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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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Atkinson chief may still head elderly affairs program

From the Eagle-Tribune;

Atkinson chief may still head elderly affairs program

By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON — Tonight's workshop on the elderly affairs program has been postponed until the selectmen receive more answers from the state attorney general's charitable trust unit.

Those answers could allow Philip Consentino to remain as both police chief and director of elderly affairs.

Residents' complaints over Consentino's dual roles, as well as the donation accounts he handles, prompted an examination earlier this year by Terry Knowles, director of the charitable trust unit.

Consentino leads the elderly affairs program, which gives rides and other help to senior citizens. The program is funded partially through the town's operating budget, and also from donations.

Selectmen often held public hearings for Consentino to take donation money out of three donation accounts, the balances of which totaled about $19,000.

Knowles sent a number of letters to the town, advising how to lawfully handle the donation money. Consentino has since received permission from donors and transferred $6,500 to a nonprofit group he set up. The rest of the money remains in the Atkinson Police Department's Donation/Equipment Fund account.

Knowles also advised the selectmen to examine the elderly affairs program and make sure it is separate from the Police Department, which they planned to do tonight.

Selectmen's Chairman Paul Sullivan, Selectman Bill Friel and Town Administrator Steven Angelo met with Knowles for the first time Friday. Sullivan said they wanted to make sure their plan to transfer the remaining $12,000 in donation money to the Trustees of the Trust Fund was OK. Also, they had questions about the separation of Consentino's roles.

"Basically, we wanted to make sure and do the right thing, where it's in question, for all parties involved," Sullivan said.

He said the selectmen left feeling that the matter, which first arose in April, will be worked out smoothly. The next letter from Knowles, which should come this week, should confirm in writing what she told them last week. Then selectmen will reschedule the workshop, Sullivan said.

Knowles said yesterday that letter will outline how Consentino should be required to document the time he spends as police chief, as well as the time he spends volunteering as the director of elderly affairs.

That should draw a firm enough line, and satisfy state and federal labor laws. But Knowles said the selectmen should speak with someone at the state Department of Labor to be sure.

"We're slowly resolving the issues," Knowles said. "In accordance to the earlier letter, what, and how it needs to be done. It's really a matter of time sheets."¬ù

The meeting Friday was incorrectly listed as a nonpublic session. Once the selectmen arrived in Concord, Knowles informed them it had to be a public session and let two members of the public attend, she said.

It was up to the town to decide whether to reschedule and properly post the meeting, she said.

Sullivan said it was a mistake. He posted it as a "legal" nonpublic session because the selectmen are working to bring the issues in line with state law.

Consentino said yesterday he was upset others were able to participate in conversations about him and the elderly affairs program without him there.

"I wanted to go to that meeting, but I wasn't invited/involved because it was a selectmen's meeting," he said.

Atkinson woman pepper sprays intruder Burglar flees empty-handed

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson woman pepper sprays intruder Burglar flees empty-handed
By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON — A homeowner fended off a burglar with pepper spray early Sunday morning, police said.

Officers were called to the Bryant Woods condominium complex about 1 a.m. for a home invasion, police Chief Philip Consentino said. The male intruder fled on foot before police arrived, he said.

A woman, whom police are not identifying, woke up because she heard a noise downstairs in her home. When she went to check, she found a man, Consentino said.

"She got into a confrontation with this gentleman, (he) grabbed her by the arm and punched her in the face," Consentino said.

The woman asked the man if he wanted money and went for her purse when he said he did, Consentino said.

Instead, the homeowner grabbed a container of pepper spray.

She sprayed the intruder in the face and he ran out of the house — empty-handed, police said.

The woman told police she didn't recognize the intruder. She described him as being between 35 and 45 years old. He was wearing a baseball cap that covered his face, she said.

Officers called in Plaistow police and its K-9 unit for assistance, Consentino said. The dog tried to track the intruder around the neighborhood, but was unsuccessful, he said.

The woman believes the intruder entered her home because she had left the garage door open, he said.

"We really want to emphasize that people need to close their doors and lock them," Consentino said.

The home invasion remains under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Phil Farrar at 362-4001.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Post this please!


The posting for tonight's meeting went up sometime AFTER 8:15am THIS MORNING!

The Right to know law REQUIRES posting in TWO public places for a period of at least 24 hours prior to the meeting EXCLUDING Sundays and Holidays!

Even this basic selectmen's duty, our board can't get right. This is not the first time this has happened, there have been many occasions where the meeting is posted on Sunday. Or only in one publicly accessible place.

Give'm Enough Rope- From Ed Naile @ CNHT

From Ed Naile at

Give'm Enough Rope

As usual, I got a tip that a public body was going to have a “non-public” meeting which was in all likelihood a public meeting that just innocently wandered off the path. In this case it was this Friday, Sept. 26 morning at the Attorney General’s Office – Charitable Trust Division in Concord. The attendees were to be two Atkinson Selectmen and their new Town Administrator. Throw in another guy, our surprise attendee, an activist Atkinson taxpayer we will call, “Mark”. Mark spotted a posting of a non-public meeting at the AG’s office and called me as well.

Terry Knowles of the Charitable Trust Division let Mark and me into the meeting, which turned out to be more educational than anything - and for good cause. (CNHT LIKES Mrs. Knowles, she is one of the State Employees we count on to do the right thing every time, she rarely disappoints.)

For some time, the Town of Atkinson has had to put up with a big, fat, sore spot known as - the part time police chief/full time huge liability. He is one, Chief Consentino.

Chiefo Consentino has had some “problems” with a slush fund of donated money he has control of. The donations were to the Town of Atkinson Police Department which is dominated by Chiefo Consentino and his merry band of Chiefetts.

Here is how the deal works:

Chiefo hauls grateful senior citizens to doctor appointments in a taxpayer-funded patrol car looking vehicle – at very questionable expense to Atkinson taxpayers, even the ones who don’t use his service. The grateful seniors make donations, write letters, defend the idiot chiefo through his many lawsuits and stupid actions – and prop up his political career with votes.

Nice gig if the Chiefo likes ya – not so much if you are subject to his tiny-minded wrath. (See lawsuits involving this dope on the CNHT web site.)

Enter the AG’s Office and the slush funds. They are not quite LEGAL.

This leaves the Atkinson Selectmen and the Chiefo in a quandary. From what I can see, several of the Atkinson Selectmen want to follow the law and are learning how to set up proper funds for tax-free donations to the PD.

Chiefo Carpentino, on the other hand, has already started his own 501(c)3 to stash donations without any supervision except the Chiefetts. This is most likely doomed to fail but until CNHT gets the MANDATORY filings Chiefo has to submit, we will not know for sure. I have a hunch Chiefo will use his expert bully skills to try something slippery here as well.

Back to the AG’s office:

When Terry Knowles introduced me to the Atkinson Selectmen she mentioned I was a former selectman myself. I let them know I was there in my capacity as CNHT Chairman.

What the Atkinson Board does not know is how far back Mrs. Knowles and I go. They should take a look at what can happen in small town politics, especially in light of what they are going through.

Back in 1991 Mrs. Knowles was a selectman in the town of Weare. My Right to Know case in Deering, right next door to Weare, led to the temporary arrest of three selectmen and the crooked road agent they were hell-bent on protecting. The Deering Selectmen had to abolish the police department and wait out their trial date to avoid prosecution.

Hmmmm, protect bozo, get arrested and/or humiliated. Sound like something that could happen in another town?

Just a few years ago, Terry Knowles, like every other citizen who attended, sat at her Weare Deliberative Session and watched me dismantle the career of the then Police chief, Miles Rigney, someone cut from the same bully cloth as the Atkinson Chiefo. The voters of Weare sided with my arguments regarding a warrant article to make Rigney’s position elected instead of appointed and what do you know – no more Miles Rigney.

Now Weare has gone from the laughing stock of local police departments to a quiet, stable one. There are few areas in need of improvement, but it is vastly improved.

Take a hint Atkinson Selectmen! Do the right thing. It will only hurt for a while but the whole community will be better.

Don’t let yourselves or any portion of your community be bullied.

Take Note Atkinson Selectmen; Newton tightens up water regulations

From the Eagle Tribune;

Newton tightens up water regulations

By Jarret Bencks

September 29, 2008 12:26 am

NEWTON — Any company or individual applying for a water franchise or personal well will now have to go through the town's Planning Board before submitting an application to the state.

Planners on Tuesday unanimously approved new rules aimed at giving the town more authority over its water supply and more notice upon submissions of water franchise requests.

The rules, submitted by board alternate and Rep. Mary Allen, restrict companies or individuals from trucking or piping water from Newton to be used elsewhere.

The new rules also require any organization seeking a water franchise in town to notify the Planning Board. If it does not approve the water franchise, the request could still go to the state, but the Planning Board would notify the Department of Environmental Services of its disapproval, Allen said.

This summer, Hampstead Area Water Co. submitted a request to the state for a 642-acre franchise in Newton to supply water to the Sargent Woods development and nearby homes.

The company reduced its proposal to just the 66 acres the development sits on after a public hearing in July, where many residents and officials voiced their objections. The scaled-back proposal for water withdrawal was approved by the Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 8.

Atkinson residents also have taken action in an attempt to protect the town's water supply. Voters overwhelmingly approved new ordinances that adopted the town's water withdrawal ordinance as a health ordinance, and put restrictions on water withdrawals in town during a Special Town Meeting earlier this month.

Selectmen and Planning Board members in Atkinson have objected to the new ordinances, asserting they are illegal and could bring the town into a long legal battle.

Newton Planning Board member Jim Doggett said he believes the rules in his town are within state regulations. "If you read our set of rules, they're very simple in language," Doggett said. "They are in our regulations and I think the Planning Board is willing to defend them."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Selectmen Shenanigans Again???

Yes Everyone, the long awaited, much anticipated meeting with Terry Knowles from the Attorney Generals Office is on for tomorrow at 10:00 am at the Attorney General's office on Capitol St. in Concord. There is only one problem....

The Meeting posting lists the meeting as starting at 10:00am and going into Non-Public session under RSA91-A:3, II (e) "Pending Litigation" WTH???

WHAT pending litigation?

They have been touting this meeting as getting direction on the handling of the donation account money through the Trustees of the Trust Funds, and discussing the splitting up of the PD and elderly affairs, NONe of which has anything to do with a lawsuit, nor is any of it grounds for a non public meeting!

What do our selectmen have to hide, that they can not just post it as a meeting? Let's be honest, how many people would drive to Concord for this if it were posted honestly and correctly? probably none, so why the need to post it as a non public? what are they trying to hide?

(Putting on my tin foil hat)

Here is a conspiracy theory for you...

They have the meeting with Ms. Knowles, they show her the signed letters authorizing the transfer to the chief's new slush fund. She says great!

They show her the transfer of the rest of the money to the Trustees of the Trust Funds, and ask for her guidance in setting up the Trust Fund, She says Great!

They come back and at their workshop, they announce that they are NOt going to separate the two depts. because it can only run effectively out of the PD, and it will be too costly to separate, yada, yada, yada, and they talked about this with Terry Knowles and they have her blessing. When in reality they never talked about separating the depts. with her.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Atkinson girl hits the silver screen

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson girl hits the silver screen
By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON — Emily Stikeman used to search the game aisle at toy stores, looking for her face on the back of a box.

But the young actress will soon have to gape at the big screen to spot herself.

Although the 12-year-old Timberlane Regional Middle School student spends most of her time studying, dancing and swimming, Emily's budding acting career took off earlier this year when she was cast in the lead role as Louisa May Alcott in a PBS documentary. She previously performed small parts in commercials and appeared in toy advertisements.

"Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women" premieres at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston this month. The film received the grand prize at the recent Providence Film Festival.

Since her role in the Alcott film, she's played a prisoner of war in Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island," a student in "The Box" with Cameron Diaz, and Anne Hathaway's bridesmaid and student in "Bride Wars." For the last movie, she even had her own trailer. The films won't be released until next year.

"It's a lot of hard work, but it usually pays off," the humble actress said.

Her friends and classmates barely know about the young star. Emily doesn't talk about it much, especially since she never knows if her brief appearances will be cut when the film is edited.

But her performance in the Alcott documentary remained intact. It's the largest role Emily has been cast in — she plays 10-year-old Alcott for 15 of the film's 82 minutes.

In a single nine-hour day, Emily learned what it's like to have to shoot and reshoot scene after scene, all while wearing what she said were five, musty layers of clothing in the blazing heat.

"It was tiring," she said.

Emily has had an agent since she was 3, but hasn't received any professional training. A family friend got her older sister, Taylor, 14, interested in acting in commercials and Emily soon followed in her footsteps, going to auditions about once a month and winning small roles. She has done commercials for Papa Gino's, Liberty Mutual and even Fixodent, to name a few.

Now, Emily can't even remember how many roles she's had.

Becoming an actress involves a lot of driving to the Boston area and some long, odd hours, but Emily's mother, Chris, doesn't mind.

"Boston is part-time acting," Chris said. "It's few and far between. If she gets it, great. If not, oh well."

But with so many movies being filmed in Boston recently, Emily has been spoiled by receiving extra parts in addition to help with her hair, makeup and wardrobe. In "Bride Wars," she wears a Vera Wang gown fitted just for her, but that she didn't get to keep.

Her next goal is to appear in another movie, but she's shooting for only a line or two, again — at least for now.

"I want to hopefully, maybe, star in some movie as the main character someday," Emily said. "If it doesn't work out, I still want to be involved as a director or a writer because I like writing. So, I have a backup plan."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Remember the Falsifying Sick time pay issue? Here is how Mass deals with it.

From the Boston Herald;

Statie cruising on your dime, but not in a cruiser
By Howie Carr | Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | | Columnists
Photo by Riptide Charters screenshot

Happy Birthday, Mass. State Trooper Terry Nugent!

The pride of Troop D turns 37 today, and for his present he gets to be this week’s poster boy for the Vote Yes on Question 1 campaign to abolish the state income tax.

According to the I-Team on Channel 4, Nugent has been running a charter-fishing business, while working out of the Bourne barracks. Base pay in 2007: $70,794.60.

With overtime etc.: $84,591.

Only problem is, the trooper can’t stop posting about his adventures - on the open sea, not Route 6. And according to Ch. 4, it appears that on some of the days he was “gone fishing,” he was also calling in sick.

Here is his defense, as posted on yesterday morning:

“First I’d like to say that all of this has stemmed from an ANONYMOUS complaint letter . . . The complainant chose to hide their identity.”

Yep, that’s what “ANONYMOUS” usually means. But why would anyone want his name attached to a dime-drop on a guy with a badge and a gun?

“They found a couple of instances where I had taken sick leave or family sick leave and I had fishing reports posted for the following day.”

And those suspicious bleepity-bleeps immediately jumped to their own damn conclusions. Did I mention Riptide Charter’s rates? A half-day inshore for bass and bluefish is $600, a full day $900. Canyon trips, which run 14 to 18 hours, will run you $1,950. He’s also available for “Speaking Engagements.”

How much would it cost to book Trooper Nugent for “How Great Is It To Have a State Job!”

“At this point IA (Internal Affairs) has not found grounds to charge me with any wrongdoing.”

What a surprise. As Juvenal once said, “Who will guard the guards themselves?”

In the old days, it would have taken a lot of time to bag someone like Trooper Nugent. You’d need a Deep Throat down on the docks. Then you’d have to stake out his berth with a camera crew, and bag him coming off the boat, all the while hoping like hell that he’d phoned in sick, instead of taking a vacation day off.

Now, though, with the Internet, the guy hangs himself. On Aug. 25, 2007, he happily posted a note about his new boat under “Rippy Got a New Ride.” It’s a real beauty - “the new Contender 33T!!!”

Delivery was scheduled for the next Wednesday or Thursday. Ch. 4 reports that he banged in sick the following Wednesday.

According to his payroll records, Nugent called in sick May 18, May 25 and June 15, and then went fishing, according to his postings, which he assured us yesterday are always factual because “I have always believed that being honest with my reports was a major factor in building a successful business.”

Yes, Trooper, we can all agree, honesty is the best policy. Like on June 15, when you called in sick, and advised your angler pals, “Take a day off-call in sick.”

The problem is, if you have a job in the Dreaded Private Sector, you can get fired for doing that. Probably won’t, in most cases, but you are at risk. Most people in the DPS don’t have a powerful union covering their backs at every turn.

“It would seem that my honesty in posting details of my daily agenda may in turn be the lynchpin (sic) in this situation.”

No, Trooper, no one is questioning whether you were honest with your buddies, and potential customers, at The question is, were you honest with the MSP brass, and the taxpayers who paid for your, ahem, sick days, and for the OT to whoever had to replace you on the Cape.

Every week, there’s at least one or two more excellent examples of why you need to vote yes on Question 1, to abolish the 5.3 percent Mass. state income tax. Last week it was the no-shows at the T, one of whom is the brother of a former judge and state rep. Before that, it was the sticky-fingered Mass Pike toll takers, and the T thief at Kenmore Station, and the Boston firefighter who claimed he was unable to work because of an injury yet could still take part in body-building contests.

This is how they’re squandering your money in the hackerama. They’re not spending it “for the children,” they’re spending it on themselves. And guess what - chances are, they’re make a lot more money than you do for a lot less work, and behind the “job” comes the 80 percent pension, not to mention the health care.

Happy Birthday, Trooper Nugent. Is that a day off too under your contract?
Article URL:

Ok, so what is the difference between this cop calling in sick, to make money fishing, and Lt. Baldwin calling in sick to go to Nat. Guard Summer Camp. They are both being paid both by their jobs, and making money on the outside for the same hours. They both violated official policy.


Our Chief of Police ADMITTED filing flase sick time vouchers for Lt. Baldwin for 6 years!

315 of you voted here on this site, 93% saying he should be fired or suspended over this, but our selectmen did nothing.

Atkinson board, lawyer to discuss water issues

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson board, lawyer to discuss water issues
By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON — Residents asked the selectmen Monday night to intervene in Hampstead Area Water Co.'s applications with the state.

John Wolters and Bill Bennett addressed the selectmen about carrying out the "will of the voters" who approved water-related warrant articles at special town meetings both this month and a year ago.

Selectmen and Planning Board members had spoken against the warrant articles, which all passed.

But officials otherwise have remained silent on the water company's active attempts to increase the amount of water it withdraws from town and to borrow $1.1 million from the state to lay new pipes along Main Street to connect Atkinson's water system to Hampstead's.

"I understand your misgivings," Bennett said. "If you think those ordinances are not the best way to protect Atkinson's groundwater resources, please work on alternative approaches."

Selectmen agreed to meet with town attorney Sumner Kalman to discuss the water issues. They also said they plan to hold a public hearing soon to formally adopt the water withdrawal ordinance as a health ordinance, as voters approved earlier this month.

Wolters told the selectmen that Kalman has written such petitions for Newton and Plaistow to intervene and protect groundwater in those towns. Wolters petitioned to intervene in the loan application with the state Public Utilities Commission last month, but said a petition from the town would carry more weight. The deadline to intervene is at the end of October.

Selectmen didn't necessarily agree.

"We can write a letter saying we're against what they want to do, but we can't stop them," Selectman Fred Childs said.

Selectmen's Chairman Paul Sullivan took copies of Kalman's old documents to bring to their meeting with the lawyer, saying he wanted to be "armed" with all the information available.

Atkinson library to close in anticipation of move

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson library to close in anticipation of move
By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON — This is the last week residents will have access to library materials until mid-October.

Kimball Library will close its doors at 3 Academy Avenue for good on Saturday at 3 p.m., and reopen at 5 Academy Avenue on Oct. 14, according to library director Diane Heer. On Oct. 1 and 2, the books, music and movies will be moved to the new $2 million library, she said.

Staff members also will use the remaining time to get acclimated to new shelves, spaces and computer systems, Heer said.

Cardholders who check out materials this week can keep them until the library reopens, she said. But people who have books out now that they are finished with are asked to return them before Saturday.

They can also return books to the drop box outside the library, Heer said.

Everything is running on schedule, she said. The construction is completed and furniture is being delivered.

All of the technology, from public computers to check-out systems, is scheduled to be set up this week, she said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. State officials, including the state librarian, are expected to attend, Heer said.

Every household, as a thank-you for passing the library bond in 2006, will receive an invitation in the mail, she said. People will be able to tour the new facility after the grand opening but can't borrow materials that day, Heer said.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is Jack Sapia starting his Run for Office in 2009?


Is Jack Sapia starting his Run for Office in 2009?

It has been commented on in the Eagle Tribune's blog, that for the last couple of selectmens meetings former(thank GOD!) selectman, Jack Sapia, has been holding court in the back of the room, in essence conducting his own meeting, while the selectmens meeting is going on. He has been talking, not quietly, can be heard on the camera, and generally being rude to the sitting board trying to conduct the town's business.

see the comments posted below;

While watching the Atkinson Selectmen's Meeting this evening, Jack Sapia, a former selectman, was holding his own meeting in the back of the room. He was talking to anyone and everyone who happened to come into the room. While HE was in office as selectman, he never would have allowed anyone to carry on private converstions while he was conducting a meeting. He was rude while he was in office and he is still rude!!! Cairnmum


While watching the Atkinson Selectmen's Meeting this evening, Jack Sapia, a former selectman, was holding his own meeting in the back of the room. He was talking to anyone and everyone who happened to come into the room. While HE was in office as selectman, he never would have allowed anyone to carry on private conversations while he was conducting a meeting. He was rude while he was in office and he is still rude!!!

The public will surely remember the numerous meetings where Mr. Sapia, admonished the people in the audience of the meetings to be quiet, because their conversations were rude to the selectmen conducting business, but he evidently, can not grant the current board the same courtesy.

Given all the controversies concerning his actions, or lack of actions, during his term, we can only hope that he chooses to remain out of the public eye, for the good of the town.

Remember, Jack, there is a sign in the town clerk's office that says; "what happens in Atkinson, Stays in Atkinson", but that is not true. During your reign, what happened in Atkinson, got plastered all over the Eagle Tribune, and got picked up by AP/UPI?Reuters, and splashed over other newspapers and the internet, and ended up in Court costing the taxpayers THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, and much loss of face.

Dont do this to us again.

New Town Administrator to Make $75,000!

Read in the Eagle Tribune this morning;

No wonder the selectmen wanted this one kept quiet!

While this represents a $13,000 increase over Russ' salary, the lack of benefits for the first two years will even it out. But after that, watch out!

Watching the meeting last night, we were encouraged to see Mr. Angelo, ask the selectmen what They wanted to do, demonstrating that he, at least, understands his role as the functionary carrying out their orders, This is already an improvement over Russ, who told the selectmen what he could or would do. But it still appears that the Town is willing to pay a Town Manager Salary, for a Town Administrator position.

For those who do not understand the difference,

A TOWN MANAGER has fiduciary responsibilities similar to those of selectmen, or mayors. He can hire and fire, set policies, and oversee depts.

a TOWN ADMINISTRATOR is basically a glorified secretary. He has no statutory authority unless the selectmen expressly give it to him. So he can carry out their orders, and do basic administrative functions for them, but he has no budgetary authority, no authority to hire, fire, negotiate contracts, or sign contracts, without such authority being granted by the selectmen or the voters.

The selectmen allowed Russ to act almost as a Town Manager, signing, and negotiating contracts, interviewing, and overseeing depts. All things that the selectmen should have been doing, but were happy to have Russ do for them.

Selectman Friel states in the paper, "that the selectmen didn't specifically look at the total cost of the previous TA's pay and bene package, in preparing to hire a new TA."


This is taxpayer money! How can you hire someone without an idea of their pay range, based upon what you have previously been paying that position?

As a Selectman, how can you not know what your own direct report Town Administrator makes?

Did anyone look at what Town Administrators in other towns make, not Town Managers?

This doesn't pass the smell test, but at least it is a hell of a lot better, than how we usually conduct business.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Missed deadline for grant shelves Hazardous Waste Day

Missed deadline for grant shelves Hazardous Waste Day
By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON, N.H. — There won't be a Household Hazardous Waste Day this fall because the town didn't apply for the state grant to help fund it.

Town officials announced last week they would not hold the collection because of a lack of state funding. But Road Agent Ted Stewart said yesterday there wasn't any funding because he missed the grant application deadline and thought it was too late.

"I'm not familiar with the system," he said. "I learned the hard way that you have to apply a year in advance of when you are responsible for the project."

Atkinson, Danville, Hampstead, Kingston and Plaistow hold their household hazardous waste days together each year — Plaistow hosts the spring collections and the other towns trade off hosting in the fall.

They typically get up to 50 percent of the funding from the state — or almost $6,000, according to Dean Robinson, the state's household hazardous waste coordinator. In this case, one town usually applies as the grantee and the others do a promissory note saying they will pay their percentage of the cost, he said.

But none of the towns have received the grant recently, Robinson said. Plaistow asked four months too late and the $200,000 in grant money had already been distributed for the 2009 fiscal year, he said.

Kingston applied on time the previous year, but never signed and returned the contract, Robinson said. The grant cycle is announced each October and towns have two months to decide to apply. Robinson can squeeze a town in late, but has to have his numbers finalized by April 1.

He divides up the $200,000 grant based on the populations of towns that applied. It used to be that some smaller towns were denied the small amount of funding they needed, but he said that stopped when he took over last year.

"I try to make sure hazardous waste doesn't go into solid waste (if a town doesn't hold a collection) because it is a health hazard," Robinson said.

Stewart said that he was at a training session in April when he heard from Robinson that the money was no longer available for the current year and may not be in the future. Robinson denied that his funding, which comes from the state hazardous waste cleanup fund, would be cut.

"As far as I know, I haven't heard anything," he said.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How did the Selectmen transfer $6500 of our money to a new Non- profit?

Yes, you read that right!

At last night's meeting, without any notice on the agenda, without any public hearing on the matter, the selectmen approved the transfer of $6,500 into Phil's new Private Non Profit Slush Fund, ooops, we are sorry, Charitable Organization!

So, how did that happen?

We have heard Phil say many times that money can only be taken out of that fund by public hearing. But they took $6,500 out last night with no prior notice to the public!

With all this controversy about transacting business out of the public eye, you would think they would do everything possible to be as open and honest as possible, but no!

What does this group have to hide, that they can not do things in public view, with proper, legal notice to the public?

Selectmen, These questions MUST BE ANSWERED!

Atkinson finds a new town administrator

Article Submission please:

Atkinson finds a new town administrator

By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON — After seven months without a permanent town administrator, a former Massachusetts state representative suddenly took over the job yesterday.

Selectmen met in nonpublic session at 7:30 a.m., with Steven Angelo of East Falmouth, Mass., to complete the negotiations before finalizing their decision last night, according to Chairman Paul Sullivan. Angelo started immediately.

Selectmen began their search in February after Town Administrator Russell McAllister left to work as a local government adviser in Iraq.

The board hired Craig Kleman on an interim basis in April, but he took a similar temporary job in Plaistow in mid-July. That left Atkinson without a finalist.

Selectmen stopped talking publicly about the search at that point, and didn't announce anything until yesterday.

Sullivan said the selectmen returned to their original applicant list this summer. They interviewed two candidates and, during Angelo's interview, Sullivan said the board members all knew he was who they wanted.

"(Angelo) brings a wealth of experience and he seems to have a nice way of dealing with people," Sullivan said.

He would not say how much Angelo will earn.

"We're going to leave salary as a personnel issue," Sullivan said. "That will come up at budget time. I do think he absolutely was a good value for the money, I really do."

Angelo, 56, served as a state representative in Saugus, Malden, Lynn and Lynnfield for 20 years, and chaired the Government Regulations and the Natural Resources and Agriculture joint committees for 12 of those years.

In 2003, Saugus selectmen asked him to serve as an interim town manager. Angelo said he loved the job, and signed on as the permanent manager six months later.

He also worked as the town manager in Winchester, Conn., before spending the last couple of years as the chief operating officer for a company that ran the Massachusetts Enhanced Emissions program for motor vehicles.

Angelo said yesterday his plans for Atkinson include increasing the general fund, keeping taxes low, and being accessible to residents.

Angelo hopes to set up specific hours for residents to drop by Town Hall to discuss their concerns. Outside of those hours, Angelo said he will be accessible by phone.

Although he has lived on Cape Cod for the last few years, Angelo is familiar with the area.

His brother, Lenny, has lived in Atkinson for 30 years. He also has family from Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass. He graduated from Merrimack College.

Angelo said he will move to the area soon and that his wife and 10-year-old son will relocate here at the end of the school year.

September 16, 2008 8:24 AM

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One Reader's Concerns about Elderly Affairs

Please accept as an ARTICLE SUBMISSION

One Reader's Concerns about Elderly Affairs

If I could speak to all of the people in town that have benefited from the Elderly Affairs Dept, here is what I would say. Please hear me out.

First and foremost, my belief is the overwhelming majority of the town thinks we should keep funding services for Elderly Affairs. When I retire, I hope I have access to this service if I should ever need it. I think it is a great idea and a great service. And the cost is by no means a budget buster. So I do not believe the notion that so many people want it to go away.

But there is a problem that many voters see. And the problem from our perspective is that the group in need of these services most is being taken advantage of and manipulated for their votes. Whenever the chief wants something voted in line with something that he wants, he calls in his "chits", and advises his elderly "clients" that his opponents of wanting to cut the Dept. of Elderly Affairs. This is designed to get all of those obligated to him to cast their votes in line with his position.

He did it again at Candidates Night 2007 when he accused two of the budget committee candidates of being against the Dept. of Elderly Affairs and led listeners to believe these two candidates wanted to cut funding for it. He has done this before. Think about it. Think about when he ran for election and scared elderly voters into thinking the town wanted to do away with the Elderly Affairs Dept unless he got elected. The fear tactic he used worked. The chief was elected and his subsequent misuse of taxpayer trust and taxpayer dollars that followed is all recorded on video tape, in the newspapers and in the courts. It got so bad the town overwhelmingly voted last year to prevent town employees from serving as elected officials again - to prevent future conflicts of interest.

Here is what I find troubling about having law enforcement run Elderly Affairs in town.

- If the motive of the Atkinson PD was in good faith, this would be a kind service to people in need. But there is no “free ride”.
But I see the trade off is a vote. Personally, I would not want to be obligated to any one person or organization for my vote, EVER. And then there are the “donations” that get solicited. I can’t imagine a more inappropriate thing than to have a police officer give a needy elderly person a ride (for “free”) and also solicit the same people for a donation to the PD. We have to face the fact that we are talking about some of our most vulnerable citizens, here. My hope is that no lines have been crossed but I am suspicious.

- It would be less problematic if all Elderly Affairs related information was available to the Selectmen for oversight. But under the guise of “confidentiality”, Selectmen do not know who uses the Elderly Affairs service, how often, where to, how many miles, how much time is taken by drivers, etc. etc. So we don’t know if anyone is abusing the service, including the PD. The whole town does not need to know this information as long as the Selectmen had oversight. Then it would not be an issue. But the chief has been asked and he refuses to provide this information. Why won’t he provide it? What is the big deal? I mean, he doesn’t have anything to hide, right? The reality is he does not want to give up his secret list of voters that he counts on for political support. Is he supposed to be running the PD or is he running a political organization?

- Nor do we know about the all of the donations – other than a few publicly stated items. Donations to any police officer must be publicly tracked as town funds. If not, as far as I am concerned, the “donation” becomes clouded. Again, the lack of Selectmen oversight and the chief’s refusal to cooperate and answer questions leave the chief looking guilty – even if he isn’t.

- Use of taxpayer funds for police run concerts and to send out greeting cards signed, not by the town, but by a person. I am sorry, but both you and I helped pay for the cards and the concerts and rides and everything else. For him to take all the credit for Elderly Affairs services is an insult to taxpayers who are footing the bill with our hard earned money. Time after time, he paints the taxpayers as the bad guys who want to eliminate Elderly Affairs and that he is the only hero that will save it. This is a classic manipulation game. As one of the people FUNDING this service, I feel like I am being slandered unfairly - just because I believe Elderly affairs should not be managed by our Police. That’s right, I think it should be managed by a town employee who has no political axes to grind. And town volunteers should be allowed to contribute their time and resources, if they so choose, which would help keep down costs. the chief would be free to volunteer his time if he wanted to. I don't think anyone would be against it. Now what is wrong with that idea? Salem Caregivers accept help from volunteers. But we are paying our PD to do it. Something is wrong with this picture.

- Law enforcement should be doing one and only one thing: enforcing the law. That is what we are paying them to do and that is all they should be doing. Anything other than police work on police time, in my opinion, is simply not in the taxpayer’s best interest. I could go on, here.

In summary, the Dept. of Elderly Affairs should not be run by law enforcement. It should be run by a town employee that is as disconnected from any political activities as possible. It should not be tied to our police or fire dept. or any other official type of organization or elected official. Why not consider the Recreation Dept? In general, that is what the budget committee candidates were saying. But they can’t come out and directly say it or the chief will pull out the scare card so that good, qualified people will be voted against for allegedly being “Against Elderly Affairs”.

That is the problem we see. I know the chief has established long term relationships with many of the people that use or have used the Elderly Affairs services. As a taxpayer, I feel like my contribution toward this service has been pushed aside and, personally, I am fed up with the whole charade.

I am disgusted and tired of seeing any law enforcement officials misuse their position of power and trust to manipulate elderly voters in OUR town. But don’t take my word for it. The next time he pulls out the “Scare Card”, listen carefully to what is being said or asked for…..because there is no such thing a free ride from the Atkinson Dept. of Elderly Affairs -as long as it is run by law enforcement.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There is a new Poll! Be SURE TO VOTE!

Timberlane relies on police to handle truancy

From the Eagle-Tribune;

Timberlane relies on police to handle truancy
By Meghan Carey

PLAISTOW, N.H. — One middle-schooler had a strange wake-up call Wednesday morning.

His mother called police at 7:22 a.m. because he wouldn't get out of bed, according to Deputy Chief Kathleen Jones. The student may have been tardy for the school day's 7:30 a.m. start, but he went.

"This happens once and a while," Jones said. "Kids refuse to go to school or won't get up. ... We will generally send an officer out. I'd say 99 percent of the time, the child then complies and will go to school."

The Timberlane Regional School Board voted in May to hire a truant officer on a contractual basis to help get more students into their seats. But police are still acting as the district's truant officers, Jones said.

School Board member Michael Mascola said yesterday he hadn't heard that the position had been filled.

The district has had $1,100 in its budget for a truant officer for a few years now, but never hired anyone.

Truancy becomes habitual at 20 1/2 absences or when the school disagrees with a parent's excuse for an absent student.

Last year, at least 13 students at the high school were habitually truant. That number was down from 28 and 33 students in the two prior years.

The school district lets the Police Department know of any students who have frequent truancy problems, Jones said. School Resource Officer Joan Marsilia then handles those cases at the high school and Sgt. Glenn Miller — the department's juvenile prosecutor — handles the middle school cases, she said.

But any police officer can take care of a random call about a sleepy student.

"We all work together," Jones said.

If and when the school district hires a truant officer, police would be called in only if that person thought the issue went beyond a child not wanting to attend school, she said. Police would step in if a child was being abused, neglected or involved with drugs or alcohol.

Superintendent Richard La Salle did not return phone calls yesterday.

Selectmen still haven't Followed AGO's suggestions! WHY?

From the Eagle Tribune! A heart felt Thank you to Meagan Carey for this story.

ATKINSON, N.H. — Selectmen still haven't addressed letters from the state attorney general's charitable trust unit.

The letters, the first of which dates back eight weeks, direct the board to re-examine the elderly affairs program. Terry Knowles, director of the unit, suggested the board establish a clear boundary between the role of director of elderly affairs and the job of police chief. Right now, both of those posts are held by Philip Consentino. How he runs his departments, solicits donations and spends them prompted resident complaints to the charitable trust unit.

Consentino has done his part, or is in the process of it. He established a new nonprofit group, the Atkinson Police Charitable Fund, and a board of directors.

He said he is getting permission from past donors to transfer a total of $19,700 from the police donation account to the new nonprofit organization. As of yesterday, Consentino said he had most of the needed permission.

But the selectmen have taken no action.

At their meeting Aug. 25, selectmen Chairman Paul Sullivan read excerpts from Knowles' letter of Aug. 5. Afterward, Sullivan said he wanted to separate the departments and the discussion should take place at a workshop.

Selectmen agreed to discuss the elderly affairs program at a workshop this week, to be scheduled at their meeting Sept. 8. But they didn't schedule anything, Selectman Fred Childs said.

He said the board is waiting for Consentino.

"Phil's been getting all his ducks in a row," Childs said yesterday. "He's doing everything he's been told to do. We're waiting for him to finish that."ù

Consentino said yesterday he thought the selectmen decided to hold the workshop on Sept. 23. On that day, he plans to discuss transferring the money and closing the two remaining accounts, the Senior Donation Fund and the DARE Fund. There is less than $50 in each of those accounts, and Consentino tried to close them before, but Sullivan would not let him.

Consentino said he anticipates a battle with the chairman at the upcoming workshop.

"The main thing is he wants to take elderly affairs away from the (Police Department),"ù Consentino said of Sullivan. "It's not a good idea, especially when you've got someone to do it for free."

Consentino works part time as police chief and volunteers as the director of elderly affairs. If he's given an ultimatum, Consentino said he would have to think about which to choose.

"I'd have to sit back and make a hard decision," he said. "But I don't think that will become a reality. It takes two to tango. It takes two selectmen to make (a vote) work."

ù Sullivan did not return phone calls yesterday.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How to Physically Separate Police and Elderly Affairs?

MAcciard said...

Please accept this article submission;

It was 2001 and I joined the Budget Committee. That was the year a new committeeman, not knowing the powers he was angering, asked the director of Elderly Affairs;

How many people use the service?

How many rides do you give?

It was Jane Cole who leaned over to me and whispered; "Mark, you had better drive 25mph, through town for the rest of your life." I laughed not understanding what she meant.

They say, in Federal Politics that Social Security is the "third Rail" of politics, well in Atkinson, Elderly Affairs is that third rail.

No one, Myself or the budget committee included, has ever mentioned, discussed, or attempted to restrict, reduce, or otherwise terminate the elderly affairs program. I know, that is not what you all have been told, but that is nevertheless the truth.

The budget committee tried from 2001- 2006 to get some accountability,transparency, and truth in that depts. budget. It wasn't until 2005, that Bill Anderson let it slip in a budget meeting that 61 residents used the program that year. In response to the same question in 2006, his answer was "81". In 2007, the chief said 240 residents got rides that year! WOW, a 400% increase!

I, for one, am encouraged to see that the Attorney Generals office agrees with what the budget committee has been trying to do for 7 years. In 2003, we succeeded in separating the budgets, but it was the job of the selectmen to split the depts, and neither selectman, Consentino, DeRocher, or Boyle were of a mind to do that.

But, in practice, there has never been any separation in the budgets, and in this both the selectmen and the budget committee have failed miserably. Here is one example; GAS; Elderly affairs budgetted $1,350.00 in Gas. Each month as the expense reports come out there is no expenditures for gas, then in Sept., 3 weeks before the start of budget season, $1,350 is expended out of elderly affairs gas line. No accountability! The rest of the gas used comes out of the police dept. budget.

The problem with this practice is that both the selectmen and the budget committee present a budget to the voters, and the voters approve expending that much money for that purpose. The budget is presented as $19,000 for elderly affairs, when everyone involved in the process knows to be accurate it would be closer to $40,000.

While the selectmen have the authority to move money "when changes unforeseen occur", this was totally forseeable. And when have the "public discussions" taken place notifying the voters that a line item was going to be overspent, and money taken out of another? Answer: never!

Think about it, How many dozens of times have you seen, say... Teddy, come into a selectmen's meeting to let the board know that one of his lines was going to go over budget, and he needed permission to spend more money, say salt or sand when we have a bad winter?

Now, how many times have you seen the Director of Elderly Affairs come into a selectmen's meeting and say, that his Gas line is going to overexpend, and he needs more money? It rarely, if ever, happens, the selectmen just pay the bills.

This is wrong, and the people have a right to know how their money is being spent. This isnt about the program, or who runs it, It is about transparency in government, this is a taxpayer funded program, and should be accountable to the people.

Mark Acciard

Monday, September 8, 2008

Atkinson Special Town Meeting is tomorrow

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson Special Town Meeting is tomorrow
By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON, N.H. — At the polls tomorrow, voters will face three town warrant articles regarding groundwater as well as their options in the state primary.

The first article asks voters to make the town's water withdrawal control ordinance — which was enacted at a Special Town Meeting a year ago — a health ordinance to ensure the quality of drinking water. If approved, the ordinance would remain a town ordinance, as well.

The second is a lengthy amendment to that same ordinance, aimed at protecting the water supply by beefing up local laws and enforcement.

Selectmen and many Planning Board members have spoken out against the articles, saying their approval could bring the town into costly litigation.

But Carol Grant and John Wolters say the articles will strengthen the town's ability to prevent the Hampstead Area Water Co. from withdrawing large amounts of groundwater. The company has a petition to do so before the state Department of Environmental Services.

The final warrant article asks residents to classify seven wetlands as "prime wetlands," which would increase the buffer zone around them by 50 to 150 feet.

The Special Town Meeting is being held in conjunction with the primary to save money. The polls will be open at the Atkinson Community Center from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Important Elections Tuesday!


The Water Articles!

State Representatives!

State Representatives are important this year, because The race is Rep. Garrity vs. Town Tax collector Debra De Simone vs. Jack Hayes.

It is time for a change, Rep. Garrity has been a little disappointing, endorsing the excesses of our selectmen. And, unfortunately our tax collector, has no political experience outside of tax collecting for Atkinson.

We believe, it is time for a change. Time to stir things up a bit. Send a Maverick to the State House, send Jack Hayes!

Jack is a 33 year town resident and a former US Army Green Beret Captain, with extensive service in Vietnam. Jack is also very involved in veterans issues. Also a Former Teacher in Salem, NH, he is currently retired after 3 years of supplementing retirement, by substitute teaching, Jack has decided to throw his hat into the political ring. With aims to bring honesty, integrity, accountability to politics.

Atkinson could not possibly do better than to ELECT JACK HAYES TO STATE LEGISLATURE!

Water Ordinance voters, you have one chance in this election to send a rep to the State House that will STAND UP for the people who elected him!

What ever happened to the time card Falsification issue?

Who remembers the selectmen's workshop on Monday night May 12, 2008, which held many revelations?

One was that chief Consentino admitted "for the last 6 years" submitting sick pay vouchers for Lt. Baldwin when he does his Coast Guard Summer Camp, for 2 weeks every summer. This evidently fraudulent document submission troubles many who heard it.

Paul Sullivan read the Town's policy on sick pay, right from the employee handbook. This policy has been in place since chief was a selectmen, and yet he admits ignoring it. The policy is that the Town can not condone people taking sick pay if they are not sick, simple, right? What would happen if in the winter Lt. Baldwin actually did get sick and couldn't come into work? Does anyone believe that his SALARY is going to be docked for that day, because he has no sick time left?

Chief made a very compelling but false case for why his protege needs this time, because "it is not fair for him to not get paid while he is defending the country",
Well, Phil, summer camp is just that "camp"!, Training, meetings, job orientation to teach you everything you forgot since your last "summer camp"!, and he gets PAID VERY WELL FOR THIS!

This is from the pay charts at;

An e-7 with 12 years of service is earning $3,600/mo. in BASE PAY! That does not include entitlements. ie: rations pay, quarters allowance, VHA, COLA, Clothing allowance, separation pay, combat theatre pay(if that is the case). An E-7 with that amount of service, should be earning $2045.00 for that two weeks.

Set that against the $1,169.00/week that Lt. Baldwin makes in Atkinson. And he is leaving our town to go do training, and taking a pay cut of $144.00/week!

BUT NO.... He gets PAID BY THE TOWN FOR THESE TWO WEEKS AS WELL! This is your tax dollars at work.... According to the chief(because he has been signing and submitting these vouchers) He has been getting his $1,169.00 from the town PLUS his $1,022.50 from the military! WOW! WHAT A RACKET! Where I work this would be called FRAUD! and I would be fired if I had the basic level of dishonesty necessary to pull it off, not to mention the arrogance to tell the entire town about it on television!

Our spendthrift police chief also went on and on about how the town screwed the erstwhile Lt. over military pay 4 years ago, leaving the poor destitute Lt. to fight for his compensation. it was ALL False!

Got to and click on the selectmen's minutes form June 9,2003 if you don't believe me. Here is what happened, you judge for yourself who was right and who was trying to scam the town;

In March or April The Sgt. Baldwin received notice he would be deployed. He asked if the town would do anything for him. Then Selectmen Boyle assured him that the Town would pay the difference between his town pay and his military pay, and that he would not lose any money. That was the honorable and fair thing to do.

Before Sgt. Baldwin was deployed, the Town, at Mr. Boyle's behest, ADVANCED him $5,900.00, or 6 weeks pay so that his family would not suffer. The town directed him to furnish them with a copy of his Military Leave and Earnings Statement, so that they could calculate the difference between the two pay rates. Sgt. Baldwin, instead furnished the town with a commanders base pay letter, which only states his base pay and not all of his allowances, or extra pay. The town again asked for the leave and earnings statement. Sgt. Baldwin refused. Chief Consentino harangued the selectmen week after week, claiming they were "nickle and diming" the Sgt. Again, read the minutes through the summer of 2003, or look in the back issues of the Eagle Tribune for the stories about how his family was destitute, because of the town, most especially mr.Boyle's lack of compassion.

Here is the issue;

Sgt. Baldwins town pay at the time was approximately $4,228.00/ mo.
Commanders base pay letter showed a base pay letter showed a base pay of only $2,400.00/mo. or so.

The difference that Sgt. Baldwin was in effect trying to obtain, and chief was lobbying for was $511.51/wk. or $2,199.50/mo. See Selectmen's minutes May 19, 2003

When the LES was obtained it showed an ACTUAL DIFFERENCE in pay of only about $450.00/ MONTH!

This means that the chief and the Sgt. were trying to obtain from the town an extra $1,650.00 per month of our tax dollars, again in the private sector this would be called fraud, and would be grounds for firing!

Remember that through all of this the Sgt. was being paid by the military, his $4,500/mo or so, PLUS he had been advanced $5,900.00 from the town.

This frivolous, and dishonest philandering of tax dollars must stop, and it is the job of the selectmen to not only put a stop to it, but to FIRE those who are dishonest enough to do it!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Atkinson hires fifth full-time officer

From the Eagle Tribune

Atkinson hires fifth full-time officer
By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON, N.H. — The late Cpl. John Lapham may never be replaced in the hearts of his fellow officers, but a new hire will take his place as the department's fifth full-time officer.

Christopher Van Hirtum of Hudson is expected to start field training on Sept. 15, according to Lt. William Baldwin. Law enforcement officials from the Hampstead, Plaistow and Salem police departments, Rockingham County Jail and an Atkinson resident were on the committee that interviewed candidates for the opening because there were two internal candidates, Baldwin said.

It's yet to be determined what shift Van Hirtum will work because Baldwin said they plan to restructure the department. The new officer will make $20.16 an hour.

Van Hirtum will replace Lapham, who was diagnosed with acute leukemia in December and died in June.

The Police Department hired another part-time officer earlier this year to fill Lapham's position temporarily in the hope that Lapham would return to good health and to work.

Van Hirtum's arrival may solve Atkinson's staffing problem, but it creates one for Newton, where he's worked since 2005. Newton police Chief Larry Streeter planned to meet with the selectmen Tuesday night about replacing Van Hirtum.

"We have five (full timers)," Streeter said. "This leaves us with four and leaves us short-handed. We'll plug holes with part-time (officers) until we get someone on and up to speed. That process takes several months."

The Newton Police Department has 11 part-time officers who work Fridays and Saturdays. The full-time officers work two midnight and two evening shifts in a six-day rotation, which is part of the reason Streeter said Van Hirtum is leaving.

"His wife is pregnant with their first baby," Streeter said. "In Atkinson, it's closer to home and he's going to work Monday through Friday."

In addition to replacing Van Hirtum, Streeter said he will likely ask voters for a second time for a sixth full-time officer in March.

All the Atkinson Police Department has left to do is send someone to Drug Abuse Resistance Education training. Lapham was the department's DARE officer for Atkinson Academy. Plaistow Officer Patrick Schiavone filled in for him last year.

Atkinson will wait until after the shift restructuring to decide which of its full-time officers will attend the two-week training, Baldwin said. There are two sessions before DARE starts in January.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Atkinson police fund transfer not as simple as thought

From the Eagle-Tribune

Atkinson police fund transfer not as simple as thought
By Meghan Carey

ATKINSON, N.H. — Residents who have contributed to police Chief Philip Consentino's donation accounts in the past must be part of the next step in legalizing how the funds are handled.

And if those donors have since died, the town will have to petition the court to move the money.

The Charitable Trust Unit of the state attorney general's office has sent three letters to the town regarding Consentino's handling of the police donation accounts and the elderly affairs program. Each letter, including the one received last week, has outlined steps selectmen and Consentino must take to comply with state law.

Selectmen say they were never contacted by Terry Knowles of the Charitable Trust Unit during the three-month inquiry into the donation accounts. They also have not acted on any of the letters from Knowles. They plan to schedule a workshop session to discuss the issues next week.

Consentino has met with Knowles and established a nonprofit organization — ¬­¬­the Atkinson Police Charitable Fund — to handle the donations and their uses. He set up a board of directors, which has met and elected its officers. But the nonprofit group doesn't have any funding yet.

That's because state law won't allow Consentino to simply transfer the $19,7000 balance of the Atkinson Police Department's Donation/Equipment Fund to the new nonprofit group. Knowles' letter of Aug. 21 outlines how donors must give the town written permission to move their money.

Knowles was on vacation last week and could not be reached for comment.

"Therefore, if the original donor or donors are still living and can be identified, each donor has the legal authority to direct his or her donation be transferred from the custody of the town into the custody of the Atkinson Police Charitable Fund," Knowles wrote. "If the donor makes the decision to transfer the donation, he or she should notify the Town of Atkinson in writing. If the original donor or donors cannot be identified or is now deceased, it will be necessary to file a petition with the probate court seeking permission to transfer that particular donation to the Atkinson Police Charitable Fund."

Consentino says he knew of the regulation all along, and it won't be a problem or require court involvement. He has copies of the "tens of thousands" of donations he has received over the 14 years the elderly affairs program has been in existence.

He said he simply went through that paperwork and created form letters for donors to sign and return.

"I just need enough signatures that equal the amount of money that's in the fund," Consentino said.

In the letters, he included the amount of money they donated and asked them to check that they authorize the transfer, sign and return it. Their sum contributions have totaled more than Consentino can guess, so he said it will be easy to get $19,000 worth of donors to give him authorization.

"I used not even a third of the letters of the checks that were donated to us," he said. "It's not a hard job."

Letters have already started to trickle back to Consentino, and he said he was sure he'd have full permission by the next selectmen's meeting, scheduled for Sept. 8.

Whether Consentino's interpretation that he can get $19,700 worth of authorization from any donors and not the particular donors is accurate, is unclear.

Selectmen did not return numerous phone calls.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What is the true cost of Elderly Affairs?

MAcciard said

Article Submission Please;

I think we can all agree that this is a good program that should be continued, but it needs to be open, transparent, and accountable to both the selectmen, and the budget committee. It is not, and never has been.

Chief said that the elderly affairs dept. had given 1644 rides in 2007! 1644 rides! So I checked the town website for the town budget, and here is what I found out;

The Elderly Affairs Dept. budget for 2007 is: $17,821
included in this is:
Payroll: $15,300
FICA: $ 949
Medicare: $ 222
Vehicle insurance: 0
Gas: $ 1,350

Then I found out that the drivers make approx. $12.50/hr.

Now: $15,300 / $12.50 = 1,224 manhours.

This means that the 1,644 trips the chief CLAIMS have been provided this year averaged no more than 43min. per trip! This includes the driver picking up the car at the police staton where he presumably clocks in.

Then he drives to the residents house and picks them up.

He has to wait for the elderly person to get ready and get themselves into the car.

Then he drives to wherever. Waits for whatever they are doing and repeats the process in reverse.

ALL IN ONLY 43 MINUTES! How is this possible when we hear about the regular trips to Lahey Clinic in Burlington, To Boston, To Parkland in Derry, To Exeter Hospital, etc.

Now lets look at the Gas usage:

$1,350/ $3.50 a gallon= 385 gallons. Police cruisers average AT BEST 15 mpg. 385x 15= 5786 miles able to be driven within the budget.

5786 Miles/ 1644 trips = 3.52 miles average trip distance!
Distance from Police Station to the Holy Angels, without going to anyones house: 3 miles! ONE WAY!

This means a round trip DIRECTLY from the police station to Holy Angels and back is 6 miles!

By the way, There are been 260 weekdays in the year! This means 1644 rides / 260 weekdays= almost 6.32 rides per day! EACH AND EVERY DAY!

Once again chief is hamstrung by his own numbers!

In case you missed it this means SOMETHING DOESN'T ADD UP HERE! Chief always talks about his numbers; how many rides he gives, how many elderly are in the town, but here are the numbers!


Now chief likes to tell people that everything about this program is open to public inspection, but that isnt true, HE HAS NEVER GIVEN VERIFIABLE INFORMATION AS TO HOW MANY RESIDENTS USE THE PROGRAM! He guesses for the budget committee. He pulls any old number out for the selectmen. He has never allowed a look at the logs he promised to start keeping in 2005.

Now I dont know anyone who wants to cut or eliminate this program, but the taxpayers DESERVE some accountability about how many people use it, and how often!

Just one man's opinion.

Mark Acciard