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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Atkinson voters will face opposing articles on ballot

From the Eagle Tribune;

January 14, 2012
Atkinson voters will face opposing articles on ballot
By Cara Hogan

ATKINSON — A petition warrant article directly opposes the selectmen's plan to separate the Elderly Affairs Department from the Police Department.

Elderly affairs director and police Chief Philip Consentino said he decided to protect the organization he founded. He organized a petition warrant article to support keeping Elderly Affairs at the Police Department, with support from the Budget Committee.

"We got together 110 signatures," he said. "The petition was explained to people, and they came down to the station wanting to sign it. There wasn't any problem getting the signatures."

Consentino only needed 25 signatures for the article to make it on to the March ballot.

Last week, selectmen drafted two articles that would completely change the operation of Elderly Affairs. One would appropriate $1,000 to move the department to the Atkinson Community Center, and consolidate the senior recreation programs and Elderly Affairs into one location. The other article would raise $25,000 to combine the responsibilities of the part-time director of Elderly Affairs and the part-time Recreation and Senior Program director into one new full-time position: the director of Senior and Recreation Affairs.

Selectman Fred Childs said the board does not endorse Consentino's article.

"That's their decision," he said. "They got the required 25 signatures."

Consentino said selectmen have been trying to separate him from Elderly Affairs for years. In 2008, the state's state attorney general's charitable trust unit declared there was a conflict of interest in the operations of Elderly Affairs being intermingled with the police department.

The finances of the groups were officially separated, but Consentino continues to operate the program out of the police department.

An independent study by Municipal Resources Inc. in October recommended the town separate the Police Department and Elderly Affairs because of conflicts of interest.

The two articles drafted by selectmen do not have the support of the Budget Committee, according to Chairman Todd Barbera. He said the board voted, 5-1, not to move the department and unanimously voted against creating a new position.

"People felt it was running just fine and we didn't need to add $25,000 to the salary of the Elderly Affairs director when we were getting the job done for $100," Barbera said. "We also had to take into consideration the overall costs of the warrants. You prioritize and try to give a balance."

The Budget Committee also did not endorse some other articles: two addressing sidewalk repairs, the purchase of a new highway department truck and adding money to the Recreation Capital Reserve Fund. But the committee did support buying a new police car and hiring a sixth Atkinson police officer.

Childs said the Budget Committee votes against many articles selectmen endorse.

"It's typical," he said. "The Budget Committee votes and we can only spend the money they approve. I'm not worried."

But Consentino said now there are two different viewpoints on the ballot.

"We'll let the public make a decision one way or another," he said.


Anonymous said...

A complete disgrace.

Todd, how can you vote against the wishes of the AGO for $1k? ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS buys us out of this mess.

Officers were using elderly affairs credit cards for gas in the cruisers this year. Obviously this isn't working nor is it ethical.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Selectmen are trying to get rid of Noriko and Phil.

Anonymous said...

They were not using EA credit cards, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.

Lies will get you nowhere.

The gas was charged to the wrong "inhouse account" at the service station that provides gas
to the town. It is very easy for an employee to bill a wrong account with multiple accts for the Town of Atkinson.

Your post is unethical.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we'll see how many deer are circling come March.

tim dziechowski said...

This will get really interesting if BOTH the selectmen's and Phil's warrant articles pass.

Our favorite soap..."As Elderly Affairs turns".

Tune in next week as the selectmen contemplate appointing Noriko as police chief, and decide, Nahhh!!!

Anonymous said...

I think the A.G.'s office should be involved in all this because they represent the legal system and the decisions of the courts in all of that has taken place over the past. The courts decisions are and were final but there seems to be a laxness in enforcing their decisions. The cause of the laxness of enforcement doesn't just lay with the courts but it does with the selectmen and the towns people for not wanting to make due justice enforced. All it takes is for the town is to tell and ask the courts to enforce their decisions or revoke them. They already made their decisions against and for all the conflicts arisen from the chief and his doings. Do you really think ,at this point, that they will allow this to continue. I think not and all it will take is a little prodding by the right people to make them enforce their decisions about any and all they decided.

MAcciard said...

The budget committee should neither be recommending nor not recommending the chief's warrant article as it does not call for the appropriation of money.

MAcciard said...

To 11:06; You are an ass! Do you know that for years Noriko would use her OWN PERSONAL credit card to book those senior trips, because the Town did not have a credit card for her to use?

Sometimes she would charge $5-7,000 on her own personal credit card, to serve the seniors.

NO ONE wants to see her go.

Anonymous said...

Atkinson is officially the biggest problem town in the state of New Hampshire. Due to taking advantage of and manipulating elderly voters, routine violation of The Right To Know law, gross illegal acts at Deliberative Sessions by a moderator ignorant of basic RSA laws, a cowardly Board of Selectmen,, and now a morally derelict Budget Committee run amok. SUMMATION: GROSS INCOMPETENCE AND VIOLATION OF OATH OF OFFICE.

Todd Barbera said...

The Budget Committee did not make any votes on petition articles. The ET article is not exactly accurate and things were taken out of context as often happens with the ET. I did not vote for either EA article as the Board of Selectmen already have the authority to set pay rates and make decisions on where a department operates out of. They are simply trying to abdicate their authority to the voters. If they wish to move EA to the Community Center, then they should do so out of the operating budget.

Anonymous said...

To Todd Barbera

Agree that ET doesn't conveniently get it correct. Heaven only knows how they didn't get it correct from an activist point of view when we experienced the same results.

Would you please expand on how they didn't get it correct (and what actually happened in those budget meetings) that back up why they didn't get it correct?

You do that and we will tell you how it appears to us (more than average) voters, to what is really going on.

You be honest and we will be honest.

Todd Barbera said...

"Would you please expand on how they didn't get it correct "

Some of the statements are misleading. For instance, we voted "not to move the department". What we did was vote not to recommend the $1000 warrant to move EA from the PD to the ACC. We have no authority to vote to not move a department. In that same paragraph, it says we "voted against creating a new position." Wrong again. We voted against recommending funding an EXISTING position from $100 to $25000.

The bottom line is the Budget Committee has a straight forward job, to create the budget and make recommendations on money warrant articles. This article makes it sound as though we are somehow involved in the operational decision process. We are not.

We vote our recommendations based upon a number of criteria. Much is based upon the information we received. We received the warrants on many of these without backup information including the EA articles. Having authored warrant articles, I know if you want to have a good chance of getting a recommendation then you ought to be at the meeting to answer questions that the BC may have. We had zero people in attendance when our meeting started.

MAcciard said...


The selectmen's article DOES REQUIRE budget committee recommendation or non recommendation as it raises and appropriates money.

Further, we are already paying the EA dept. $25,000 in overlap from the PD budget. If you factor in the time that the chief spends on EA rather than PD, plus the dispatchers time, as 75% of the calls she handles are elderly related, rather than police.

Todd Barbera said...


We voted our recommendations on all articles that had appropriations tied to them. I'm not sure why you think we didn't. We did not vote on any articles that did not carry appropriations. All of the citizen petitions fall into that category and therefore did not get discussed.

Anonymous said...

It was discussed at a public meeting. Farrar charged EA instead of the PD for gas.

It's not the gas station's fault, it's Farrar's fault. Farrar should not even have access to the Elderly Affairs accounts since he doesn't work for them.

This is why the departs. need to be separated, financially and physically.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me but Noriko should not be using her own credit card for Town business. In the corporate world, this is not allowed. She should have a Town issued credit card to book the trips and she should reconcile the invoices with receipts and give them to the Twon bookkeeper. It never ceases to amaze me at how poorly this Town is managed.

BTW, calling me an ass Mark because I said they might want to replace her is ignorant. They have a warrant article to take her job and make it full time and have not discussed it with her so my OPINION about this is what it is. I'm entitled to voice it without being attacked personally.

Anonymous said...

"We got together 110 signatures," he said. "The petition was explained to people, and they came down to the station wanting to sign it. There wasn't any problem getting the signatures."

Oh, but there is. Using your position as Chief of Police and using Town property (the Police Station) to meet to collect signatures for a citizen petition warrant article concerning your other paid town position is an extreme violation of state electioneering laws.

Which brings me to my next question. How did these people who signed know about this petition and why did they flock to the PD to sign? You must have instructed them to do this. You do not even know how corrupt you actually are.

Anonymous said...

110 signatures is impressive in a small town like Atkinson.

Getting 110 signatures requires a minimum of 55 phone calls assuming 2 voters per household. We all know many seniors are single. Reasonably about 75 phone calls were made. Or a mailer went out.
To get 110 signatures from his base would require a mailer to at least 500-600 of his people. Mailers aren't cheap. A lot of phone calls would still be required with a mailer no matter what.

Who is paying for this political activity? Phones, time for calls, mail, personnel, facilities, utilities, insurance, etc etc.

Answer: YOU are.

Any political group with free facilities, budget and personnel is unbeatable. The badge enables the bully to protect his turf and keep the money and political organization rolling. Nothing will change as long as he has a badge.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

email is the most likely way this was communicated.

1 list, 5 minutes spent. "get down here and sign".

MAcciard said...

To the poster at 9:42;

I stand corrected. I misinterpreted your comment about Noriko.

She does a spectacular job, and will continue to do so.

MAcciard said...

Here is one problem; That of equal treatment under the law.

Phil uses taxpayer funded police dispatchers to send out fundraising letters, and thank you letters for his private charity.

I run a private charity that funds NH's only competitive special needs cheerleading team. What is to stop me from requesting the town provide the same services at taxpayer expense for the special needs cheerleaders?

What is to stop the Boy Scouts from requesting the same? Or any other charity? If taxpayer funded employees are allowed to work for private organizations on town time, who decides which organizations, get taxpayer funded services?

Along with this is taxpayer funded premises, advertising, naming rights, etc.

BTW, in NH, police chiefs have been fired, and the Supreme Court upheld their firing for much much less dishonesty than this.

Anonymous said...

think of all those reward points at 5-7k a pop. not a bad deal to rack up tens of thosands of points

Anonymous said...

Todd, zero people attended the start of the meeting, how about when it ended? Your wording sounds as if people may have shown up shortly thereafter?

Anonymous said...

No matter what, it sure seems the buget comittee supports the Chief.
Me thinks a letter to the editor is warranted for this situation. Please clarify with the voters your position since you state the EA misquoted your intentions. We shall wait to see your actions on this matter.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Go public with your position and clarify once and for all where you stand. Do you support the Attorney General's position to split the EA from the PD or not? Same question for the MRI report. Do you agree with it or not?

The article looks like want to keep all as is. I wouldn't allow the Tribune to misquote me if that's what you say.

Anonymous said...

Even if they used the EA email list, it is electioneering and is also using town (CHIEF DESIGNATED CONFIDENTIAL) information for personal use and personal gain, a conflict of interest in itseft.

Anonymous said...

email list for all the seniors with no computers. LOL!!!

Phil controls information they get. It's either in the Eagle Tribune or in a letter from him. Period.

Anonymous said...

Todd you said

"Board of Selectmen already have the authority to set pay rates and make decisions on where a department operates out of. They are simply trying to abdicate their authority to the voters."

My interpretation of what you said along with your other comments, the Budget Committee has no say in the matter other than vote to recommend a warrant article or not, but Board of Selectman already have authority to do what is put forth in the 2 warrant articles.

i don't get it. Why is the BOS writing warrant articles for something they can already decide on? Makes no sense.

macciard said...

Because they do not have the stones to do it no their own. They want the people to vote for, or more likely against it, to absolve them of having to make a decision.

So much for leadership.

Anonymous said...

Almost all the elderly I know have computers.

Anonymous said...


Here's some great links you can share with em all.

Anonymous said...

bring in the ag to investigate the bos

Anonymous said...

Why bother having the A.G.'s come in when all any one has to do is to ask them to remind the courts of the Conmans failures to comply with the past court rulings that he has not complied with. The only way I would ask them to come and investigate any thing is to come on the pretenses of any and all illegal discovery due to all controversies w/i the town. This could be why that only in part the selectmen and other officials haven't done their jobs to protect the town from the past and continuing illegal activities and conflicts of interest. [ It could be why they are afraid to ]Then let the chips fall where they do given the right or wrongs with in the towns people and its elected officials past to present. I think you know where I'm going with this don't you?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

But who will step forward to do it? May be some one who has been hurt the most and those who were less hurt will help that person. Note .. I didn't say if the person is male or female who has been hurt the most. It does depend on the pain thresh hold[s] of the person that has been hurt.

Anonymous said...

those partition from the chief should never reach the balot get the bum out should have been fired years ago

Anonymous said...

If you don't think the AG is aware
of what is going on in Atkinson you are mistaken. There have been many letters to the AG, and any one else
that would listen, in Concord looking for help and they do absolutely nothing. Same response as the BOS.

We are between a rock and a hard
place and there is no way out of
the destruction of a town, other than the people, if they want it bad

We still have our vote, even though it has been compromised, and that is
the only thing we have left.

Sorry to be so pessimistic but it has been going on for so many years now and not getting any better. If any thing it is ruining our Town
right before our eyes.

Anonymous said...

If the AG's office is aware of this then why aren't they doing their job. Ditto for the courts. I'm not that capable of writing a letter to the newspapers or the authorities that could or would be concerned. May be one or more persons with strong but yet to the point writing can make them all listen . Especially with the newspapers publishing the towns concerns and past history . The exposure or the threat of exposure for not doing their jobs w/i the legal system should and would get their attention to do the job necessary to finally put an end to this problem w/i the town.

Anonymous said...

I have changed my mind about us still having our "vote" to try to help us stem the corruptness in this town.

The evidence was plain to see if you watched the Deliberative Session. As usual, your right to have the Article that was legally
put before the Town to vote on, was disregarded and went the way of all the others that didn't happen to please you know who.

Sorry about that but it is hopeless to think anything will be changed.