Atkinson Town Hall

Atkinson Town Hall
The Norman Rockwellian picture of Atkinson

There is a NEW POLL at Right--------------------->

Don't forget to VOTE!
Make your voice heard!

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.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A former town official faces six counts of filing false poilice reports

ATKINSON — A former town official faces six counts of filing false police reports.
Joyce LaFrance, 58, of Granite Ridge Drive was arrested on Dec. 12, according to police Chief Albert Brackett.
She called police on Nov. 13, Nov. 14, Nov. 20, Nov. 21, Nov. 24 and Nov. 26.
LaFrance called police "making complaints about noise in reference to neighbors," Brackett said Thursday.
She is being charged with six counts of filing false reports to law enforcement, Brackett said, all Class A misdemeanors..
This is not the first time LaFrance has called police to complain about noise from her neighbors.
"It stems from things that have been going on since the first of the year," Brackett said.
LaFrance was released on personal recognizance, Brackett said, and is set to be arraigned on Jan. 5 in 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow.
She was a member of the town Conflict of Interest Committee, but resigned in March, according to Town Clerk Rose Cavalear.
LaFrance had served on the Conflict of Interest Committee since at least 2011, according to meeting minutes.
If convicted, a sentence for a Class A misdemeanor crime can include imprisonment for up to one year, in addition to any fines.
LaFrance could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

TRSD Seeks to Screw Atkinson, and Atkinson does nothing.

Yes, my friends, the Timberlane School Board, and their employee(puppetmaster) Mr. Metzler is seeking to bend Atkinson over and give it to us hard. THey wish to change the funding formula for Timberlane.

For decades the school has determined their own funding by two criteria, the population a town sends to the district, and the aggregate valuation of the town. This was determined to be fair in the Districts Articles of Agreement with the towns, so as to spread the investment as equally, and fairly as possible.

However NOW the two most powerful, and autocratic members of the School Board are it's Chair, Nancy Steenson(Danville), and resident neo fascisti, Rob Collins(Danville). What most of you do not know is that over the last ten years as the Districts enrollment has dropped dramatically, and the Budget has soared seemingly without restraint or reason, Sandown and Danville have actually increased their population of students, while Atkinson's has declined. Under their new funding plan, Danville and Sandown get to shift their burden onto Plaistow, slightly, and Atkinson get the majority of the hit. The breakdown being as follows;

  • Danville:  -14.18%
  • Sandown: - 13.13%
  • Plaistow: +3.63%
  • Atkinson: +14.14%
Now WHERE ARE OUR SCHOOL BOARD REPRESENTATIVES? Ms.Delfino? Mr. Sapia?

Some of you will recall Mr. Sapia's generous attitude with YOUR MONEY, when he claimed that ANY amount the school declares it wants it should get, after all, it is for the children......... Not really.

Mr. Sapia, had the same generous attitude towards the police dept. when he served on Atkinson's budget committee, some of you will remember, telling then committee chair, Mr. Acciard that if the Pd came in requesting $1,000,000 they should get it without question it is for public safety. Seems Mr. Sapia LOVES to give out other peoples money.

NO ONE has yet elucidated an logical reason for this funding formula change, and ALL should go to the meeting TONIGHT at 7:30 to VOICE YOUR OPINION! DO NOT LET ATKINSON be screwed.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Atkinson looking to replace three departing employees

By James Niedzinski Eagle-Tribune
ATKINSON — Three town employees are leaving their posts, and town officials already want to get a head start on finding replacements.
The part-time planning and zoning administrator, Susan Killam, is set to retire next year, Selectman Philip Consentino said.
"We're going to have major turnovers within the town," he said.
Killam, makes about $16,000 annually, depending on how many hours she works, according to bookkeeper Sandra LaVallee.
Officials will be taking a look at the position and possibly give the new planning administrator more duties, Selectmen Chairman William Baldwin said.
"We're still in the process of planning for that position," he said.
The incoming planning administrator will not be a full-time employee, Baldwin said.
She plans to retire around June of next year, he said.
Besides Killam, LaVallee, herself, is stepping down and Town Administrator Bill Innes is talking about retirement in the next two years.
Finding someone to fill Killam's shoes will be tough, Consentino said, because she has also been the chairwoman of the Planning Board for years.
"That's going to be a tough job to fill her position," he said.
Killam could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but she previously said she works about 15 hours a week.  The planning office is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday.
Before Killam took over the post about four or five years ago, LaVallee said, the planning and zoning administrator worked full time.
While LaVallee is not retiring, she too is leaving her post; LaVallee said she is set to leave the town at the end of the month.
"It's been a great job, I've enjoyed it totally," she said Wednesday.
LaVallee has no specific plans after leaving the town, but she said a new job is a possibility.
She declined to disclose her age. LaVallee said she earns about $57,000 annually.
She has been at the job for 27 years.
"It's just time to move on, that's all," she said.
The assistant bookkeeper, Kat Macomber, is set to take the reins.
"She's certainly a very capable lady," LaVallee said of her successor.
About three people were interested in the job, Baldwin said, and here is a possibility the town will seek a replacement assistant bookkeeper.
Another employee set to leave is Town Administrator Bill Innes.
He has not set an official date yet, but he said the earliest he plans to retire is two years from now.
But Consentino said he wants to get a jump on finding a replacement to make sure there is a smooth transition.
"I want it all prepared," he said.  "I want the person on board to work with (employees) for at least a month."
When Innes was hired at the end of 2011, there was a 4-month gap between town administrators.
Selectmen hope to have a new town administrator "well in advance before (Innes) departs," Baldwin said.
Officials will discuss filling the other two positions next year, Consentino said.
Between the three, the town is losing valuable employees, Baldwin said.
"It will be a great loss to the community, because we are losing a vast amount of experience," he said.
Innes became the town administrator in 2012.
His annual salary is about $76,000 LaVallee said.
His reason for retirement is simple.
 "I'm old," the 66-year-old Atkinson resident said.
"He's done a fantastic job," Consentino said about Innes.
If he retires at the end of 2016, Innes will be one of the longer-serving town administrators.
The last town administrator, Philip Smith, left in 2011 after less than two years on the job.
Before Smith, the town went seven months without an administrator when Steven Angelo quit as administrator after five months.
Before him was interim administrator Craig Kleman, who worked on the job for about four months. Russell McCallister worked as the town administrator for about three and a half years before quitting in 2008.
Because Innes' retirement is not for another two years, it is too early to start reminiscing, he said.
"Memories are still being built," he said.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What TRHS Doesn't Want YOU to Know

This meeting has been months in the making.

Timberlane Regional High School, School Board members, Budget Committee members, Superintendent Metzler and Business Manager George Stokinger doesn't want you to know how they are wasting your hard earned tax dollars. They have gone out of their way to keep the budget committee from obtaining the financial information needed to do their job and protect our interests. Please attend and bring fellow taxpayers with you. Please remember that it takes a School District to bankrupt a town. Just ask people from Sandown and Danville. This will be the most important meeting you will attend for several years. Help us help you.
All Taxpayers from Atkinson, Plaistow, Danville and Sandown are welcome.
Leon
Atkinson Taxpayers for Fair Evaluations Committee (spokesperson)

Town Hall on Draft School Budget: Sunday Dec 7th
by donnagre
Dear Concerned Timberlane School District Citizens:
School Budget Committee members from Sandown, Arthur Green and Cathy Gorman, will be presenting an open Town Hall style meeting

SUNDAY
DEC 7, 2014
1-3 PM
SANDOWN TOWN HALL

This will be their own take on the draft budget. Come hear Arthur's detailed and powerful argument that the district is considerably overstaffed. He bases his argument on an in-depth examination of comparable districts that have better academic outcomes than Timberlane.

Cathy Gorman will speak about Full-Time Kindgarten and its costs.

Donna Green, School Board representative from Sandown, will speak about policy changes and practices at the district that are having a negative effect on school board oversight and transparency.

Please come and bring your neighbors for this "unofficial" take on the budget. Questions are welcomed at the meeting, which will be moderated by Gordon Champion.

Best,
Donna Green

P.S. Superintendent Metzler, Business Administrator, George Stokinger and School Board rep from Sandown, Kelly Ward have been invited and have not responded.
P.P.S. We regret that this meeting falls at the same time as a student concert at the high school. The availability of budget information and the town hall did not give us many options with the date.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Commissioner worried about assistant attorney's firing

By Kyle Stucker

Posted Nov. 11, 2014 @ 6:54 pm
Updated at 9:17 PM
BRENTWOOD — Local prosecutors and officials say they are “very frustrated” about the termination of a Rockingham County assistant attorney and whistleblower because they expect it will lead to a costly wrongful termination lawsuit against the county.
On her first day in office Friday, newly-elected Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway fired Jerome Blanchard, a prosecutor in her office and the person who earlier this year tipped off the state to the fact that Conway’s husband, former Salem police Sgt. Eric Lamb, was erroneously marked as cleared on the state’s so-called Laurie list.
“That smells like retribution to me,” said County Commission Vice Chairman Kevin Coyle. “It just really smells bad. To me this is clearly an act of retribution on the part of Pat Conway and others.”
No lawsuits had been filed against Conway or the county as of Tuesday, although Coyle said he expects Blanchard to file suits under the state’s whistleblower statute in addition to civil suits against any individuals involved in the firing.
Coyle said he and others consider Blanchard the “best prosecutor in that office” and said he doesn’t “know of anyone in law enforcement who would cast any dispersions on his ability to prosecute.”
“What I told her is she better hire a good lawyer, because she’s going to need one,” said Coyle, who wasn’t made aware of Conway’s decision until after Blanchard was terminated late Friday.
The confidential Laurie list contains the names of law enforcement officers who have been identified by their agencies as having engaged in misconduct that could affect their credibility if they had to testify in a case.
This information must be disclosed to defense lawyers and the court.
Blanchard notified the state in April that Lamb had been cleared in error. This prompted an investigation and Lamb’s name to be restored to the list after the state found former County Attorney Jim Reams, who later resigned from his post amid controversy, had indicated in letters to the attorney general’s office that Lamb had been cleared.
Conway maintained Tuesday that she had “no idea” Blanchard was the key whistleblower behind the Laurie list investigation involving her husband.
She also claimed that Seacoast Media Group and New Hampshire Union Leader stories published over the past few days about Blanchard’s firing contain “lies” because her decision had “nothing to do with retribution.”
“I had no idea about that,” said Conway. “I never knew about that. When I read that in the paper, that was the first time I ever learned about that.”
Conway also said that she “was not aware” that Blanchard and his girlfriend, former county prosecutor Jacqueline Docko, played key roles in the state’s investigation into Reams for sexual harassment, ethical violations and mismanagement of a forfeiture account.
“I didn’t know that,” said Conway. “I don’t know if that’s true or not. I was unaware of it.”
Reams, who served for 15 years, retired earlier this year after fighting for his return to office following a suspension. He has admitted no wrongdoing.
Conway has said she terminated Blanchard because doing so would be in the "best interests" of the county.
Beyond that, Conway said Tuesday that she “cannot comment” on why Blanchard was terminated because it “would be improper” to do that from a legal standpoint. She also said she couldn’t disclose whether her decision was based on poor job performance or wrongdoing.
Many local lawyers and law enforcement individuals expressed to Seacoast Media Group Tuesday that they couldn’t think of any possible job performance-related reasons for Blanchard’s firing.
“I can tell you that amongst the defense bar we consider him if not the best, but one of the best trial attorneys,” said Joe Plaia, a Portsmouth defense attorney whom Conway defeated during the Nov. 4 election. “I think he’s got without a doubt a fantastic whistleblower suit on his hands.”
Conway said her focus in her new role will be to ensure the office is running “efficiently,” “ethically” and “in a fiscally responsible manner,” although Coyle said it’ll be difficult to do that after her first official act was to “fire the person who made a legitimate complaint” against her husband.
“I don’t know if you’re ever going to bring back integrity to the office (after doing something like that),” said Coyle. “I think on her first day she really blew it with law enforcement and the public.”
Blanchard couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Update to: "Editorial: Spin won't solve Timberlane board's communications problem"

Surprise! Cozy Low Bid for PR Contract
Four bids were received for the district’s proposed Public Relations services.
$50,400 (Massachusetts)
$46,800 (California)
$39,500 (Massachusetts)
$18,000 (New Hampshire)
The low bid is from SERESC, the organization where superintendents go off to their final taxpayer funded reward. About SERESC Our former superintendent, Mr. LaSalle, now heads this organization and Dr. Metzler is one of six fellow superintendents from neighboring SAUs who comprise the Executive Committee. You might remember SERESC as being the organization that gave us Mrs. Metzler as the Spanish consultant for kindergarten.
SERESC is quick footed, if nothing else. They recently managed to snag Jason Grosky’s wife, Gretchen Grosky, as a PR consultant and have proposed her as the service provider in their bid. Mr. Jason Grosky is chairman of the Timberlane Budget Committee.
The Community Relations Committee, which disgraced itself by opening these bids outside of the publicly announced time and place for the opening, will be deciding on their recommendations at their next meeting in early December. Then they will put their recommendation forward to the school board who will bless the committee’s hard work and thank them for finding such a marvelous consultant right in our own backyard! Actually we don’t look in backyards. We climb up on ladders and peer into bedrooms.
Mrs. Grosky is a former journalist and editor who registered her own PR company, GMG Strategies LLC, with the state of New Hampshire in August 2013.
I should stress that no decision has yet been made and no contract has yet been awarded, but I smell her name plate being printed.
Only five short years ago our policy KDCA (student communications) said this:
“The best possible community relations grow from a superior teaching job in the classroom. Enthusiastic pupils with serious intentions, well directed by sympathetic and capable teachers, are certain to communicate with the parents and the community. The School Board believes this is the cornerstone of good community relations.”
That earnest and encouraging paragraph can no longer be found in any of our policies.
See Dr. Metzler announcing that he had given Rob Collins of the Community Relations Committee Mrs. Grosky’s name at the May 29 School Board meeting:
http://vimeo.com/album/255898/video/97162461 FORWARD TO 3: 24: 40 .
Should you be concerned about the independence of elected officials in the district or the SAU, let me reassure you that there is nothing to worry about. It’s business as usual. The wife of SAU board member, Jason Cipriano, was hired as a full-time teacher at Timberlane in August.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Editorial: Spin won't solve Timberlane board's communications problem

The Eagle Tribune

The Timberlane Regional School Board has correctly assessed that it has a problem with communication. But that problem won't be solved by hiring a public relations consultant.
The board would be better served by simply being open and honest with parents in the school district and with the voters who elected them to office.
The board last week agreed to begin the process of hiring a public relations consultant by approving a request for proposals. The board has yet to work out the details of the request or discuss how much it would be willing to spend on the part-time position.
School Board Chairman Nancy Steenson said the consultant would provide an honest and positive voice for the district, which serves students from Atkinson, Danville, Plaistow and Sandown.
"If we have an opportunity through someone who does this well, then we can present our story correctly," she said, as reported by James Niedzinski. "We don't have the control to make sure everything is accurate all the time."
The two key words in Steenson's statement are "control" and "accurate." They are the obsession of Steenson, the like-minded members of the board, and Timberlane Superintendent Earl Metzler.
The board's primary concern is its inability to control dissident member Donna Green, who represents Sandown, and whether every statement she makes at meetings or on her private blog timberlaneandsandown.wordpress.com is "accurate."
Reduced to its core principle, Green's complaint is that the pressure for increasing spending in the district is relentless, even as enrollment declines. The district's spending places a heavy tax burden on member communities, Green argues.
Green, whose campaign for fiscal responsibility won her election by Sandown voters, can be determined and demanding in her pursuit of district financial information. This is generally considered a positive quality in an elected representative. But to Steenson and Metzler, it is a source of irritation.
Green, like many others who question school spending, frequently faces the accusation that she is anti-education. Her quest for information often takes the form of demands under the state's Right-To-Know Law. She writes emails to the board requesting financial documents or that items of concern to her be placed on meeting agendas. She is unafraid to express her opinions on the board's actions during meetings or on her blog.
In response, the board on Aug. 28 issued a formal letter of censure to Green. The letter said Green's actions had "undermined the integrity and credibility of the Timberlane Regional School District and eroded the trust between TRSD and the community."
The letter further cited Green for the "inaccurate, disrespectful and/or inappropriate" comments made on her blog. The letter states that Green disseminated this false and inaccurate information "without contrition" and that she has "never shown any remorse for her actions."
Green has been banned from visiting administrative offices without an appointment while police conduct an investigation into whether she harassed a district employee.
"It's disturbing, the truth is the truth, there is no need to make things up," Metzler told Niedzinski. "We're trying to do the best for our kids here."
All this conflict generates a lot of news coverage. The board wants to be sure that the good news coming out of Timberlane isn't lost in the shuffle. A public relations consultant who knows members of the media could "grease the skids," board member Rob Collins said last week.
Our skids don't need greasing. We have and will continue to report all the good things that the Timberlane district's students are doing.
But we'll also continue to report on the doings of the Timberlane board, asking questions about things like how it came to pass that the consultant hired for $50,000 to implement a Spanish language program for kindergartners was Elizabeth Metzler -- Dr. Metzler's wife. It was a deal that Green's lawyer Richard Lehmann said "was done under the cover of darkness and hidden from public view."
These are also the kind of questions Donna Green finds so interesting.
Rather than attempting to control public perceptions of its actions by greasing the skids with a hired flack, the Timberlane board might try just answering some questions openly and honestly.