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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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cops upset they don't get raises in addition to contract!

From the Eagle Tribune;

November 30, 2011
Atkinson gives raises to most town workers
By Cara Hogan

ATKINSON — Selectmen voted to give a 2 percent raise to all town employees — except the police department and library staff.

And some police union members aren't too happy.

Selectman Craig Schuster said town employees haven't had a raise since 2009 and because of the increased cost of living, selectmen decided almost everyone needed a raise.

"We did have it budgeted this year to give a 2 percent retroactive increase to town employees, beginning last March," he said. "During the discussion, we decided a 1.5 percent raise in 2012 will be executed, too."

The increase will cost the town about $8,000 more per year, Schuster said.

Library employees didn't get a raise because library trustees already gave staff members raises for this year.

But some police department employees are angry about being passed over, according to Patrol Officer Kevin Donnelly, union president for the department.

"I went down to Town Hall and asked, 'Why don't we get a raise?'" he said. "They said because we have unions and a union contract, we don't. I understand that, but I didn't understand why, with a swipe of a pen, selectmen could give a raise to the rest of town employees."

Schuster said it's just the way the system works.

"The police department (is) under the collective bargaining agreement and we are currently negotiating with them for their increase next year," he said. "This was no personal attack on the police department. We will give them an increase when the contract is completed."

Once the department and selectmen agree on a contract, voters must then approve any raises in March. The police department hasn't had a contract since 2009, when voters rejected the proposed contract.

Of all the town employees, the police department could end up the only ones without a raise, Donnelly said.

"I would hope (the contract) wouldn't be voted down again, but times aren't great," he said. "When people go to vote and have a choice to give somebody a raise, taxes are so bad, that's an easy one to say no to."

He said it seems unfair for only some town departments to need voter approval for raises.

"I don't see why with a swipe of a pen selectmen could give a raise to the rest of town employees," Donnelly said. "We have five or six people at the police department that aren't in the union. What about the chief? The chief's wife?"

Police Chief Philip Consentino said he wishes his officers could get more money.

"I feel bad for the officers," he said. "They've gone since 2009 without a raise. That's why we lost so many officers, because they were able to go other places and get more money than what they did here."

The department lost three officers to other local departments in the past year.

"It's probably just a dollar raise for some, so it's not about the money," Donnelly said. "It's just the overall treatment I didn't appreciate by the selectmen."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Selectmen don't trust Chief's word.

At a confrontational selectmen meeting last week, the Selectmen had some issues to discuss with the chief of police. First, they mentioned that they had sent him three CERTIFIED letter on various subjects, with no response from him. Phil, as is his usual custom didn't want to discuss the actual letters, but chose instead to whine about the effrontery of the board sending them "certified", demanding to know why they couldn't just tell him about them? He received his answer from Fred, who said; We didn't want you to be able to say you didn't get them!

The CONTENT of the letter was even more interesting. Letter #1 demanded that the chief STOP bringing in Jail trustees to clean the station because of the cost. Chief claimed they were free. When presented with the numbers, time and a half for the officer picking up and dropping off, lunch, car expenses, etc, which far out weigh the chief's claimed 446/week savings, he retreated to claiming they were "SEMI-FREE"! Selectman Shuster exclaimed in exasperation, WHAT IS SEMI-FREE? It either costs or it doesn't! Very true. Mr. Shuster, Semi-free was Phil's attempt to spin his previous lie.

Letter #2 was about Det. Farrar, who is apparently RETIRED BUT STILL WORKING IN THE SAME JOB FOR THE CHIEF! HOW is it possible to collect retirement, while still remaining in the very same job you are retiring from? THAT is FRAUD! SOMEONE declared him retired and eligible to collect his retirement, while allowing him to keep working. FURTHER, the chief admitted to paying him $25/hr. Supposedly part time, later claiming he was paying him for 6-8 hours per day, PLUS time and a half to get, and drop off the trustee! This reminds us of the impropriety of Phil revealing that he paid Billy his sick time to go on his summer camp, thus allowing him to get paid by BOTH the town and the military simultaneously, while violating the Town's sick time policy, and then announcing that he did this for SIX YEARS!

Letter #3 dealt with Phil hiring someone to do the detective's job, while keeping the detective on doing the same job! The selectmen told Phil that Farrar was not allowed back into the police dept., and he had to abide by their policies. Phil stated that he was not an employee! MEMO TO PHIL... You get paid by the town, that MAKES you an employee!

It is high time for the lies, deception, political posturing, and improprieties to stop. Phil it is time for you to retire.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It is Time for the Selectmen to ACT!

With fresh allegations of electioneering, and his outrageous defiance of his employer's wishes, it is high time for the selectmen to take action with regards to the police chief. Gross insubordination can not be allowed to exist in any organization, and it has run rampant in the Town of Atkinson for far too long.

For those who wonder how we got to this point, the following Article was published on this blog in July 2008;

TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008

The evolution of a costly problem.
Anonymous said...

Atkinson Reporter2 please accept this as an article submission;

The evolution of a costly problem.

Although I grew up in Atkinson, I left to go to college, and now live out of state, but as I have family in town I try to keep up on events in town. I LOVED reading the Atkinson Reporter, and the Atkinson Taxpayers website, and now I love reading this site.

Background now out of the way, I have spent much time reading the website. I remember a lot of these incidents, but seeing it all together in one place is overwhelming. I decided to write about what I felt about reading all of this.

I think we can all agree, even though the police chief evidently does good work with the elderly, he is a costly problem to the town, what with all the lawsuits, resident complaints, shouting at meetings, Gestapo tactics with his enemies, etc. I wanted to examine how this could be allowed to happen in my home town.

As far as I can tell chief Consentino was appointed on a probationary basis in 1978 to the position of chief of police. At that time, as near as I can tell, he had been a part- time police officer for 8 years or so, with little or no formal training, or experience. It was in 1980 apparently that the first problem appeared;( all of this is available in the court documents section of

A Selectman, Wayne Peak, apparently found that minor fees that the police charged for reports and such, were not being deposited to the town, but given to the patrolmens association(a private organization). As this was money charged by the town for services, Peak determined that it belonged to the town, and characterized the misappropriation of these monies as misuse of funds, or some type of theft. Peak brought his information to the board of selectmen and asked them to punish the police chief, but they refused. Peak went to court, filing a Writ of Mandamus, demanding that the Court order the selectmen to do their duty. He also resigned in protest.

I have to say that the court documents read like an adventure novel, allegations of police harassment, false charges of reckless driving later dismissed, formal accusations of witness tampering, employing agents to fire shots at the police station, complaints to the Mass Dept. of Revenue, untimely audits yielding no results, at one point chief Consentino even sued Mr. Peak, claiming, Libel, Slander, Defamation of Character, reduced earnings capacity, and stress related illness’. These competing claims wound their way through the Court system for 7 years, until being settled for an undisclosed amount. Mr. Peak then threw a party in N.Andover the weekend after the settlement to show off the TWO new Cadillac Eldorado’s he purportedly bought with the settlement.

This case was finally settled in 1988. In 1990 or 1991 there came another issue, then Lt. Rick Daniels resigned suddenly over disputes with chief Consentino. Chief Consentino claimed in the Eagle-Tribune that Daniels “wiped out 12 years of computer database information before he left”. Daniels claimed this never happened, and was heard to state that Atkinson didn’t even have a database in 1979.

In 1996 or so their was some issue apparently with police standards and training, resulting in their visit to town.

In 1997 and 1998 there were endless shouting matches between selectman Fred Childs questions about budget and expenditures in the police dept. and chief Consentino’s refusal to provide clarification to this selectmen, his boss. All of this is detailed in the Eagle Tribune, and on the site.

In 1999, the officers got so frustrated that they decided to form a union. There were “intimidation letters” from chief Consentino to the organizers, resulting in a labor board case, in which the NH Public Employees Labor Relations Board, ordered the “town and its Agent(Consentino) to cease and desist from any bullying, harassment, and intimidation of officers”.

Around this same time Mrs. Childs, then a part time officer herself, in Atkinson, evidently filed a complaint with police standards and training about chief Consentino’s hours, that he worked too many to be part time, and that he lacked the training and education to be full time. Chief Consentino responded by asking one of his officers to visit her house and take pictures of her Hampstead animal control cruiser, he followed this up with a letter to the Hampstead selectmen accusing Mrs. Childs of misusing her cruiser for personal business. When Mrs. Childs found out about this intimidation, and rightly blew up about it, Consentino claimed “I was acting as Phil Consentino resident, not Phil Consentnio, chief” Like every “resident” has access to police officers and police dept. stationary!

In 2003, there was another flap that ended up before the labor board involving officer Lorden, case was settled with officer Lorden receiving payment. There was another labor board case involving Officer Buco, another settlement, another payment. 2003, also saw the infamous “Town that hates Halloween” story, reported on CNN, Boston Globe, Union Leader, AP, Howard Stern, Michael Graham, Howie Carr, etc. Nice Job!

In 2004 saw the first conflict of interest allegations from Brian Boyle, then from Mark Acciard. Acciard, then a budget committee member, filed a code of ethics complaint, which they ignored. He then filed with the Court asking for an injunction to keep the POLICE CHIEF from DECIDING POLICE MATTERS AS A SELECTMAN!!! Should be a no brainer, right? Wrong! Chief Consentino refused to step aside, even after the Court ordered him to, and the Court found this 30 year chief in CONTEMPT OF COURT! He didn’t like that and tried to appeal it to the NH Supreme Court, and they dismissed his case!

In 2006 He was the subject of a Federal Civil Rights Suit against the Town, recently settled! Another settlement another payment!

And Now the Town is currently facing a $3,000,000.00 lawsuit alleging misconduct AGAIN on the part of Atkinson’s police chief! When does it end?

The selectmen could, at any time, during all of this done their duty, and enforced town policy, and reprimanded, suspended, or even fired the chief, but they have done nothing, and the allegations, legal costs, increased insurance premiums, all continue to march on.

Since that time there has been another lawsuit, with legal expenses so extraordinary to attempt to craft a defense for Phil's actions, that Primex, the Town's long time insurer, DROPPED THE TOWN COVERAGE! this forced the town to pay the rest of the expenses to settle that case out of pocket.

this is a chief law enforcement officer who began his tenure with allegations of misappropriation of funds, was Ordered by the NHPELRB to stop bullying and harassing his officers, Who has been responsible for AT LEAST TWO Settlements on Unfair labor practices charges, and AT LEAST TWO out of court settlements to lay to rest abuse of authority, harassment, etc. cases, has been the subject of NO LESS than EIGHT LEGAL actions during his tenure, incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses and settlements, was ORDERED by the Court to recuse himself from meetings, only to VIOLATE that order, and be found IN CONTEMPT OF COURT. He then wasted MORE taxpayer money to appeal that decision to the NH Supreme Court who dismissed for LACK OF STANDING! He has a documented history of threatening his opponents, following them through town, defaming them and making false statements at meetings, Lying to the People of Atkinson, and his routine arrogance, and general disregard for the demands of his employers. In ANY OTHER TOWN an employee who committed a FRACTION of this behavior would have been fired.

It is time for the selectmen to follow the DEMANDS of the AG's office in 2008, and the recommendations of the MRI report, and PHYSICALLY SEPARATE Police and Elderly Affairs. Move EA to the Community center, merge it with all of the other senior programs into one all encompassing full service dept. Dispatch the cars from there. Offer Phil a CHOICE; he can choose to remain as police chief, or as Elderly Affairs Director, BUT NOT BOTH!

It is time to put the good of the Town above the wishes of one of it's EMPLOYEES.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Phil Electioneering AGAIN? Follow up

Yes THIS is the letter Phil and his uniformed minions handed out at the annual Senior citizens Luncheon at the Community Center. Phil and his drivers handed this letter out to every senior who walked in the door. When everyone was seated, Phil then made a speech, asking for everyone "to support him against the selectmen". He noted that the recent MRI report recommended the separation of the two depts. but lied when telling the assembled seniors that "the reason was not clear".

This from the MRI Report; "receiving this recommendation direct from the police chief raises the potential for conflict of interest concerns. Using the name of the atkinson police to get a discount on services, may not be in the best interest of the dept. or the town. This service would be best handled by an elderly affairs dept. not directly connected to the police dept."

The MRI report echoed the Attorney Generals comments four year ago when they called the operation of the donation account illegal, and demanded transparency, and accountability for the chief. They demanded that he keep a time card, stating that one should be able to clearly see where his police duties end, and his elderly duties begin.

The outrage of this, once again, is the juvenile antics of an overgrown child needing to get his way. ALL legal authorities who have looked at this situation have asked for it to be separated. The police chief continues in his dishonest demagoguery of this issue, claiming that separating the two depts. will drive up the cost of elderly affairs. That is simply not true. We do not need a full time dispatch center to handle elderly affairs calls. That is over $40,000/yr. wasted.

It is time for this official harassment to stop.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grant funds iPads for Timberlane officials

From the Eagle Tribune;

November 16, 2011
Grant funds iPads for Timberlane officials
By Cara Hogan

PLAISTOW — Timberlane school administrators are on the cutting edge — they all have iPads.

The Timberlane Regional School District bought 29 iPads this year for administrators, funded entirely by a state grant. Each 32-gigabyte iPad 2 costs about $599.

Scott Strainge, director of secondary education, said the district received $20,000 from a Title II state education grant for professional development and school improvement. Timberlane is one of few districts in New Hampshire to obtain iPads through the grant.

"The grant paid 100 percent for the iPads and the training for all of the administrators," he said. "We're working directly with the state and they approved the purchase. All principals, curriculum coordinators and directors got iPads, including myself."

This month, Strainge hopes to use the iPads to create a database for analyzing the district's curriculum and teaching style, which can be used later as a guide for teacher training. Strainge said the iPads are a good investment because they will save the district money in the long run.

"Previously, we were paying an outside agency about $20,000 a year to help us with data collection in classroom observation," he said. "We can now reallocate those funds. The iPads have allowed us to create our own infrastructure. It's been a great success so far."

Michael Hogan, principal of Timberlane Regional Middle School, said he and other principals use the iPads during "walk-throughs" to observe teaching in the classroom.

"I'm able to take a snapshot of what kinds of instructional strategies are being used," he said. "I evaluate the learning and input it into the iPad as I walk around. Then, we can send it back to the teacher as immediate feedback to show how kids are learning."

Hogan said he was trained Monday on how to use the iPad to input the data. He hopes to have a full, working database by Thanksgiving.

"We just got this set up," he said. "We can also track data across the whole school. We can say as a school, on Monday, we saw 12 percent of the school using technology, for example. It will really help us track how we're teaching."

John Holland, the district's director of technology, said the iPads are a big improvement over the outdated personal digital assistants, or PDAs, administrators were using before.

"The PDAs made it very difficult to do the observations," he said. "You had to go back and sync it to the computer and a lot of times, it wasn't working well. The iPad eliminates these issues completely because we use the wireless Internet."

Strainge said other local school districts have been asking how Timberlane has been using the iPads and are also thinking of applying for a grant. Students are also using the iPads for a few projects, Hogan said.

"The students and myself can capture and film to make short movies and productions with it that way," he said.

The next step for the district is to get iPads into classrooms for teachers and students to use every day.

"What's happening now, as I walk around with my iPad, the kids are like, 'Whoa, can we use it?"' Strainge said. "They'll show me how to do things. And teachers are asking to borrow the iPad and try things. We're thinking we might run some pilots with some classrooms with some type of tablet. It's very exciting."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SCOOP: Consentino Electioneering AGAIN?

Fall is upon us once again, and in Atkinson that signals the beginning of the political season. The annual battle of the budget, along with other pet political issues come to the fore.

THIS year NH's most Notorious police chief is up to his old tricks. Who could forget his past transgressions, such mind bogglers as;

Calling signer of petition warrant articles asking them "why did you sign this shit?"

Or, Standing on the grounds of the post office holding signs and waiving to cars while wearing his Atkinson Police Senior Transport division jacket?

Which brings us to todays latest attempt at what some will call electioneering. Consentino, while wearing his "Atkinson Elderly Affairs Dept.- Director" shirt, made the rounds at the Annual Senior Brunch asking for "support against the selectmen"

Apprently at least according to Phil, the selectmen have finally strapped a set on, and decided to follow the recommendations of the NH Attorney General's office 4 years ago, and the Recommendation of the MRI report that it is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST for Elderly and Police to be intertwined. OF COURSE, ALL the LEGAL authorities have recommended that the depts. be separated. And Phil made a big show of spending $5,000 to "separate the depts" 4 years ago, in reality, as MRI found out, they are still enmeshed.

Phil was taking advantage of the town funded Senior Brunch while in his Elderly affairs uniform to solicit signatures for petition warrant articles to prevent the selectmen from separating the two depts. In any other town this apparent violation of law, consistently repeated would be grounds for dismissal of the town's chief law enforcement office, BUT probably not in Atkinson!

Phil's arguments; If it ain't broke don't fix it. It works where it is, he claims to the captive seniors dependent upon him for their transportation. As we have heard from seniors denied transportation at town meetings, it does not pay to piss off Phil. But to any RATIONAL person, this too, would be ample reason to separate the two depts.

Elderly Affairs is a TAXPAYER FUNDED DEPT. It should be available to ANY who want it, EVEN IF they piss Phil off.

Atkinson, it is high time to stop letting this bully with a badge intimidate people into giving him his way. Separate the depts. as the AG demanded, as MRI recommended. As citizens put in a petition warrant article two years ago that Phil and jack Sapia destroyed. Separating the two depts. will make them both more efficient, more transparent, more accountable, AND MORE HONEST.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Parents want to see video from bus incident- laSalle Stonewalls

From the Eagle Tribune;

November 13, 2011
Parents want to see video from bus incident
By Cara Hogan

An Atkinson family may file a civil lawsuit against the Timberlane Regional School District after a school bus driver allegedly berated their 11-year-old son.

Two weeks ago, Eric Roux said, his son got off the bus and immediately broke down crying.

"My son said the bus driver yelled at him continuously for 30 minutes," Roux said. "He got yelled at for not having his backpack in his lap and said something fresh. The bus driver immediately stopped and screamed at him, close enough where he got spit on his face. He called him stupid idiot for the next 10 stops."

Timberlane contracts with First Student for bus transportation.

Every school bus is equipped with a small video camera, so the incident with driver Al Lamonica was recorded.

Roux told school district officials he wanted to see the video, but his request was rejected.

District Superintendent Richard La Salle said there are rules governing when these tapes can be made public.

"There's limitations in terms of how the videos can be released to protect the privacy of students," La Salle said. "If we are severely disciplining a student, then a parent can view those tapes. In talking with our attorney, the determination was made that, under these circumstances, we could not release the tape."

La Salle said the bus driver's behavior was "not appropriate," but it was not grounds to fire him. Instead, La Salle said, he asked the bus company to assign the driver to another route.

"I will say the bus driver did speak harshly to the student, but he was not profane in any way," La Salle said. "We communicated our concerns to the bus company and the bus company took action."

Timothy Stokes, spokesman for First Student, said because of the complaint, the driver is no longer driving children from home to school.

"This driver is operating charter service only," he said. "It's field trips, sporting events, things of that nature."

Stokes said the company worked with the school district to make the decision. They address issues like this on a case-by-case basis, he said.

"(Lamonica) has been working with the school district for 12 years and the driver had no previous complaints," Stokes said.

Roux reported the incident to Plaistow police. He said an officer reviewed the video, but since the bus driver never physically touched his son, police said it is not a criminal issue. Now, Roux plans to sue the school in civil court in order to see the video.

"I'm not looking for any money," Roux said. "Every parent is amazed that we don't have the right to see the video. It's our son and we pay taxes for that bus. It's about a right to know stuff that happens to your kid on a bus or anywhere on school property."

Michelle Roux said she just wants to see what happened to her son.

"It's devastating to us," she said. "We feel like this bus driver bullied our son and got away with it. It just kills me that he's still driving a bus."

After the incident on the bus, the boy was bullied by older students at school, according to his parents. La Salle said the school followed the proper procedure for everything.

"There was some fallout from the incident and it was handled," La Salle said. "We feel that throughout this whole process, we have worked in the best interests of the child and the family. Obviously, we are saddened when these things happen. I think we've done a fairly good job with it."