their Crown Hill Road home and that Robert Zdrada follow his doctors' treatment recommendations.

"Obviously, it's not in my interest to see that you're following what your doctors said or not," DeVries told Zdrada. "I'm just saying if they recommended you use medical marijuana that you follow that as part of your bail order, so that protects you in that regard."  


Following the arraignment, Cronheim reiterated that "This is a medical case, not a criminal case.  

"It's my hope that they (the prosecutors) will understand the medical circumstances and a make a decision appropriate to those facts."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Police seize marijuana in Atkinson

ATKINSON — Police say they seized more than 7 pounds of marijuana, along with seeds, plant stems and other cultivation tools from an Atkinson home Monday morning.


Robert Zdrada, 65, and Valerie Zdrada, 60, were arrested shortly before 9 a.m. following a search of their home at 32 Crown Hill Road.

"Mostly what we seized were stems of plants, various seeds, portions of plants that had been harvested along with their yield from the harvest which was about seven and a half pounds of marijuana," said Atkinson Police Chief Albert Brackett. Police also confiscated special lighting units used to grow the plants indoors.


"We believe we recovered everything that had been harvested," Brackett said. "The evidence that we found indicated that it had been harvested just prior to our execution of the search warrant."


The department opened an investigation into the operation with the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office following a confidential tip about a month ago, Brackett said.


"We have investigations from time to time in regards to drugs," Brackett said. "Most of what we've had over the last year is heroin though."


The couple operates a photography company out of their home that often takes senior portraits and sports photos for surrounding high schools and have taken photos for The Eagle-Tribune. In a 2008 article, the Tribune described "Bob" Zdrada as an "avid booster" involved in Timberlane Regional High School wrestling, football and lacrosse, and stated he played a "huge role" in the sports programs.


Robert Zdrada was also reported to have been battling cancer of the tongue and neck at that time.


Attempts to reach the Zdradas at home were unsuccessful

Friday, September 11, 2015

Parents: We want to stay with Timberlane

 Sandown residents tell minority committee they oppose leaving distrct

By Kiera Blessing 
 
SANDOWN — During a tense and often-heated meeting of the Sandown withdrawal minority committee Wednesday night, dozens of parents and town residents said they strongly oppose withdrawing from the Timberlane Regional School District and felt lied to about the nature of the study being conducted.

Nearly 40 people filled the small meeting room at the Sandown Fire Department where the Sandown Feasibility of Withdrawal from Timberlane Regional School District Minority Committee met. Most of the attendees who spoke said they were against withdrawal; no one advocated for withdrawal at the meeting.

Many of those present said they felt they had been deceived about the nature of the study, and had believed, when voting at Town Meeting in March, that the study would only gather data. Both committees — the "majority" committee, working in conjunction with Timberlane, and the minority committee — plan to submit their findings to the state's Board of Education, which has some parents worried that they could be forced out of Timberlane.  

State law says that if the Board of Education approves a withdrawal plan in either the majority or minority report, the plan will then go to a vote of the four towns in the district. Parents at the meeting expressed concerns that Atkinson, Plaistow and Danville would vote in favor of Sandown's withdrawal, effectively forcing the small town out of the district.  

Cathy Gorman, the vice chair of the minority committee, said the district would first have to "prove" that it is financially feasible and otherwise suitable for Sandown to withdrawal before the Board of Education would approve a withdrawal plan.  

"Timberlane and the majority committee cannot just boot you out of the district," Gorman said.   

The residents were not so easily assured.  

"There is nothing you can show me or tell me that is going to change my mind. I don't want to withdraw, period, end of story," said Jon Goodman, a Sandown parent. "Don't say we can't get kicked out. You ... told us at deliberative session this was a study and nothing more."  

Some residents at the meeting initially advocated for the minority committee to be disbanded completely; the committee countered that dissolving the minority committee would leave all power with the majority committee and their ruling as to the feasibility and suitability of the withdrawal.


"I want to ensure that regardless of what the majority committee does, that we are prepared to protect Sandown. That is my goal for the minority report," Gorman said. "I will have a report ready to ensure that Sandown is well-represented when a report goes to the Board of Education."


Gorman and the rest of the committee assured parents and community members at the meeting that a consideration of the suitability of the withdrawal is how parents and students feel about it. Even if withdrawal is financially feasible, they said, the Board of Education will consider the suitability of the plan — in other words, if it will be beneficial to parents, students, and the community.

"The kids are important, where they want to go. The community as a whole is important, the impact to the community. We're looking at all of that," Gorman said.

Buco added that she established the minority committee because she felt Sandown did not have enough representation on the majority committee, and said the majority committee refused her request to add members from Sandown. The law does not address formation of a minority committee, but rather says only that the town that voted for the study can submit a minority report if the committee finds the withdrawal is not feasible or suitable.  

Rob Collins, chairman of the Sandown Feasibility of Withdrawal Committee, said Thursday that if the minority committee is not disbanded, it "would force our hand to submit a report with a withdrawal plan."  

Collins said this is because the committees have vastly different opinions of what the buyout would be. While the majority committee estimates it would cost Sandown at least $6.4 million to withdrawal, the minority committee said that does not take into account Sandown's partial ownership of the other Timberlane school buildings. The minority committee estimates that Timberlane may even owe the town money.  

"To not have great detail in that amount of money from our end and to allow them to write a report and withdrawal plan that said zero dollars would be a disservice to the towns of Atkinson, Plaistow and Danville," Collins said. "We would find ourselves in a position where we're having to defend not only the interest of the students, but the financial interest of the town as defined by state law."  

Still, Collins said that does not mean the majority committee will necessarily find the withdrawal feasible or suitable; he said he would simply write a plan so that the Board of Education would see there is a dispute between the committees about the buyout. He said that he is not sure what the committee will eventually conclude.

The state law says a withdrawal plan is only to be submitted if the committee finds the withdrawal is feasible and suitable.   

The minority committee and concerned Sandown residents discussed Wednesday the possibility of holding a special vote before the report must be submitted on Nov. 15 to determine what the majority of the town is in favor of, whether it be to withdrawal or to stay in Timberlane. The results of that vote would heavily influence the suitability portion of the minority report.