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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!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Why does it take $130,000.00 more this year to do the same job as last year?

Please accept this as an article submission;

Why does it take $130,000.00 more this year to do the same job as last year?

It will be easier for everyone to focus on the issue at hand, if you remove personalities from the discussion. This is not about the police dept., or the fire dept. or the highway dept. for the purposes of this discussion it is dept. X.

Dept. X, performed ALL of their duties and responsibilities admirably in 2008 for $643,000.

This year Dept. X wants $771,000 to do the same job. It is not attacking to ask why. It is not slanderous to demand that our tax dollars be spent as efficiently as possible. Now here are the details;

Dept. X has both part time and full time employees. The ONLY reason we can have this discussion, or that we know the dept. can run on $100,000 less is that two of it's employees lost their lives last year, and the dept. increased their utilization of part timers to fill in for this loss.

Full time employee cost between 40-80% more than part time because of the higher wage per hour, and the cost of benefits.

This dept. currently has 5 full time employees and 17 part time employees, however only 8 or so part timers work shifts on a regular basis.

Every year Our dept. X budgets 10,400 full time hours, 8,760 part time hours, plus PT dept. head who is limited by law to 1,300 hours per year, and his right hand man who it has been stated many times works 50 hours per week, or an extra 500 hours per year. This gives us a total of 20,960 man hours per year.

The hours listed are PATROL hours, they do not include hours budgeted for dispatch, clerical, school crossing, et.al.

There are 8,360 hours in a year! So we are spending 21,000 man hours to cover 8,360 hours. I know the math doesn't work out, does it?

We heard the budget committee's Fred Thompson try to explain away this vast difference by saying it was taken up with Vacation, sick time and holiday time, but that math doesn't work either.

You have 5 FT employees that get benefits.

2wks. Vacation(80 hours) x 5 employees= 400 man hours.

11 paid holidays(88 hours) x 5 employees= 440 man hours.

10 sick days(80 hours) x 5 employees= 400 man hours.

So here is the math;

20,000 man hours budgeted

-8,360 man hours spent patrolling the town.

-1,240 man hours covering vacation, holiday, sick time.
__________
10,400 man hours we have paid for, but are unaccounted for.

Take out the 2000 hours for the Lt.

You still have 8,400 hours unaccounted for. That is an ENTIRE YEAR OF PATROL TIME WASTED!

So much for simplistic calculations, lets look at the money;

It has been argued that the $130,000 included money to hire replacements for the lost employees, but a few hundred dollars for an ad does not explain $130,000, nor does this facetious argument about sick time, holiday pay, etc. That has been explained above.

So the original question still stands unanswered;

Why the extra $130,000?

And please don't bother trying to "shoot the messenger here" I am not interested, if you have a response to deal with the numbers and answer the question, I would love to hear it.

Thank you for your time.

Mark Acciard

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Correction in your math. 365x24 = 8760, not 8360.

Anonymous said...

Mark how dare you attack the PD so blantatly without having any facts. Get your facts straight! This blog has no credibility. Its the same two people attacking Phil's good name that are the moderator and administrator and the manipulate the topics. Deer everywhere. I bet another lawsuits coming. Same people again. Blame Phil for everything. You have fuzzy math. Yada yada yada yada.

LOL. I beat the blog beaters to it before they said it. HAHAHAHA.

Good question. Why does it cost so much and what is up with these hours?

Anonymous said...

Mark,

You seem to be assuming that only one patrolman is working at a time. Where do you get this assumption? If at least one patrolman is on during all 8760 hours per year and if there is more than one patrolman working say 8-4, then there would be more than 8760 hours needed. So the questions that need to be answered are does APD cover 7x24x365 and are there shifts in which more than one patrolman are working. If so, then that probably explains the extra hours you are questioning.

Anonymous said...

Words like probably don't do it for me. I'd like a thorough explanation from our police department exactly how it all works. Mark has limited information but his question is valid.

It's common knowledge our town has little crime. I found statistics posted at
http://www.atkinsontaxpayers.org/pdf/PDStats2002-Oct2005.pdf

The lack of police logs in the newspaper does nothing to inform us on police activity. It seems to me criminal activity is similar to years past and have little data to determine otherwise, then why is our PD budget so much higher now than? Factor in inflation, salary increases, fuel cost increases and I can't get there. 2002 PD budget was $546,000. I found another handy document at
http://www.atkinsontaxpayers.org/pdf/BudgetFY02-07.pdf

The police budget is approaching $800,000. I cant find information to explain why and questions like Mark's never get answered.

MAcciard said...

Sorry about the typo on the number of hours in a year. You are correct, as to the question of how many work, you asked the $130,000 question!

ALL of Depts. Admin, as well as selectman Sapia has acknowledged that there is only ONE patrol officer on each shift. Same as there was 8 years ago, when the budget was $350,000.

The question is not just about the collossal waste of manpower due to ineffective scheduling, but the added cost to do the same job as last year.

This dept. did everything it was supposed to do last year, for $130,000 less than this year. Why is the extra money NEEDED this year? Not why is it wanted, but why is it NEEDED?

Anonymous said...

Okay, so after the 400 hour adjustment with the typo, there are 8000 hours unaccounted for. Next question which might explain some of the hours: Do any of the PD get differential pay for working nights, weekends, or holidays? If they get time and a half or double time for any of those days, then more hours would be needed.

Anonymous said...

One more question came to mind. You mention 2 weeks vacation. Do you know if that is accurate? It sounds low to me, especially for a unionized work force.

Anonymous said...

What an incredible article submission!!!! Facts and common sense combined with solid numbers. Too good. Just too good.

All the lamo critics can add is maybe this, maybe that, maybe this, maybe that! What a joke they are.

M.Acciard is telling the truth, plus asking the right questions. He has my respect. He earned it.

The budget committee abdicated their responsibilities. Take a look at it.

HA HA Advice to budget committee:::: GET YOUR F-A-C-T-S STRAIGHT!

Anonymous said...

Mark,

In looking over your math... you are looking to justify 20,000 hours for the police department. You make some very valid arguments, but I don't believe you have all of the facts.

There are 5 full time officers 40 hours per week X 52 weeks per year = 10,400 hours.

2wks. Vacation(80 hours) x 5 employees= 400 man hours.

11 paid holidays(88 hours) x 5 employees= 440 man hours.

10 sick days(80 hours) x 5 employees= 400 man hours.

There are 2 part time benefits eligible employees.

40 hours vacaction, 40 hours sick time and 11 paid holidays = 124 hours X 2 officers = 248 hours.

Part time officers work 48 hours per weekend (six 8-hour shifts) X 52 weeks = 2,496

There is also a part time officer that works 2 or 3 days per week most of the year. 1 Officer X 16 hours X 40 weeks = 640 hours

The Chief works 1,300 hours per year.

Don't forget to factor in hours for officers getting held over at the end of their shift for either a report or a late call. Maybe 2-4 hours per week X 52 weeks = 104-208 hours.

Court time is not included either.

I'm not sure if training is included in the patrol item or not but that would be 5 full timers + 17 part timers X 24 hours(8 hours yearly training [usually more] + 4 hours firearm classroom training + 4 hours range training + 8 hours CPR & First Aid training)= 528 hours

There is also a DARE and RAD program which takes maybe 100 hours per year.

I can't begin to guess how many hours are budgeted for extra patrols (speeding, DWI patrols, vandalism/mailbox vandalism, burglary, halloween, Memorial Day parade). I'm sure that it's at least a a few hundred hours.

I'm sure they do a lot of other specialty things that I can't begin to think of.

Also, they do receive a $0.50/hour evening differential and $1.00 night differential. This should be equal to $2,920 on the night shift and $1,460 for the evening shift. Total = $4,380 or approximately 200 man hours @ $20/hr.

Which leaves 2,340 hours unaccounted for. So much for 10,400 hours unaccounted for...

I would like to see what these approximately 2,340 hours are budgeted for. I am also baffled at the $130,000 increase in the budget. I would love to see a copy of the police department's budget posted on here. Maybe it would provide some more answers.

Also, for those of you interested in the crime log it is posted on the Atkinson PD website. http://www.atkinsonpolice.us/log

I hope this information helps all of you in your quest for the truth. But as people mostly say on here... it must be the Chief's fault.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ June 15, 2009 2:26PM

If you think that asking questions trying to come up with the true number is lamo, how can you dare make the comment of "get your facts straight"? Talk about being a hypocrit. Already there was a math error pointed out which brought the total number of hours unaccounted for from 8400 to 8000, an almost 5% error. Now if any of my other questions are answered in the affirmative, then we can have our facts straight. If the number is 8000, then we can be critical about that number. If the number is something less than that, then we can be critical of the true number. Asking questions of things that Mark may have overlooked does not mean I am being critical of Mark's post or position. Perhaps you are afraid that the "facts and common sense combined with solid numbers" aren't quite as solid as you'd like to believe. Myself, I prefer to have a true picture so that I don't end up with egg on my face by using numbers that don't stand up.

MAcciard said...

To answer 2:33pm;

That was a GREAT and very detailed response, thank you.

However;

My point in discussing hours was to discuss "patrol hours" Everything else is budgeted for elsewhere, there is a training line, an O/T line, Details, crossing guard, admin, juvenile officer, DARE officer, these are all budgeted elsewhere in the budget. The Full time, and part time lines are patrol hours, with the exception of the Lt., Chief, and Detective, but I included their hours in the breakdown. Included within these two lines are the weekend shifts patrolled by part timers, and the floater as well.

As for the Pt eligible, there aren't supposed to be any, but if a PT officer reaches 1000 hours, he gets benefits for the next year.

As for the differentials for night or weekends, that, to is budgeted for, last year as well as this year, and does not pose any difference requiring $130,000.

But, understand, I was not trying to justify 21,960 man hours per year, just pointing out that is what is budgeted. I am trying to figure out why the extra $130,000 over last year for the same job.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

Clearly the 130K is in the budget for the new hires to replace the two lost officers. I don't see this as being unreasonable. The population of Atkinson is growing. I think it would be irresponsible to try to protect more citizens with fewer officers. I guess I don't understand what your complaint is. While we may have been fortunate to get by last year, this year we may not be so fortunate. Would you drop your health insurance because you didn't get sick last year? I wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

How easily does this have to be stated for people to get it?
Why was $130,000 more needed from one year to the next to police a pohunk little middle-class bedroom communityof 6,000 people?

Thanks to Mark for his research on this...

Anonymous said...

How easily does it have to be stated for you to understand that two full time officers died and were therefore not compensated? And Atkinson is closer to 7000 than 6000. Oh, in case you haven't noticed, Atkinson borders some higher crime areas like Haverhill.

Anonymous said...

Actually Atkinson is NOT growing that much. 5 years ago we had 6425 people, and last year we had 6617.

Not much growth. And I dont think mark is asking to protect more people with fewer officers, he is asking why do we NEED to fill those two slots if we could do it last year. I think it is a good question.

Anonymous said...

A question: so was the 2008 budget originally approved to be $771,000.00 and only $643,000.00 was spent due to the deaths of the two officers?

Anonymous said...

Of course Mark is asking that. He essentially is proposing eliminating two full time positions leaving us with three full time officers. While the town may have gotten by without the two passed officers last year, I don't see that as being the point. I didn't get sick last year. Should I cancel my health insurance? No, because it would be foolish to do so. How anyone can say that 5 full time officers for a town of 6600 and growing is too many I just don't get. Is it simply because Phil runs the department and certain bloggers are anti-anything regarding Phil? I'd rather have proper levels of police and fire protection. Proper ratios are somewhere between 1 and 4 officers per thousand citizens. 5 is still under that ratio.

Anonymous said...

Readers, I would like to point out that the approved PD budget in 2005 was $753,781.00. In 2006, it was $753,540.00. And in 2007, it was $752,892.00. Mr. Acciard was Chairman of the Budget Committee during this time period. So for the past five years, the PD budget has increased 3% (~$20,000.00).

In his original topic, posted February 8, 2009, Mr. Acciard writes: "Yes I am well aware, and sorely miss Cpl. Lapham, and Sgt. Kinney, but they have served to demonstrate the waste in the PD." Curiously, he left this part out of his reposting of this topic.

Aside from the fact that I think this is a terrible comment, should we not ask Mr. Acciard why he, as Chairman of the Budget Committee, APPROVED this budget in 2005, 2006, and 2007?

Mr. Acciard suggests no one has answered his questions, yet I suspect he already knows these answers. At the risk of repeating myself, I will ask Mr. Acciard a question I posed on Saturday: How does he know the PD ran efficiently? He may be correct in his assertion that "police services were provided to the town without interruption, or degradation in services." However, that does not prove the PD ran efficiently or was properly staffed.

I will comply to Mark's request to please keep personalities out of this. But readers, please know Mr. Acciard was Chairman of the Budget Committee in our town and approved the budget at roughly the same amount. The budget numbers can be found on the town website under the Budget Committee section.

MAcciard said...

To answer the latest responses and questions;

No, I am NOT trying to reduce the manpower in the PD, unless it was to reduce the 10 or so part timers who work very little over the course of the year, 10-20 hours per year does not justify the training, clothing, uniform, and equipment costs for these officers.

What I AM asking is; If the Pd could do their job for $643,000 last year why do they NEED $771,00 this year?

As to the budget for 2005, 2006, 2007, Your figures miss a few things.

For example; in 2006, I believe it was we established the revolving fund for details. That removed $75,000 from the budget, so in essence it was not level funded, but looked that way on paper.

The following year $31,000 dispatch contract was pulled out into it's own budget, as was insurance for $18,000. Again giving the appearance of little increase, when in fact, if all of these items were still in the budget it would be $120,000 higher. Also due to the controversy between the chief and I during this time frame I recused myself from voting on police matters in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, much as I asked the chief to do, even though he refused. So I did not "approve" those budgets.

And again, you are bringing the personalities into this, is it impossible to discuss the numbers dispassionately?

I am not suggesting that the PD is overstaffed, I am asking why do they need $130,000 more this year to do the same job they did last year for $130,000 less?

I would like anyone to show me what has changed between last year and this year that is necessary and costs $130,000.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

I do not understand how you claim I am bringing personalities into my above post.

While I understand you recused yourself from voting on police matters, were these questions of how the budget was configured ever asked while you were chairman? And if monies were pulled from one budget and placed into another, yet the PD budget was not adjusted to reflect that, was there discussion about this in 2006 or 2007?

I understand you are not suggesting the PD is overstaffed. But it does appear that the untimely and unfortunate deaths of the two officers explain the lowered expenditures.

And you have yet to answer my question, so I will ask it for a third time: how do you know the PD ran efficiently after they were down two officers? They got the job done, but was it efficient? Was it optimal? Was it in the town's better interest? Were we as safe as we should be?

Anonymous said...

Mark,

I'm afraid you've lost me on this one. I went into this thinking that you might have a valid concern, but after the hours were explained and your refusal to acknowledge that the 130K is there to replace the two full time positions, it sounds like you're grasping at straws. You say you aren't proposing reducing the PD staff on one hand and then on the other you are implying that the 130K is not needed. I don't see how those two positions can come from the same person as they are contradictory. Maybe you can take a stab at the school budget since they get about $9 out of our $14 tax rate whereas the town gets $4 and the state $1. I know the numbers are rounded so don't bother correcting them.

Anonymous said...

Please do not get Mark started on the school budget. He's already posted a topic on how we waste our money educating our children on this blog as well. Interestingly, his numbers were also simplistic and inaccurate, as was his claim that Timberlane was allowing C students to make honor roll.

But remember, Mark is a CNHT guy and if you visit their websites, they will sell you a "It Takes A School To Bankrupt A Village" bumper sticker. Oops, I forgot I was supposed to leave personalities out of this!

MAcciard said...

Let me clarify;

I recognize that it is most probably the case that this money went to replace the two officers.

My question is; if the duties of that dept. were performed last year for $130,000 less, then do these officers NEED to be replaced, or can their replacement be offset by letting the honorary part timers go?

As for efficiency, if the job was done for $130,000 less last year, I would say that they operated at a 20% greater efficiency last year.

It is axiomatic.

As for the school argument, I am less a critic of their budget, than of the abyssmal performance they achieve with it. It is simply not academically, the district I graduated from.

And although I applaud most taxpayer advocacy groups, such as the CNHT, and the NTU, and CAGW, certainly their efforts achieve far more good for taxpayers, than either the State or Federal Legislatures do.

But I am not a member of either of these groups, and even if I were, why is that relevant to the discussion at hand, and why are these BAD groups to affiliate with?

Anonymous said...

Mark,

I'll ask this question again: would you prefer a full time or part time mechanic do a major repair on your car (like the transmission, for instance). If you needed major surgery, would you prefer a full time or a part time doctor did the surgery? Again, we are talking about public safety here and not flipping burgers at a fast food chain (and there is no disrespect to fast food workers by this comment.)

Again, there are many instances where it is preferable to have someone who works full-time rather than part time. In some cases, it can actually cost less in the long run to have a full time employee.

Now I would assume that as the full-time officers are hired, they are reducing the part timers hours. Is that not the case?

And again, I believe you are making assumptions by solely and dispassionately looking at the numbers. Unless you have inside knowledge, it is wrong to state the PD ran efficiently. It may be that they were stretched thin as they were short two officers. I don't know...do you?

Anonymous said...

If you don't know, why argue the point. Seems to me that you would be better off finding out before you discuss this subjust. Looks to me that Mark has more accurate information than you do.

If I had to make a decision on this subject with only information from you two, I would have to go to Mark on this one. His argument is more reasonable than yours.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Mark doesn't know either so what's your point? And what is reasonable about not having adequate police staffing for our town?

Anonymous said...

WOW, I just realized Mark is right!

Nobody is dealing with his numbers, you are basically saying it is police so the amount is justified no matter what!

I would like to know, how the dept. worked last year, for over 100grand less, too!

MAcciard said...

I will try to address these points one by one;

Yes and NO, Marsha Bassi, and Marianne Princiota asked some questions about the overlap between PD and elderly, and they asked some questions about the use of manpower and equipment, but never received any meaningful answers. And no one ever pursued it further. I largely stayed out of that discussion because I felt that if I had asked those questions it would have been painted as "attacking" as it usually was.

The mechanic analogy doesn't apply here, you are implying by that analogy that part time officers are not as effective or well trained as full time.

If that is your argument, than you feed into my statement that if you NEED the two FT replacements, then you may NOT NEED 9 PT who work very limited hours.

And NO, hiring FT does NOT necessarily reduce PT hours. We typically have ONE PATROL OFFICER on each shift. You have heard the chief, Jack, and the Lt. all say that many times. We had one patrol officer on every shift back in the late 90's too. We have added 2 FT since then, what is the difference in service level? And the fact that we have one officer on is NOT a function of budget, but of scheduling. They budget enough man hours to have two, they just don't schedule that.

Full time officer are not cheaper than PT. They get paid a significantly higher hourly rate, plus they have benefits.

As to the efficiency last year, I would say again that at $130,000 less, they were operating 20% more efficiently than this year. But I am still waiting for some hard numbers, or explanation for what changed from last year to this year that necessitated an extra $130,000.

Anonymous said...

The mechanic analogy might not work, but a better analogy is National Guard vs full time military. Full time military are better trained for combat than their NG counterparts. Who would you rather have covering your flank?

Anonymous said...

I believe the FBI recommends 1-2 Full Time Officers for every one thousand residents. Given that recommendation - Atkinson should have 6.5 to 13 full-time officers.

While the police department may have operated on 130k less last year than this year (according to Mark); it may have been stretched so thin that the public's interests were not being fully addressed. I know Cpl. Lapham and Sgt. Kinney both talked about several important responsibilities that they were in charge of.

I would much rather pay for a full time professional department with educated and knowledgeable officers, than have a department with several part-time officers who work 10-20 hours per year. It would be nice to see the same faces day in and day out, rather than different officers every shift of every weekend. I believe the 7 or 8 part-time officers that actually work shifts serve a very useful purpose in a town the size of Atkinson, but there should at least be a full-time officer shadowing them. I also think that the time has come for more than one officer to work the evening and night shift.

Maybe the department should eliminate the 10 or so part-timers that I've never seen in the cruiser? I'm sure this would save $5-10k per year.

MAcciard said...

Maybe this illustration will work;

Last year Officer Lapham's hours were filled by somebody. Although officer Kinney was not a patrol officer, I believe she was private secretary to the chief, I would assume her duties were taken up by the other day shift personnel.

Let's deal with John Lapham's hours. They were filled with part timers we are told.

This would result in a significant cost savings, not only on benefits, but also the fact that par time officer make 25- 30% less than Cpl. Lapham did. Which will reduce payroll taxes, and retirement contributions as well.

Now here, again is the question...

The same number of hours were filled last year, court cases were handled, arrests were made, alarms were answered, elderly were driven, officers were dispatched, reports were written, tickets were issued...

What has CHANGED between then and now that REQUIRES an additional $130,000?

Anonymous said...

Mark, Get a life. You are the saddest human I have ever heard of.

Anonymous said...

As a brother officer of John Lapham, it infuriates me to even see his name associated with this stupid website and Mark Acciard. "Let's deal with John Lapham's hours...". How about you shut this stupid site down and leave John Lapham's name and memory as far away from this garbage as possible you idiot.

Anonymous said...

If I remember it was Acciard who tried to get money for John's Family. It was Phil who said that was not what that money was for.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

You still have yet to answer my question. It seems you are so caught up in numbers, that you fail to fully understand the meaning of it. How do you know the PD ran efficiently when they did not have the two full time officers?

I am not talking about what they accomplished or as you say: "The same number of hours were filled last year, court cases were handled, arrests were made, alarms were answered, elderly were driven, officers were dispatched, reports were written, tickets were issued...". This is different than working efficiently. Was our PD overworked? Did they do fewer neighborhood patrols?

As for the FT/PT issue. While you may choose to focus on the savings in benefits, I would argue that you do this in the expense of quality. Do the part-time officers leave their positions more frequently? What does the recruiting and training cost to replace them? You run your own business do you not? Who is more reliable? Your part-timers or your full-timers (if you have any?)

Just because we spent less, it does not mean we saved more in the long run.

And, after much discourse, you finally admit, "I recognize that it is most probably the case that this money went to replace the two officers." Probably??? Sad.

And remember you try to frame this as a $130,000.00 budget increase, when, in fact, it is not. And I suspect you know that. The budget for 2008 was $754,000.

If you admit the money probably went to replace the two officers, then I believe you being disingenuous when you say you are not advocating for a reduction in manpower in the PD.

MAcciard said...

Again, you miss my original point;

My point wasn't that a FT officer is not needed to replace Cpl. Lapham, My point was that his duties were performed by someone last year, and however that was done, it was done. Therefore, what has CHANGED between then and now that necessitates an extra $130,000?

And let me make clear, I am not talking about what was budgetted, that doesn't matter. A budget is a forecast, it is what was actually spent that counts! When you do your household budget, do you feel that because you underspent your budget you start next years budget from last years, or from what you actually spent?

Again I am not characterizing the work performed, I am asking about the money, as I was originally.

As for quality of the PT work over the FT work, I think you do ALL of our PT officers a disservice, when you try to argue that their quality of work is deficient to the quality of the FT. Both go to the police academy, yes I am aware that there is a Pt academy, and a FT academy, but they all go, they are all trained, and continue their training annually. They all qualify with their guns, they all have first aid. Isn't it funny that it falls to me, who is always painted as "hating" the police dept. to defend it's officers?


As to the Idiot "brother officer" I highly doubt that. I know most of the officers on our force, and they are professional, and competent, and do thier jobs with alacrity, grace, and integrity. John was a friend, and he and I have had many conversations about a wide range of topics, HE would NEVER speak to ANYONE in the manner which you did to me. And I can not imagine any of the other Atkinson officers I know doing that either. It is YOU "brother officer" who do a disservice to John's memory with your Juvenile, petty vindictive Rant.

If you have the intellect to understand that which I have just written then perhaps you can confine your childish outbursts to your depts. budget.

Anonymous said...

Not to get off topic, here is an article on blogger anonymity.

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article6509677.ece

Something to think abount

Anonymous said...

And since when does British cases have any bearing on American Law?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Anon who said:

WOW, I just realized Mark is right!

Nobody is dealing with his numbers, you are basically saying it is police so the amount is justified no matter what!

I would like to know, how the dept. worked last year, for over 100grand less, too!

I have to agree with Anon who said:

WOW, I just realized Mark is right!

Nobody is dealing with his numbers, you are basically saying it is police so the amount is justified no matter what!

I would like to know, how the dept. worked last year, for over 100grand less, too!

It appears that the Town gives Phil ANYTHING HE WANTS when he wants, no matter if he needs it or not.

Perhaps we citizens should start demanding that Phil's budget spending and scheduling practices be put under the microscope. Then we would all know if he needs it or not.

Anonymous said...

And on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported, the powerful Revolutionary Guards went further, threatening restrictions on the digital online media that many Iranians use to communicate among themselves and to send news of their protests overseas.

In a first statement since last Friday’s vote, the Revolutionary Guards said Iranian Web site operators and bloggers must remove content deemed to “create tension” or face legal action, the A.P. said. Despite that warning, new amateur video surfaced outside of Iran on Wednesday, apparently showing a government militia rampaging through a dormitory area of Tehran University late Tuesday or early on Wednesday.

Reuters reported, meanwhile, that Mohammadreza Habibi, the senior prosecutor in the central province of Isfahan, had warned demonstrators that they could be executed under Islamic law.

Anonymous said...

Here is another article;

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/16/AR2009061601923_pf.html

A Nevada newspaper says it has been served a federal grand jury subpoena seeking information about readers who posted comments on the paper's Web site.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Tuesday that its editor, Thomas Mitchell, plans to fight the request, which the newspaper received after reporting on a federal tax fraud case against business owner Robert Kahre.

The subpoena seeks the identities and personal information about people who posted comments on the story. The newspaper said prosecutors told the judge in the case that some comments hinted at acts of violence and the subpoena was issued out of concern for jurors' safety.

Mitchell said anonymous speech is "a fundamental and historic part of this country." The newspaper would consider cooperating if specific crimes or real threats were presented, he said.

The newspaper said the subpoena bears the name of U.S. Assistant District Attorney J. Gregory Damm, a lawyer on the Justice Department team that is prosecuting Kahre and others on charges including income tax evasion, fraud and criminal conspiracy.

Grand jury proceedings are secret, and the subpoena is not a public record.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for Nevada declined to comment.

The newspaper said it received the subpoena June 2, a week after its story describing the government's case against Kahre, a Las Vegas construction company executive accused of paying contractors with gold and silver U.S. coins based on the precious metal value of the coins but using the much lower face value of the coins for tax purposes. Kahre and the other defendants have pleaded not guilty.

The story drew nearly 175 online comments by Monday night, most in support of Kahre and critical of the government and jurors and attorneys in the case.

One commentator said: "The sad thing is there are 12 dummies on the jury who will convict him. They should be hung along with the feds."

Another called Damm a "socialist, fascist Mormon" and a "Nazi moron."

The comments are written under pseudonyms. Along with the real names of people who posted comments, the subpoena asks the newspaper for the writers' gender, birth date, physical address, telephone number, Internet service provider, IP address and credit card numbers.

After a 2003 raid on Kahre's business, Kahre and several of his workers sued Damm, two Internal Revenue Service agents and others who were involved. That civil matter is pending.

In 2007, Kahre sued Damm and agents of the FBI and IRS, alleging criminal behavior. U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra dismissed the complaint in December, and Kahre appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Two years ago, Damm prosecuted a similar tax case against nine defendants, including Kahre. The trial ended with no convictions and four acquittals.

Five defendants were partially acquitted, and two of them were dropped from the indictment that generated the current case.

Anonymous said...

You just tried to intimidate everyone on the blog from posting by making them afraid of retaliation for expressing their opinion. Let's see if it works.

Seems the comparison between Iran and Atkinson is accurate.

LegalBeagle said...

ARTICLE SUBMISSION

On Internet Privacy rights...

It seems there is someone posting to this blog that intends to intimidate the rest through the spurious allegations via news stories of a case filing, and foreign decisions, that all of your identities will be discovered. Although internet privacy law is not my prime practice area, I do have some experience here.

There have been many cases before various state Supreme Courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court, regarding the privacy rights of bloggers.

What follows are some of the U.S. LEGAL DECISIONS regarding this issue. Courts do not consider foreign law, or filed complaint, just adjudicated decisions.

Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius," and "the Federal Farmer" spoke up in rebuttal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized rights to speak anonymously derived from the First Amendment.

Part 1
- LegalBeagle

Anonymous said...

WOW, notice that no one was convicted in these cases as quoted by anon . June 17, 2009 7:23 AM

After reading the Atkinson case online, looks like the defendants in the above cases have a GREAT CASE against the Government for:

Abuse of process or civil malicious prosecution.

Chief's fault

Anonymous said...

Thanks Polito for the June 17, 2009 7:23 AM article.

Anonymous said...

Ya, see how our Government brings out their Political Machine Gun to mow down anyone that questions them? Are Polito, Consentino, Sapia names of Iranian origin?

Anonymous said...

The Chief must be praying that the article "suggested reading" posted by anon June 16, 2009 8:20 PM, doesn't come to the United States.

LegalBeagle said...

ARTICLE SUBMISSION PART 2;

In N.J. in 2007 Case entitled Manalapan v. Moskovitz, the New Jersey Township of Manalapan filed a malpractice suit against its former attorney Stuart Moskovitz, alleging misconduct regarding the Township's purchase of polluted land in 2005. The decision to file suit was met by a lively debate in the regional press and among local bloggers. One blogger who was particularly critical of the Township, of this and other decisions, was Blogspot blogger "datruthsquad" (http://datruthsquad.blogspot.com). Inexplicably, attorneys for the Township issued a subpoena to Google (owner of Blogspot) demanding that the identity of this anonymous critic be turned over, along with datruthsquad's contact information, blog drafts, e-mails, and "any and all information related to the blog." Despite repeated requests from EFF (now representing datruthsquad) to explain how this could be anything other than an attempt to out a vocal critic, attorneys for the Township refused to withdraw the subpoena and informed EFF that it could go to court to object to the subpoena if it so chose. On November 28, 2007, EFF filed a motion to quash the subpoena and for a protective order to prevent the Township from issuing similar subpoenas in the future.

Outcome: On December 21, 2007, Superior Court Judge Terence Flynn granted EFF's motion to quash the Township's September 26th subpoena seeking the identity of datruthsquad and denied a motion by the township to authorize future subpoenas, finding that the subpoena amounted to "an unjust infringement on the blogger's First Amendment rights" and that the blogger "has a right not to be drawn into the litigation." Judge Flynn denied the motion for a protective order, finding that it was unnecessary at this time.



- LegalBeagle

LegalBeagle said...

ARTICLE SUBMISSION PART 3;

More from Judge Flynn's ruling from the bench:

"And I [...] recognize that there are First Amendment issues with regard to disputes with the past administration. And that anyone [...] has a right to make their feelings clear. And they have a right not to be intimidated by the issuance of discovery requests in order to shut them down. For that reason, in many ways, the authority cited by the intervenor is correct and accurate. And first of all the [...] blogger, if in fact it’s an individual person, and I’m assuming absent any evidence that it is another individual person, has a right not to be drawn into the litigation and forced to reveal identity or to impede on his or her First Amendment rights simply on a suspicion, however founded or unfounded, and I don’t believe that this suspicion is sufficiently founded at this point to determine that it is Mr. Moskovitz. That person should not be drawn into the litigation and forced to abide by the rules with regard to exchange of information that the parties have, as opposed to a third party. So the Court is satisfied that there is no authority under law for this particular subpoena to obtain this private information. To allow the subpoena would be undue and unjust infringement on the blogger’s First Amendment rights. There’s no factual basis at this point, other than a mere suspicion for the justification. And ultimately that even if the information were obtained, it would be so remote to the actual elements of this litigation that it would not be admissible under any circumstances."

There are dozens more cases with similar outcomes that I could cite here. a quick Lexis-Nexis search will reveal over a dozens cases where the First Ammendment right to Anonymity is upheld.

Although I have no idea who the wannabe attorney is who posted those warnings, it reminds me greatly of Mr. Polito's public legal advice to townspeople, regarding his ability to Google search the law, without the contextual knowledge to apply the Law. In any event, these postings are merely, in my opinion, an attempt to muzzle dissent and debate, and are indicative of politics in Atkinson.

I have watched with rapt attention for many years the political fray in Atkinson, and I have observed that whenever a thorny issue presents itself, and is discussed on this blog, the reaction of the town officials is never to respond to the issue itself, but rather to attack the critics, this would appear to me to be an extension of that.

- LegalBeagle

Anonymous said...

Hey! How did we get this far off subject? I thought we were talking about the police budget. Can we get back to that? I'm interested in just how much more money Phil has to spend, compared to what he actually needs to run that office. a Hundred Thousand Dollars is a LOT of money.

Anonymous said...

This is very informative LegalBeagle, but I have to wonder if you are taking the posters warning out of context. It seems that the big debate was in regard to the moderator posting hearsay rumor that Lt Baldwin had been fired, only to have been subsequently rebuked by the Kingston Police Chief. This is where I believe a bloggers anonimity might not be protected, but since I am not a lawyer, I'm curious as to your take.

If you defame someone on a blog, in this case the Lt, and he decided to sue, would supenas to discover the blog administrator be honored or would the blog admin be protected by the First Amendment? We have seen limits on free speech in various court cases, and I believe defamation is one of them. Could you please clarify the law as you understand it for the rest of us lay people?

Posting opinions about a particular topic like RTK or a tower should be protected and I believe anyone who posts on such need not worry. Defaming someones character is another story and I believe this is where posters need to be careful.

Anonymous said...

They are protected.

Anonymous said...

Not in the case of defamation:

http://bowtielaw.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/standards-to-identify-anonymous-posters-for-defamation/

The Court outlined the following test to identify the anonymous posters:

1. Plaintiff had to undertake efforts to notify the anonymous posters that they were the subject of a subpoena and withhold action to afford the fictitiously-named defendants a reasonable opportunity to file and serve their opposition.

2. Plaintiff had to identify and set forth the exact statements purportedly made by each anonymous poster than plaintiff alleges constitutes actionable speech;

3. Court needed to review the complaint and all information to determine whether plaintiff has set forth a prima facie cause of action against the fictitiously-named defendants and sufficient evidence to support each claim; and

4. The court had to balance the defendant’s First Amendment right of anonymous free speech against the strength of the prima facie case presented and the necessity for the disclosure of the anonymous defendant’s identity to allow the plaintiff properly to proceed.


http://www.rexxfield.com/howtoidentify-anonymous-bloggers.php

Advocates suggest that, at a minimum, the determination whether the court will permit discovery of confidential identifying information from a third-party comprises the following elements:

The plaintiff must first establish a significant likelihood of success on the merits of his/her defamation claim.

The plaintiff must establish that a balance of hardships tips in the plaintiff's favor; and

The plaintiff must establish that the subpoena is the least intrusive alternative available.

These factors, while mindful of the right to recover for legitimate defamation claims, ensure that a plaintiff will not be able to compel an ISP to disclose confidential identifying information when disclosure is neither necessary nor fair to a defendant who has not committed anonymous online defamation of character.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that approach.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with what approach? I'm not suing anyone as I have not been personally defamed. My only point is that a posters anonymity can only be assured so long as they aren't crossing a line. Let's say for the sake of argument that John Smith was on the BOS. Now I can voice my opinion that John Smith is a terrible selectman and not be concerned. However, if I were to falsely claim that John Smith is a pedophile, then I can't be assured that I can remain anonymous if our ficticious John Smith decided to sue me for defamation. Just what "approach" do you think I'm trying to take other than advising posters that there are limits to their first amendment rights and that they should conduct themselves accordingly if they wish not to lose their anonymity and end up in court.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that advice and it's appreciated. No one should be saying defamatory statements towards someone else (In person) or on a blog.

I thought you were one of the defendants in the Atkinson case I've been reading about on the ATA sight. If you were, I was just saying good luck with that approach.

From previous postings today, it appears that someone is intentionally trying to scare people from posting. I doubt it would be the plaintiffs since it wouldn't gain them anything. If it were the defendants, than it would be designed to keep people from posting their feelings about what they find out here.

If it were defendants trying to intimidate posters, and the blog were opened up to the courts, I think that would be opening up doors the plaintiffs could walk right through that the defendants would not like. That's why I said: Good luck with that approach. If you get my drift.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that advice and it's appreciated. No one should be saying defamatory statements towards someone else (In person) or on a blog.

uh huh, sure,

except for the chief of police!

It is ok for him to do it in front of the entire town!

Anonymous said...

No it's not. It just shows how he has out lived his usefulness. He should have been gone twenty + years ago, when he became a liability

Anonymous said...

Well the first lawsuit arose around misuse of funds, about 2 years after he was first appointed chief in 1980 or 81.

By your standard he would have become a liability then.

Anonymous said...

Actually, after reading about the Peaks case, I believe that's when he became a liability. It just got worse after that, peaking (no pun intended) now.

Anonymous said...

I couldnt believe the way he chased Kaye out in the hallway screaming at him. Then sitting down and reaming him for 15 minutes, selectmen should have put a stop to that.

Anonymous said...

Why would you think that? The Mafia doesn't yell at their Don, now do they? It would be the "Kiss of Death".