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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.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Unsign On The Dotted Line - Or Else, courtesy of our police chief!

From the NH Insider, by way of the Plaistow Town Crier;

Thank you Mr. Naile, and Mr. Herrick, for taking the time to be concerned with our terrorism plight.

Posted by Dennis Herrick on January 16, 2009 at 08:36:11:

What happened to Meghan Carey? When she was handling the Atkinson-Plaistow area news we could count on a regular stream of stories about Atkinson. She wanted the folks in town to see their leaders in the light of day, even if the image wasn't especially attractive. Guess we'll have to depend on the blogs from now on. This one's from Ed Naile at www.nhinsider.com. How much embarrassment can the Town of Atkinson take before there's real change?



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Unsign On The Dotted Line - Or Else

Every citizen has the right to redress – except of course in Atkinson, NH. They have limited rights because of a thuggish, ego-powered, part time police chief, Phil Consentino.

In a normal town, a citizen has only to walk around and get signatures on a petition if he or she wants to have a warrant article placed on the Town Warrant for Town Meeting.

Ah, but in Atkinson you need a doctored up, used Atkinson Police cruiser to drive elderly residents to the drug store, and along the way, to collect signatures.

Without matching hardware, any taxpayer competing with the small time hood Consentino would soon be bankrupt. You see Consentino has a nifty little pay to play deal in town where his PRIVATE non-profit 501c3 gets to use Atkinson’s resources to politic and – anti-politic. A nice weekly pay check comes from the town – the Bulgers should have had it so good.

“Anti-politic” is a word I have coined to describe what the chief is up to as you are reading this blog. Anti-politic means: to engage in politics on your own behalf and to use a public position to undermine anyone else’s, preferably a citizen without government resources.

Chief Constantthuggo is driving around town in an arrogant panic, escorting people to the Selectman’s Office to withdraw their names from a petition, circulated by taxpayers, to make the Police Chief’s position FULL time.

This citizen’s petition makes the hair on the back of Consentino’s neck stand up (gee, must look like a hog hair paint brush). See, the standards for full time police are a bit higher than part time police standards. Could Consentino pass a full time police chief test? Is he qualified?

Consentino is certainly sneaky enough to run a vote buying deal such as using town equipment to “help” people who sometimes donate to his non-profit and vote for his candidates and issues.

But what to do, what to do, when things get out of control – like someone actually gets a legal petition submitted with which voters could challenge the scam Consentino has worked on so long?

Time will tell.

75 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm Maybe Its that now people understand what exactly this petition is saying and how slimy it actually is...and they don't want their name associated with it...Im sure some citizens that signed didn't know exactly what they were signing and yes some people will sign without reading..I don't know if it was presented to them so they fully understood it...

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess if you were the one the petition was pointed at, you would think it was slimy.

And basically calling the people who signed this short, well written and plain worded petition stupid insults your intelligence as much as theirs.

Anonymous said...

What could be more plain and brilliant than the wording of the petition articles? And the words are JUST. Just as in honest and in the best interest of all citizens. Read these words for yourself. Judge for yourself.

Anonymous said...

What needs to be understood? Does Atkinson deserve a professional full time chief? yes or no? How hard is that? and why is it slimy?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they want their names taken off because Phil got the list before the ink was dry, and started calling aking them how they could do this to him?

Bullying them. Intimidating them. reminding them of how many times he has given them rides, and maybe insinuating that next time the drivers may be all booked up?

Anonymous said...

How condescending to say that people don't understand and they are stupid enough to sign some thing they didn't atually read.

I think the only stupid person is the Chief and the people who were involved in voter tampering at Town Hall.

Anonymous said...

RE: January 16, 2009 4:19 PM

The person at the top did read the petition, and it scared him stupid. It wouldn't shock me at all if the chief himself penned it.

Look at it from his point of view. He has gotten away with his antics for years. He yells, people jump. We all must be stupid for letting it go on for so long.

Well, someone, and we'll know who soon enough, finally had the spine to do the one thing that chief is most scarred of: We, the people, are sick of it and want it to stop. Again, in his mind, we must be stupid for wanting such a thing.

Here are some questions for the chief at the meeting. "Chief, where is your gun?", or, "Chief, lets say, for example, you walked in on a armed robbery in progress. What would you do?"

webmaster said...

Please accept the following for publication -

There is a new threat to our water, and way of life in Atkinson. This has already been briefly discussed, but you should be very concerned, and if possible, please take action.

Attention Atkinson Residents

24 Hour Tractor Trailer Terminal seeks Approval

Our town has no zoning law addressing this request.

For several months the Atkinson Planning Board has held hearings regarding a transportation company’s request to open a transportation terminal in Atkinson. The Applicant’s terminal uses tractor trailers to transport heating oil, gasoline, and potentially other chemicals. This company is looking for larger quarters in order to expand their facilities which are currently in Massachusetts. If approved, the terminal will be open 24 hours, 7 days a week. The additional traffic of trailers will access the terminal using our roads like Route 121, East Road, and Route 111 to mention a few.

The tractor trailers can carry 9,000 gallons of fluids and their weight and traffic volume could negatively affect the quality of our roads and create traffic problems. You may recall approximately one year ago a tractor trailer went off the road in Everett Massachusetts, the explosion and fire destroyed several homes and caused a huge environmental problem even though the town was serviced by municipal water. Atkinson residents depend upon quality water in their wells. The Applicant has also expressed a desire to have an underground fuel tank in the future.

The terminal requested use is not listed in the zoning ordinance.

These issues will be addressed on January 21, 2009, 7:30 PM at the Town Hall. We ask the residents to voice their concern about the approval of a busy 24 hour tractor trailer terminal in our rural community.

Anonymous said...

Heres an example of how this blog twists things around once again...I never called anyone stupid what i said who knows how the petition was presented..Its slimy because whom ever wrote it knew The Lt. would not qualify because of the 2 provisions..If you ask me thats like a slap in his face for all the work and dedication he has given this town.

Anonymous said...

"If you ask me thats like a slap in his face for all the work and dedication he has given this town.

DO NOT SIGNIFY QUALIFICATION, OR JUSTIFICATION FOR A HIGHER POSITION

I've given over 20 years of dedicated service to the company I work for. But, I'm in no way qualified to be CEO because of that.

It has been said before, this petition is not about the Lt. Doesn't even mention him. Nothing in it says he must go. He, based on his experience and education, would not be qualified to be chief. Why is that such a problem for you? Why is that a slap in the face? Where in his contract does it say he is heir apparent?

He has already sued us once to get the position he has. Let him do it again if he feels he's gotten a raw deal.

What is wrong is with setting minimum, and reasonable job criteria, and having an unbiased body make a recommendation?

Here is what I see going on. The chief, for the first time ever, faces a real threat of being forced out. Whose fault is that? His and his alone. Now that the King may at last be deposed, some here think the prince is rightful owner to the throne.

When he gets his degree, if ever, and he has the minimum years of experience, he can apply just as everyone else can. If he turns out to be the right applicant, fine. But just being a nice guy is not a job qualification.

And, lets just add this to the equation. How many jobs does he have, in addition to the school board where he has done a absolutely stellar job?

I applaud his dedication. Now, add some more experience, a degree, competence, and we have a winner. Until then, we should expect nothing less than a outside professional to clean up a mess that has been years in the making. If the Lt. passes muster after that, I got no problem.

Anonymous said...

Why do I have such a problem with this hmmmmm let me see...
I have paid attention to some of the things the Lt. has done for the residents in this town..which goes over and above..This is a man who works Christmas eve and Christmas day so the other guys can spend time with their family's..This is a man who does detail for 6 hours because someone hit a pole ( not during his normal working hours) Oh im sure you will say oh hes doing it for the money..
yes because he would rather stand at a telephone pole then be home with his family.. these are just a few examples ..During the ice storm i saw Lt. Baldwin out at all hours of the day and night. Making sure people were informed and safe.
I have a lot of respect for the Lt. Because in my eyes he has earned it. The things he does for this town and the residents does not go unnoticed. Hes also our Dare officer. as a citizen of Atkinson and a tax payer I would hate to lose such a hard working dedicated, fair ..Police officer..that would be why I care ...thanks

Anonymous said...

I feel that the town is way more important that the Lieutenants employment.
Getting rid of the BULLY is what we need to do, if others are hurt by it so be it.

Atkinson-Factor said...

Same day as passing in a petition, and the cheifobigumheado is calling people and demanding them to take their names off? Ed, you are right, no other town would stand for such childish behaivor.
Atkinson should change it's name to Natziatkinson.

Anonymous said...

Please name for me anyone who after only 10 years on the job, with little or no outside education, even after being offerred the PAID opportunity to get that education, gets the CEO job?

Hell, name for me any chief of police of a town of 7000, who got the job with 10 years experience, and little or no education?

We are trying to set standards for the chief's job, not to do anything to the Lt. job.

Why do you think it is unfair to set minimum standards, every other town has them!

Do you know Atkinson is one of the only towns that has a union, and does not have clear qualification of what it takes to get Sgt., or Lt. or Capt. or chief?

That is because we have had lazy inept, afraid, selectmen and town administrators

Anonymous said...

why would Atkinson lose him? Are you saying he would be childish enough to quit because someone with more experience got chosen for chief?

If that is the attitude, he would never make it on the NYPD.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't Blame him if he did leave Atkinson. And i would not consider it childish. I have given my opinion on this article and my opinion will not change. If it makes it on the ballot, like I said before, I will do my best to let people know what it entails and what we could possibly lose..and in the end the residents of Atkinson will decide. It is what it is..Thanks

Anonymous said...

OMG, You have GOT to see the poster on the Atkinson Factor!

Anonymous said...

I think it would take more then this for the Lt. to just up and leave the town he has served for 12 years. I would just like to see him have a fair shot at the police chief position. and im sure if there comes along someone who's more qualified for the job he would be content working for this individual.I cant speak for the lt. I can only give my opinion. I don't think anyone expects that hes entitled to the position. I just feel as an Atkinson resident he would make a good candidate for the position..once again Just my opinion of what I have witnessed over the years I have lived in this small town.

Curt Springer said...

I don't understand how people can "unsign" petitions for warrant articles.

More precisely, I don't understand how your selectmen could possibly fail to put a petitioned article on the warrant based on statements by signers that they wish to withdraw their signatures.

The law is very clear. If the selectmen receive a petition with the required number of signatures, they ***must*** put the article on the warrant, with only minor wording changes (like adding "to see if the town will vote.."). There is no provision in the law to withdraw a signature after the petition has been submitted. And, as a practical matter, how late could one "withdraw" one's signature? Today, 4 days after the deadline? Or the day before the deliberative session?

Unless there is case law supporting "withdrawal" of signatures, your selectmen would risk being in violation of the law in paying any attention to this withdrawal stuff.

I've already mentioned that I think your warrant article about hiring a full time chief is advisory, not legally binding. Just my opinion. I won't belabor the point. It's your town, as some of you point out each time I post, do what you want.

But the voters of the town have budgetary authority, no question there. I haven't seen any mention in this blog, maybe I missed it, about adjusting the budget to support the proposed staffing plan. I would think that you would want to adjust the budget to eliminate the chief's p/t salary and benefits, and possibly augment the lieutenant's salary and benefits to convert it to the salary and benefits of a full time chief. That way if the selectmen don't wish to follow the expressed will of the town, they will have to find money elsewhere to keep things going as they are now.

If I were an Atkinson voter at your deliberative session, which of course I am not, I would ask each of your selectmen to state publicly if they will commit to implementing the article if it passes, whether or not it is binding on the selectmen. And I would want to know where any others, running for selectman, stand on this.

Carol Grant said...

For what it's worth, after reading some of the postings on the blog about intimidated petition signers being escorted to the Town Hall by the Police Chief to submit requests to have their names removed from the petition for a full time Chief, I phoned the selectmen's office and asked Barbara Snicer about it. She stated that they had checked with the Secretary of State's office as to whether someone could remove thier name from an already submitted and accepted petition, and that the Sec. Of State's office had said NO, that names could not be later removed.

MAcciard said...

You cant withdraw your signature, once the petitions have been handed in. That is illegal.

However, the police CAN intimidate some into writing letters to the selectmen, claiming they want to withdraw their signatures, on a petition dealing with his own job, no conflict there right? nor electioneering? and then stand up at town meeting and whine about the people that were duped into signing something they did not read or understand!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that no one seems appalled at the chief's blatent attempts to bully people into changing their support?

Why no official complaints about a police chief who breaks the law?

Why no discipline form the selectmen for a town employee who abuses the authority of his office, plus violating the conflict of interest ordinance?

Anonymous said...

I think the question is;

1.) Do we want a police chief that when a citizen files a complaint about his conduct, he has his own officers, escort her, her husband, and her wheelchair bound son from the town hall, not even allowing them to put their coats on?

2.) Do we want a chief who when someone asks him to act legally, by not voting on his depts. things, he makes that citizen take him to court to get him to obey the law?

3.) Do we want a chief of police that will scream insanely, on TV at a resident who merely criticizes him?

4.) Do we want a police chief, who will enforce every lttle law he can find against people who criticize him, but ignore those same laws for every one else?

5.) Do we want to continue to live in fear, afraid to open our mouths to criticize our government, because the police chief will harrass us and our families, in retaliation?

If your answers are no, you know what you have to do!

Anonymous said...

That is a great poster on the Atkinson Factor! Sums up what is happening here in Atkinson.

LegalBeagle said...

It would appear form the information and documents available on the AtkinsonTaxpayers.org website, that the selectmen have had ample reason and opportunity to discipline the police chief, under the town employee discipline policy.

As for his job, under NH law, a police chief is a secondary special duty assignment. Meaning you are a police officer, first and foremost. The selectmen may appoint you to the position of chief, and every time your appointment expires they have a chance to review your performance and renew your appointment or not.

In the current case Police Chief Consentino's official appointment expired on May 1, 1999. The selectmen, even though encouraged to do so, have chosen not to re-appoint in the intervening years.

Now there is a statute

105:1 Appointment. – The selectmen of a town, when they deem it necessary, may appoint special police officers who shall continue in office during the pleasure of the selectmen, or until their successors are chosen or appointed.

that allows an appointed police chief to remain in office until a successor is found, however that was intended to cushion the transition between chiefs, not to extend for 10 years!

Your selectmen have abdicated their sworn duties.

Anonymous said...

I do believe if this article was amended so that the Lt.was able to apply it just might pass.Because I will not vote it in as it stands now.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who has viewed the video knows the Lt. was engaged in some conduct and billing that lacks ethics. I want an honest police chief that is fully qualified. I intend to get that.

Carol Grant said...

I suggest that for the protection of Deliberative Session attendees who support the warrant article for a full-time Chief, that there be a secret ballot vote when it comes time to vote to move the warrant article to the ballot.

It takes a simple written petition by 5 registered voters present to require the Moderator to make it a secret ballot vote: "We, the undersigned registered voters now present, pursuant to RSA 40:4-a, do request a secret ballot for Warrant Article # __."

The secret ballot petition should be given to the Moderator as early as possible during Deliberative Session to allow time for the Supervisors of the Checklist to cut up some paper for the secret ballots.

A secret ballot would prevent intimidation by and any later retaliation from the Chief.

RSA 40:4-a Secret Ballot

I. (a) At any meeting of a town with a poopulation of more than 500, 5 voters who are present may make a request in writing prior to a vote by voice vote... that the vote be taken by secret written ballot. Upon receiving such a request, the moderator SHALL conduct the vote by secret "yes-no" ballot.

Curt Springer said...

Just a technical commment:

In Danville there is no vote simply to "move the warrant article to the ballot." We only vote at the deliberative session if there is a motion to change the article. If nobody responds to the moderator's call for discussion or amendments, the article will go on the printed ballot.

This is consistent with RSA 40:13 VI. All warrant articles shall be placed on the official ballot for a final vote, including warrant articles as amended by the first session. All special warrant articles shall be accompanied on the ballot by recommendations as required by RSA 32:5, V, concerning any appropriation or appropriation as amended.

Anonymous said...

Funny Ive seen this in a lot of children and I guess when not addressed in childhood..there's some kind of shortage in the brain..when things go in and when they come back out they are all twisted...It just must be a processing problem..This blog is like a game of telephone..Thats how much creditability it has...

Publius said...

Here is an article from Last year from the Atkinson Reporter.

Thursday, August 23
Boston Police Lt. abuse details!
Interesting story in the Boston Herald today about 3 Boston PD Lts. who are acused of abusing the detail system. They have surrendered their weapons and will be manning a desk pending investigation, after which they will most probably be charged, and fired. The interesting part of this story is that these three Lts. all with over 20 years service(It took them on average 16 years to make Lt.) all have base pay of $71,000/yr. http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=1018646

Now, in Atkinson, we, too, have a police Lt., who is only 9 years out of the police academy. He was hired in 1998, part time, became full time in 1999, promoted to corporal in 1999, promoted to Sgt. in 2001, and promoted to Lt. in 2005, only 7 years out of the police academy! What a lightning promotion schedule! And although our Lt. is salaried at $60,000/yr. with so little experience, he gets overtime, detail pay, night shift differential, A TAKE HOME CAR! with gas and maintenance, and much more. This package including retirement and benes, costs the town between $90,000 and $100,000/yr. In Atkinson!!! Unbelievable, when you put that up against Boston PD Lts. with OVER 20 YEARS experience, making only $10,000 more in base pay, but without all these perks!

So which is right? Well This blog has called 67 towns in NH, and has yet to find any police Lt. who is paid more in total compensation!

We would welcome anyone who can give us more insight into this problem, perhaps someone has figures for officers statewide, we would welcome the information, but for now, it looks as though Atkinson is the most generous town in NH with the taxpayers money!

Publius said...

Blogger Publius said...

This blog issues a challenge to all that read this;

Try to find another police officer, who gets a salary of $60,000/yr. and on top of that gets overtime, detail pay, night shift differential, AND A TAKE HOME CAR, complete with gas and maintenance.

Please report your results!

If you can find one, (we have not been able to) then ask how long they have been a cop, and what is their education level, and find out how big the town is.

Publius said...

Anonymous Cassius said...

Sure, Look at the selectmens meeting minutes for May 19, 2003, and you will see what I mean;

What hapenned was Baldwin was calle dup to active duty.

Selectmen Boyle made a motion to advance him $5,900 to cover the difference between his military pay and his Sgt. Pay with the PD.

The board asked Sgt. Baldwin to furnish his military Leave and Earnings statement, so that they could reconcile accounts.

He refused, instead he furnished a commanders base pay letter, which only listed base pay, leaving out all his entitlements. This listed his pay as something on the order of $2,400/mo. when he was ACTUALLY receiving approx. $4,500/ mo.

Chief Consentino was insistent that Sgt. Baldwin get the $511.51 per WEEK diff. claimed in the letter. The Board finally ordered Sgt. Baldwin to either give them the LES or return the $5,900 advance.

The LES showed a difference of approx. $450./mo.

The advance the Board gave him would have covered him for 14 months!

There were 8 stories in the Eagle-Tribune during this time, about how the board was "nickle and diming" him, and how his wife and family were sufferring.

No mention of the fact that for the first 3 months of his deployment he was stationed in Boston and able to travel home.

No mention of his and Consentino's efforts to get him an extra $2,000/mo. over and above what he deserved.

Does this sound honest and forthright to you?

Also check out the minutes of June 9, 2003 selectmen's meeting.

Anonymous said...

This is the problem, and thank you for taking the time to research this and repost the relevant facts.

To those of you that support Lt. Baldwin:

Please look at the facts from these articles and understand that we are not basing our worries on wild speculation and rumors; our concerns about Lt. Baldwin are based on...

1.) His own past actions (wrongly attempting to get an inflated differential amount in pay, even as the town was generous to offer it

2.) Being promoted too quickly, and paid too highly, for his skill set and level of experience.

This last part is troubling. Why would Consentino have to pay someone so highly, and promote them so quickly?

Logic would tell us that Consentino did this because he found someone that would not speak out about his abuses of power; had Lt. Balwin refused to stand with him during the chief's stunts, or had the ethics to object or speak out about citizen harassment, he could have made the difference in getting rid of a chief that has been around too long, and abused his power too many times.

Instead, Lt. Balwin has stood by quietly and benefited to the tune of $90-$100,000 dollars! Who else is making this much money with so little training or experience?

It was a high cost for us all to pay for the chief to retain someone that stood by silently and allowed his foolish antics. I would choose NOT to make someone the next chief of OUR police department who was raised learning how to run the town under a bully and aspiring dictator.

Anonymous said...

I like the secret ballot idea. Just be sure to bring pens and paper so there is no excuse not to do it. Doing a secret ballot eliminates the intimidation factor.

At first, I Liked the idea of cleaning house with the chief and LT. I agree with the issues about the LT but after talking to many people, I found the LT is not as unpopular as the chief. Going after both of them is not going to work. I am proposing an idea that I firmly believe will achieve the objective of getting a new police chief.

First, you have to give up the idea of getting rid of the LT. Let's keep him in his place for now because trying to get rid of both the chief AND the LT will create too much opposition. Plus you could still end up with the LT as chief even if he isn't "qualified". It can still happen and then you've really screwed things up.

There are people who want the chief to go but will vote against this because they like the LT. So you indirectly give the chief support because people are not going to support it to protect the LT. In effect, the chief benefits and gets protection from this petition because the LT is dragged into it. But these same people would vote to get a new chief.

INSTEAD: Go into deliberative with the plan to change the article to say this:

To see if the voters will direct the selectmen to appoint a new person to the position of part time police chief to be hired on or before June 1, 2009.

Simple as that.

You can add in hiring requirements as well if you want. But if you just go after the chief and keep the current structure of a PT chief and FT LT, getting a new person as chief will keep the LT in his place and end the tyrrany.

Deal with the LT separately if you wish, next year. But just focus on the chief and I believe you have a shot. And doing it by secret ballot increases your odds. I really think this could work.

Why this is a winner:

1. Those present that support the LT but not the chief are likely to vote for it
2. Secret ballot lets everyone vote what they really think without giving chief the ability to take names for revenge.
3. Even the LT and the selectmen and the police officers would probably vote for this under secret ballot!
4. A new chief will keep the LT in his place and it will solve 80% of the problems.

If you insist on keeping the LT in the deal, it will never fly. I guarantee it. The chief is glad you pulled him into it.

Curt Springer said...

I don't believe the voters of a NH town can direct the selectmen to terminate somebody, the effect of the above suggestion, even if it does not say that directly. This differs from all the previous ideas in that it changes the person, not the position.

Anonymous said...

Curt Springer,

Butt out of Atkinson's election process! Stop arrogantly telling us what we can do and can't do and should do and shouldn't do.

You, as a Danville resident, have already posted three times alone under this one article -- each time as a nay-sayer criticizing other ATKINSON postings and comments, ideas or suggestions by ATKINSONIANS.

Just because you are personna non grata in your own town who everyone ignores, stop using our blog to try to restore your shattered ego. You're not an Atkinson resident. Please respect that our blog is for Atkinsonians to comment on our own Atkinson issues.

You're like our Nazi chief: you think you can control other people's actions and tell them what to do.

Anonymous said...

To the Curt Springer basher:

Lighten up. Curt has just as much right to post on this blog as you. If you don't like what he says, don't read it.

Curt: The indirect point of my post is that the PT Chief position in Atkinson is appointed. I believe Carol indicated the appointment expired years ago and he's never been officially re-appointed. If she is right, then technically, we really don't have a police chief. Just someone who says they are but everyone is afraid to say the emporer has no clothes.

So, if we direct the selectmen to appt a new person to the position, what is wrong with that if we really don't have a police chief now?

Curt Springer said...

To anon@January 18, 2009 12:45 PM

Thanks for the supportive comment.

I'm not an expert in employment law, of course. But I think this stuff about not being appointed at this time is semantics. The guy has been in charge, drawing his salary, making decisions as chief, etc. How well or poorly is not for me to say but he has been occupying the chair and getting paid for it all this time.

So I don't think the position is vacant at this time.

As I have mentioned, however you amend the warrant article, I think it will be advisory in nature. I would defer to an opinion from a real lawyer, which I am not.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the biggest problems stems from the fact that the Chief's positon is an appointed one, rather than an elected one. The selectmen never seek out a better candidate and bow down to this mad man year after year. This may actually be the root of the entire mess.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Legally the chief's appointment expired in 1999.

The selectmen from that time until now have had the legal right to appoint someone new, or just re- appoint the chief.

That they have chosen not to re-appoint the chief, even when this was pointed out to them is a mystery.

But could be to the town's benefit.

Anonymous said...

I think 12:02 is making some very good points here. I've posted against promoting Baldwin, and REALLY don't want him as chief, but the idea that trying to get BOTH things done at the same time and ending up with NOTHING makes an awful lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous 12:28 p.m. who said that Danville resident Curt Springer should butt out of Atkinson's business. He's already submitted SEVENTEEN paragraphs in
FOUR postings under this single article and he shows no evidence of stopping flooding our blog with his anti-atkinson resident opinions.

Each time his posting has been a put-down or disagreement of something said by an Atkinson supporter of the warrant article, including Springer's last two postings telling us we can't get rid of Consentino.

We definitely don't need a Danville resident running interference for Consentino.

Anonymous said...

Whether Atkinson goes to a full-time qualified Police Chief and whether or not we use a secret ballot to do it is Atkinson's business and definitely none of Danville's Curt Springer's business.

I for one have had enough of repeated postings by Springer about things which are none of his business.

I agree that he should stay out of our business. There are plently of other local towns who are also having up-coming town meetings with their own warrant articles. Why doesn't he be a pain in the ass with some other town and try to run their town's business. I'm sure they would find his interference as unwelcome as it is in Atkinson.

Anonymous said...

To all of the Curt Springer bashers:

How small-minded you all come off telling Mr. Springer he cannot post to this blog as he is not an Atkinson resident. Where, on this blog, does it state Atkinson residents only? While I may not always agree with Mr. Springer, at least his posts are thoughtful, USEFUL, and, not to mention, respectful...which is more than can be said for some of our beloved citizens who post here.

Anonymous said...

Who is the Danville resident or Springer friend posting defences of Springer's constant interference? How about your name?

I understand that Springer has his own blog in Danville which Danville residents are tuned out of because of his being so opinionated.

Don't insult Atkinson residents who dislike Springer's trying to dominate our blog and our opinions by calling them Springer-bashers.
You sound like Phil: disagree with me or Springer and I resort to name calling.

Those many who are offended by Springer's constant posting on our blog are entitled to voice their own opinions without your trying to censor them. After all, if Springer can repeatedly bash Atkinson opinions and ballot actions, then his presence on our blog is definitely worthy of criticism.

Anonymous said...

I for one don't care if Mr. Springer Posts here or not.

This free country we have the right to say anything and we also have the right not listen to everything.

Atkinson needs a professional leader for the police department now. We need someone with education, experience and leadership skills. If the Lt is found to have all these skills so be it. If not I hope he has town in mind and stays on to help the new police chief with his or her daily duties.

Anonymous said...

With all the bashing going on on this blog...I will be sure to make sure I vote down this article anyway.
I will make sure my friends and neighbors are aware of it as well..so chances are if it makes it to the ballot there's a pretty slim chance it will voted in. Your creditability would be so much better if people didn't act like children and use words like chiefo, and other 5 year old names. Bashing the Lt. Isnt going to get you very far as well he has a ton of support. thats the facts!Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Oh spare me. I welcome anyone who comes here and offers advice on how we can get rid the the head nut. Sure, Springer irritates me sometimes, but if he brings up a valid point for thought, who cares? I am against censorship first.

I would rather listen to him then the dope who calls us children and then says he'll vote against the article because he thinks the people here act like children. I think that if he wants to take his toys and run home because someone said a bad word, go home, whine to your neighbors. Isn't that also bashing?

(must be a big headed bald ugly guy with a chip on his shoulder posting that)

Anonymous said...

Look at the lack of support for the Chief here :)

He's toast.

Anonymous said...

"I will be sure to make sure I vote down this article anyway."

duh

Anonymous said...

January 18, 2009 4:14 PM writes:

"Who is the Danville resident or Springer friend posting defences of Springer's constant interference? How about your name?"

Has anyone else ever noticed that whenever someone posts anonymously offering an opposing viewpoint on this blog, there is an immediate call to for the person's name? Why do you need to know? How ironic that everyone here complains about Chief Consentino's strong-armed tactics, yet as soon as they are presented with a counter-argument, they want to know WHO that person is. From my point of view, that doesn't make you much better than the person you complain about.

Curt Springer said...

Hey folks,
I appreciate the support for my postings, here and in private emails (no, not from your police chief).

I mostly just talk about legal technical issues. Atkinson and Danville are both SB2 towns in TRSD, so we basically have exactly the same state and local laws, save for specifics like zoning provisions. And our Danville police chief is elected.

I came back to town activities in Danville in 2003 after being away for about ten years. Of necessity, I came to understand the relationship of town meeting, selectmen and other officials much better than I had in the past.

I used to think, as obviously many of you still do, that the town meeting could vote (and enforce) anything related to town affairs. This is incorrect. Town officials have independent powers under state law, and the town meeting can not direct them unless the state law says it can.

The paradox is that you can put anything on the town meeting warrant with 25 or 40 signatures or whatever. But that doesn't mean that it is actually effective if voted in. That is determined by state law and applicable court decisions.

To me that puts a heavy burden on those who want to create warrant articles by petition. I would not ask my friends and neighbors to sign a petition unless I was certain that it is valid, based on looking up laws or consulting a lawyer.

If I read a warrant article and I think it will not be valid if passed, I think it is helpful to mention it. I could be wrong. You are free to accept or reject my advice. I don't pay any of your legal expenses, of course.

I have said before, and will say again, that it would be a good idea to read the NHLGC publication "Knowing the Territory", which explains the principles of NH municipal laws to non-lawyers (such as me). It makes the point that no town vote is binding absent a specific statute that authorizes it.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Curt, here is the relevant statute;

105:1 Appointment. – The selectmen of a town, when they deem it necessary, may appoint special police officers who shall continue in office during the pleasure of the selectmen, or until their successors are chosen or appointed. The selectmen may designate one of the police officers as chief of police or superintendent and as such officer the chief of police or superintendent shall exercise authority over and supervise or superintend other police officers, police matrons, watchmen or constables appointed under the provisions of this chapter, and said police officers, police matrons, watchmen or constables shall be accountable and responsible to said chief of police or superintendent. Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude or prevent a town from electing constables or police officers at an annual town meeting pursuant to the provisions of RSA 41:47.


Please notice the "serve at the pleasure of the selectmen" part. Also note the "Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude or prevent a town from electing constables or police officers at an annual town meeting pursuant to the provisions of RSA 41:47. "

part.

Curt Springer said...

Yes, I looked up those statutes. My point was/is that while the selectmen can replace the chief, the voters can't direct them to do that.

And while RSA 105:1 says that appointed chiefs serve at the pleasure of the selectmen, RSA 105-2a says they can only be dismissed "for cause:"

105:2-a Police Chiefs; Powers; Dismissal. – Subject to such written formal policies as may be adopted by the appointing authority, each chief of police, superintendent of police, or city marshal of any city or town who is appointed rather than elected, shall have authority to direct and control all employees of his or her department in their normal course of duty and shall be responsible for the efficient and economical use of all department equipment. Such chief, superintendent, or city marshal shall be subject to suspension without pay or dismissal only for cause, and after he or she has been presented with a written specification of the reasons. Upon such suspension or dismissal, he or she shall be entitled to a hearing, on the merits and reasonableness of the action, in superior court in the county in which the municipality is located, provided that he or she petitions the clerk of the superior court for such a hearing within 45 days of his or her suspension or dismissal. The court shall have the power to affirm, modify, or negate such suspension or dismissal, based upon its findings.

LegalBeagle said...

True, but this town has already had special town meetings to force the selectmen to obey town meeting vote.

It would be political suicide for the selectmen to have the power to obey a vote and ignore it again.

As for 105:2; the selectmen have had ample cause to fire on numerous occasions, and this recent bout of electioneering is another.

Do you know that every time, a police chief has been fired in the State of NH, the Supreme Court has upheld the decision?

Do you know that in Blake v. Pittsfield, a chief was fired for overspending his budget without permission by $4000?

Do you know that in Voebel v. Bridgewater, a chief was fired for giving his friend a box of ammo from the PD, and when confronted about, tried to say the ammo was "green" and no good, but this selectman checked and the ammo, was fine. Chief was fired for lying, and misappropriation, even though the value was only $44.95?

I can cite 9 other cases, chiefs fired for offenses far less than Phil's, and upheld by the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Springer, go away. I do not want to read misinformation from truly ignorant persons

Anonymous said...

This is one silly statement. If you don't want to read misinformation from ignorant people
then I suggest you never read this blog again because it contains 99%
misinformation. I will not speak to the other half of your statement so as to keep it friendly.

Curt Springer said...

Legalbeagle,

Thanks for the informative and thoughtful reply.

I think we agree that the Atkinson selectmen can fire the chief for cause. I don't want to discuss whether or not they have cause with the current chief, as I really do try not to take positions about the substance of Atkinson issues.

I think that there is a misunderstanding about the power of town meeting to direct the selectmen.

I know that there was the court case about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I would actually like to read it if somebody would care to send it to me.

But I think it is a mistake to generalize from this to say that the town meeting has a general power to direct the selectmen.

The selectmen have what are called "substantive powers," given to them directly by the legislature and not subject to town meeting votes. I lent out my copy of "Knowing the Territory," otherwise I would list them here.

If you read the RSAs, "governing body" means the selectmen and "town" means the town meeting. If a statute says the selectmen "may" do something, and it doesn't say explicitly that it is subject to town vote, it is not. It is their decision to make, and if you don't like it your recourse is to vote them out and vote in people who will do what you want.

For example, RSA 41:11-a gives the selectmen power over most town real estate, but it explicitly allows the town meeting to give the power to other officials. If you don't see such a provision in a statute, you have to assume that the legislature did not want the town meeting to look over the selectmen's shoulders.

Of course implicit in all of this is the budgetary authority of the town meeting. So while the selectmen theoretically use their power under RSA 105:1 to decide to have a full time chief and 15 full time officers, as a practical matter they can't as they would need to go to the budget committee and the town meeting to get funding. I think that the budgetary authority is the general rein of the town meeting over the selectmen.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Springer, go away. I do not want to read misinformation from truly ignorant persons"

To my fellow AR2 readers posting in regard to Mr. Spinger's activity on this board, I hate to break this to you, but his advice is sound. Over the weekend, I received an update via e-mail regarding the HAWC groundwater withdrawal and was informed that Rep. Garrity has submitted an amendment to NH state law that would make our current ordinances more enforceable.

This gives more credence to what Mr. Springer is attempting to communicate on this board with respect to how enforceable these warrant articles are, even if passed. Rather than telling him to go away, maybe some of you should take the time and consider what he is saying.

On a different note, thanks to Rep. Garrity for standing behind the citizens of Atkinson! Well done!

With that in mind, a hearing has been scheduled for this Wednesday, Jan 21 at 1:30 in Room 301 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord and it would be useful to get as many Atkinson residents as possible to attend to show our support for bill!

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 9:22,

What about this subject is misinformation?

Anonymous said...

POINT OF CLARIFICATION:

I've been doing some homework and the point is well taken that RSA 105:1 says that appointed chiefs serve at the pleasure of the selectmen.

Also mentioned was an advisory warrant article to the selectmen. I am now firmly convinced that legally, this is as far as we can go because we can't just get someone fired by voting on it. Mr. Springer's points are on target (like it or not). After I consulted with a lawyer friend, she pointed out numerous holes in these citizen petitions, not just because their intent is sometimes unclear, but because of the way they are worded. I appreciate the people who put these forward. The bad news is, without getting legal advice, most or all of these petitions are likely to fail for one reason or another.

Here is my final recommendation, and I suggest you get a lawyer to proof it: In deliberative session, change the petition wording to be advisory to the selectmen:

-----------
To see if the voters will advise the selectmen to appoint a new, fully qualified and certified, part time police chief by June 1, 2009.
------------

That's about it. Simple, clear, easy to follow. Since this appointment serves at the pleasure of the selectmen, the selectmen need a majority of voters to send them the political message that it is time for a new police chief. If they fail to follow it, then we saw what happened when a special vote had to be convened for the water issue and the Vietnam memorial. While it took a lot of effort, those special meetings worked and the voters finally won. If the selectmen fail to appoint a new chief, then a special meeting can be arranged. It worked the last two times. The Selectmen will realize they face another special meeting if they don't do as their told.

I make this suggestion because the wording in the current petition is flawed and I completely think you have to take the LT out of this equation.

If we could all agree on this single objective at deliberative session, and it is done by secret ballot, you may have a chance to get the town to vote on the issue. If you have too many tweaks to it and too many separate votes on it, your support will run out of steam. Make one change, make it by secret ballot and get it in front of the voters.

Anonymous said...

To Jan 19th 9:22 am..You hit the nail right on the head this blog is
full of misinformation. But the good thing is 99 percent of the Atkinson Residents know this and find it very amusing.

Anonymous said...

what are the flaws?

and again, what is the misinformation?

You have the relevant law.

You have the chiefs offenses, both on camera, in official complaints, in court records.

What you lack is balls on our BOS!

The people have the right to set hiring minimum qualifications.

The people have the right to demand the selectmen do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

"But the good thing is 99 percent of the Atkinson Residents know this and find it very amusing."

You wish.

Anonymous said...

Is this an Atkinson blog or is it the Springer blog (to make up for the fact that few read his failed blog in Danville?)

Danville's Curt Springer has now posted SEVEN (7) times under this one article for a total of THIRTY-SIX (36) paragraphs.

He's posting more than Atkinson residents. How desperate is he for attention???

Anonymous said...

-----------
To see if the voters will advise the selectmen to appoint a new, fully qualified and certified, part time police chief by June 1, 2009.
------------


Do some more homework because we are NOT looking for another PART TIME police chief.

We voted too many years ago to keep the position as PT, but that is the fundamental point that needs to be changed. We need a FT Chief.

Anonymous said...

to anon of 9:22 am. Yup , everyone spends countless hours making this stuff up about that nice police chief that gives grandma a ride to the store. The same police chief who steals from the police depts funding, and lies on tv to you and me about how much it costs (19k). But hey, I only watched it on tv. Oh yeah i also saw it on youtube. Look for yourself. Do a search on Atkinson NH, and tell me what is there isn't really true. Please tell me they actually didn't say and do those terrible things on channel 20 live on tv.

Anonymous said...

I missed the justification for a full time chief. Would someone please re-iterate that.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_5UM372UFs

here is live video of a meeting first hand. 2007 just under 18k, 2008 it was 24k , and now he says it over 40k(due to the attny Gen office watching this year). 18k? really? I must of made this up because 99% of this blog is not true, but look at the video i just linked. He says it on camera!

Anonymous said...

In 1993 NH police standards and training council did a survey in town, and declared that by the time Atkinson grew enough to warrant a 5th FT officer, that 5th FT officer should be a FT chief!

We have had a 5th FTer for 5 years, and Phil has been trying for a 6th.

There are only two PT chiefs in the entire state.

And our police leadership is corrupt., He screams at his critics on TV. He uses the police dept. to go after those who criticize him, haven't you seen the letters, he sends, the official complaints against him, the lawsuits?

go to atkinsontaxpayers.org and look at the original documents, this abuse of office has been going on for 30 years!

We don't need a bully for a police chief. It is time for a professional. It is time for Atkinson to end it reign as the laughingstock of the Southern NH law enforcement community.

Anonymous said...

Curt is speaking the truth but it hurts "the cause" so lets tell him to go away. Go away yourself if you don't want to read Curt's imput. Turn your computers off blogger brains if you dont like the dialogue. This is a free country and a free blog and the truth always hurts this blog. When the truth becomes overwhelming against "the cause" then the blog goes into censorship mode. Then the blog stops working because nobody posts. Then censorship is removed until it heats up to much and then we censor again. What a joke this is. LOL

Anonymous said...

What censorship mode, Frank? in case you didn't notice there isn't even any moderation, you post everyone can see.

Anonymous said...

For the moment there is no censorship but as we get close to election time the ugly blog censor will rear its ugly head. Last year you waited to long to put the blog censor up and the damage was already done to your foolish candidate. She got sucked in to silly debates which shed very bad light on her, By the time the blog turned to censoring it was to late. The blog nearly died because of the censoring mode and made a wise decision to shut it off. We will see this next election cycle.
It'll be interesting to see ....
Even fun... it always is.

Anonymous said...

Frank, you are always trying to stir the pot, but you show your true character by what you say when you think you are anon.