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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, December 25, 2013

Consentino to bring fresh corruption to selectmen's office

From the Eagle Tribune; December 24, 2013 Ex-Atkinson chief considering selectman bid By Alex Lippa ATKINSON — Former police Chief Philip Consentino is considering putting his name back into Atkinson’s political circle. Consentino said he is seriously considering another run for selectman. “This is something that’s on the top burner for me,” he said. “I’ve done it all in this town and now, in my retirement, I’ve got a lot of time to do this.” Consentino, 73, retired as police chief after 45 years on Feb. 26. Just one day later, selectmen announced they had dismissed him “for cause.” “Some of the things I see going on in the selectmen’s office, I just don’t know how they are getting away with,” Consentino said. There will be two open selectmen’s seats at Town Meeting in March. Selectmen’s Chairman William Friel’s three-year term will be up for grabs. The final year of Todd Barbera’s three-year term will be open as well. Barbera died in October and Fred Thompson is serving in his place until Town Meeting. Consentino previously served three terms as selectman. He said his primary reason for running is because the town is trying to make the police chief’s position full time in next year’s budget. “People have tried to put in petitions to make it a full-time position,” he said. “They were overwhelmingly told to leave it part time and now they want to make it full time. They should follow the process they’ve done before and should put in a warrant article. Just including it in the operating budget is a sneaky way to get it across.” Voters turned down petitions to change the position to full time in 2000 and 2001. Atkinson is currently looking for a new full-time police chief after acting Chief Patrick Caggiano announced he would be retiring at the end of the month. Consentino said he would be willing to assist in the search. Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Al Brackett was sworn in Thursday as interim chief. “The acting chief is gone, another one of my full-time officers are leaving,” Consentino said. “The department is going to be bringing in a whole new kettle of fish. I’d be willing to serve as a consultant, but I would never take the chief’s job in town again.” Consentino would not comment on the effect the end of his tenure as police chief would have on potential voters. “I’m not going to get into that,” he said. “I never got a chance to say what was going on.” Town Administrator Bill Innes said Consentino is allowed to run for selectman. “He cannot be appointed to any town boards or volunteer with the town,” he said. “But that does not include any elected positions.” He would not give his reaction to Consentino considering a selectman bid. Consentino said many residents have already supported his bid. “It seems that everywhere I go, people are asking me to run for selectman,” he said. In addition to holding the police chief’s position, Consentino was also the town’s elderly affairs director. Consentino ran the Atkinson Police Charitable Fund, which assisted seniors with transportation, household repairs and various other needs. Since leaving the department, he has changed the name of the fund to the Atkinson Senior Fund. “We have changed our name so that it is not in conflict with the town’s police department or any part of town government,” Consentino said. The town budgeted $43,000 for similar services this year. They also hired David Paquette to be the town’s new elderly affairs director.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Another interim Police Chief

Contrary to statements made by Innes, the Town cannot hire a full time Chief without going back to the voters for permission. It matters not that they have enough the money in the budget.

December 19, 2013
Atkinson will get new interim police chief
Sheriff's chief deputy will take over in Atkinson
By Alex Lippa The Eagle Tribune Thu Dec 19, 2013, 12:10 AM EST
ATKINSON — Rockingham County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Al Brackett is expected to be sworn in as the town’s new interim police chief today.
Sheriff Michael Downing said Brackett will serve as interim chief until the town hires a full-time chief.
The town asked the sheriff’s department to provide them with an interim chief, after Acting Chief Patrick Caggiano announced he was retiring at the end of the month .
“Selectmen wanted to pick a chief who was appropriate for the position,” Town Administrator Bill Innes said. “We have lots of good people in our department and we wanted to make sure that the officers we had were doing their job with as little disruption to their routine as possible.”
Brackett, 62, works part time with the sheriff’s department and will work on a part-time basis in Atkinson.
“Atkinson asked us for help,” Downing said. “They wanted to know if they had anyone qualified who can temporarily run their department. We have other part-time deputies who are more than qualified, so he’ll go down there and work until they find an adequate replacement.”
Brackett said yesterday he did not want to comment until he was sworn in.
Atkinson will pay Brackett while he leads their department. The money will come from the $31,000 which has been budgeted for the police chief’s position. Just more than $9,000 has been used this year.
Brackett started his career in Hudson as a patrol officer and later became the chief there. He then worked for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Fla., before coming back to New Hampshire in 2003.
He ran the sheriff’s department after former sheriff Dan Linehan resigned, serving until Downing was elected to the post.
Downing said this was the first time any police department has asked them to provide a chief.
“I’m not surprised by anything anymore,” Downing said. “I’m not sure how much notice they had and I know they’re actively searching for a replacement now.”
Caggiano’s official last day in Atkinson will be Dec. 28, but he is on vacation next week.
“(Caggiano) has said he will help through this transition,” Innes said.
The town is just starting to send out advertisements for the permanent position. Innes said the town will use the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police to help narrow down the candidates.
“The selectmen, besides one, don’t have the experience or knowledge of the job to work their way through it,” Innes said. “We want to make sure the candidates have the skills and background to move forward.”
The chiefs association will narrow the candidates down to three to five candidates before selectmen make the final call.
“We want to make sure we do it right and get the best possible candidate,” Innes said. “This process is clean and it’s nonpolitical. There’s also no cost to the town to go through this process, as opposed to a private vendor.”
The position has been part time in the past, but next year’s proposed budget will include money for a full-time chief. Innes said the salary of the chief has not been determined.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Follow the money....

Still clinging to the past and identifying himself as the Chief while talking out of both sides of his mouth and declaring no connection to the Town or the PD. Notice the name of the fund? "Atkinson Senior Fund" - "We have changed our name so that it is not in conflict with the town’s Police Department or any part of town government." REALLY? Notice that it's not a charity now!! "We are not a charitable organization" WOW, as of Dec 2013, the CHARITY is registered as/at #17233 Atkinson Senior Fund 140 Main Street, P.O. Box 484 Atkinson NH 038110484. He even got his own PO Box, now that's big news. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- December 13, 2013 Letter: What Atkinson Senior Fund can do for you Anonymous The Eagle-Tribune The Eagle Tribune Fri Dec 13, 2013, 12:11 AM EST To the editor: I would like to take this opportunity to advise our seniors what the Atkinson Senior Fund can do for them. I must make it very clear that our Senior Fund is not in any way connected to any town agency or any other donation accounts that are being started by the town. We stand as a completely self-governed fund. All funds that come in to the Atkinson Senior Fund are handled by myself as president and the Board of Directors. We have changed our name so that it is not in conflict with the town’s Police Department or any part of town government. We are here to help any Atkinson senior who needs assistance. We will not ask you to fill out a 10- to 15-page financial report. If you need a helping hand to get over a temporary shortfall, we can help. We are not a charitable organization; we are one Atkinson group of residents helping out our neighbor. As the president of this fund I am trying to get our program up and running like it was at the first of the year. We are not involved with any aspect of the transportation services that are provide by the town. If you need some minor household repairs or special medical equipment, we are there to help provide this type of service. I am in the process of redoing the senior contractors list. We are also trying to find someone who can help us set up a website. If we accomplish that task then the contractors list will be posted on that site. In the mean time, once the list has been updated you will be able to pick up a copy at the community center or just give me a call and I will mail out a copy to your home. If you find that you are having a problem and need some assistance I will be more than willing to look into your situation. If I can not resolve your problem I have the resources that would be able to assist you in your time of need. All calls to my home (362-5627) are kept in the strictest of confidence. If I am not home just leave your name and phone number and either myself or my wife Jody will get right back to you. Please do not hesitate to give me a call if you or a senior that you know can use our assistance. Our objective has not changed, and that is that no senior in Atkinson should go without life’s basic needs. I have been a strong advocate in making sure our seniors are well taken care of, and I will always be there to lend a kind and thoughtful hand and assist them in any way I can. Phil (”Chief”) Consentino President, Atkinson Senior Fund

Saturday, November 9, 2013

County Attorney OUT! More Coruption ends.

BRENTWOOD – Rockingham County Attorney James Reams and his deputy Tom Reid were suspended from their offices as part of a joint state and federal probe looking into "managerial and operational" issues of their office. Reams has been the county attorney for 15 years. Attorney General Joe Foster and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas made a joint announcement about the unseating of Reams and his deputy during a press conference in Rockingham County Superior Court. Foster said a former employee made a complaint to his office, which set off the investigation. "The allegations were significant," Foster said. The interview with the former employee "led us to a number of other former employees we interviewed along with agents from the FBI," Foster said. "The interviews corroborated the allegations made by the initial complainant and raised other issues." Foster said the investigation led him to suspend the prosecutorial duties of Reams, who has held the post of county attorney since being first elected in 1998. Last night, county commissioners were informed about the investigation by the Attorney General's Office and agreed to place Reid an administrative leave. Foster said commissioners will be conducting their own investigation into the operations of the office. Senior assistant attorney general James Boffetti has been named interim county attorney while the investigation continues, according to Foster. FBI agents and investigators interviews of the staff and the assistant county attorneys at the office began this morning. "We are hopeful they will be completed in short order," Foster said. Kacavas said last week he received a request from Foster's office for assistance, and that his office has been working "shoulder to shoulder" with state investigators. He said the measures taken by the state were meant to maintain the integrity of the investigation, and that residents should be assured that the County Attorney's Office will continue its work during the probe. "This office remains open for business and the Rockingham County Attorney's Office will continue to function and administer criminal justice uninterrupted and unabated during pendency of this investigation," Kacavas said.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

AG mishandled nude photo case

Anyone else see a pattern here? At least this case is playing out in public. How did they get away with having a personnel matter out in the open when our BOS will not ????

– Portsmouth Herald April 8, 2013, via the Nashua Telegraph

What kind of message is the New Hampshire attorney general’s office sending to police officers in the state by refusing to press charges against the New London police chief, who resigned after being accused of trying to coerce a female Colby-Sawyer student into giving him nude photos of herself in exchange for dropping underage drinking charges?
Here’s what the AG said in a press release sent out April 4:
“On March 6, 2013, a complaint was made with the Attorney General’s Office regarding then Chief (David) Seastrand’s interaction with an adult female who had been arrested a few days prior. The complainant reported that Seastrand indicated her charges would be dropped if she allowed him to take a series of nude photographs of her. Based on this complaint, a criminal investigation was initiated. Earlier today, pursuant to a negotiated disposition, Seastrand agreed to immediately resign as the chief of police and permanently relinquish his certification as a police officer. Given this resolution, the state’s investigation will be concluded and criminal charge(s) will not be brought in regard to Seastrand’s conduct on March 6, 2013.”
Reporting on the case, the Concord Monitor wrote: “Richard Lehmann, the woman’s lawyer, said the incident happened three days after she was charged with underage drinking and giving a false name to the police. Lehmann said Seastrand asked her to come to the police department, then harassed her for three hours. ‘There was an extended attempt to bargain away her criminal charges in exchange for her allowing herself to be photographed naked,’” Lehmann said. “’Obviously she refused.’”
These allegations suggest a deeply disturbing misuse of police authority by the former chief. If true (and why would the chief have resigned and relinquished his certification if they weren’t?), this is a classic case of a sexual predator using his position of power and authority to sexually exploit his vulnerable victim.
Allowing the chief to simply resign with all his pay, benefits and pension intact sends the not-so-subtle message to others in the state in positions of authority that they can get away with preying on the vulnerable, and even if they are caught, the worst they will get is a slap on the wrist.
It also sends the message to victims that the state does not stand behind them to the fullest extent of the law.
The Monitor reports Associate Attorney General Jane Young saying her office decided against bringing charges because the alleged victim and Seastrand were the only ones in the police station when the incident occurred.
Sadly, here at the Portsmouth Herald, we have had our own firsthand experience with the attorney general refusing to bring the full weight of its office to prosecute a police officer accused of sexually assaulting one of our reporters.
In that case, as in this one, the AG said it couldn’t do much because they viewed it as a case of “he said, she said,” even though their own investigating trooper reported five crimes had been committed.
What we say is that the victim deserves her day in court. If a victim is willing to pursue charges, the attorney general should be her advocate, not a deterrent throwing up hypothetical roadblocks about how difficult it will be to prosecute the case.
In the case in New London, as in our own experience, smart, strong women with legal representation were able to get some degree of justice, but not full justice.
And we can’t help but wonder how many women are out there who have been exploited or extorted and who are without the means to hire legal representation to fight back.
The attorney general needs to do a better job of standing up for victims of sexual assault and exploitation, and its role becomes even more important when the alleged abuser is a police officer empowered by the public’s trust.
– Portsmouth Herald April 8, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What road building across a neighbor's land will get you in other Towns.

A subject we have all been following for several years now, still raises eyebrows and disbelief that anyone would do this BUT, here we go again....

Nashua Telegraph - Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hollis man charged with building road through neighbor’s yard

A little ad hoc roadwork paved a Hollis man’s way to an arrest this week after police charged him with building an illegal road through his neighbor’s property.
Hollis Police were called on June 17 by a resident of Truell Road reporting that his neighbor had trespassed on his property and that he had cut a road through some woods between the houses, removing numerous trees in the process, police said.
Police investigated and arrested Steve Ducharme, 40, of 58 Truell Road, on Tuesday.
Hollis Police Lt. Rich Mello said police never got a solid explanation as to why Ducharme wanted to build the road, which stretches a considerable distance from 58 Truell Road, through a wooded area and connects to a shared driveway at 66 Truell Road.
“It’s a driveway-width road. Unfortunately he did it across other people’s property. It’s quite a ways,” Mello said. “He couldn’t have in his wildest dreams thought it was OK.”
Ducharme is charged with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, and criminal trespass, a violation. Ducharme was released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail and will be arraigned at Nashua district court on July 24, police said.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Plans for Atkinson Elderly Affairs coiming into place

June 12, 2013

ATKINSON — Just three months ago, many seniors voiced their concerns about the future of the Elderly Affairs Department.
Now, details are being ironed out about how it will function under new leadership.
Town Administrator Bill Innes presented a mission statement to selectmen last week that outlined goals and responsibilities of the department under his control.
“I’ve been really looking to have a definition of the department,” Innes said. “I want to put a foundation in place, but it is not my intent to dictate what the department would be.”
The department helps seniors with transportation to medical appointments and other needs. The town has $43,000 budgeted for the department this year. That money covers the salaries of the drivers, gasoline and maintenance.
Innes pointed to the need for a system that would allow the town to identify problems and evaluate all the funded programs to ensure they are effective.
“We are looking to just get a baseline from where the department can meet its needs,” he said.
Innes has served as the acting elderly affairs director since March, when former police Chief Phil Consentino was fired from the position. After Consentino was fired, Innes spoke about a desire to have the department be more transparent than in the past.
While the town is providing seniors with transportation services, Consentino continues to be available to any senior who needs his assistance, using money from a private charitable fund he presides over.
“Anything that doesn’t have anything to do with a ride, I’m here to help out with,” Consentino said last week. “I just helped a woman put a new heating system in her house.”
Innes said the town hopes to work with Consentino on things that can’t be covered by the town.
“I want to work collaboratively,” Innes said. “We’ve looked through assisted items which the town can contribute toward and items that the charitable trust and some other entities in town can do. I believe we worked out a process where we have defined what each will do.”
Innes declined to go into detail about which services will be provided by whom.
Innes has also defined the two ways which the department will be funded. There is the general fund which appears in the budget and is approved by voters at Town Meeting and a fund that accepts donations from residents and sponsors that is managed by the Trustees of the Trust Fund.
The next step for the town is to find someone to supervise the department. Innes has written a job desciption that has been approved by selectmen. The position is a volunteer position.
“I’d like to get it filled as soon as possible,” Innes said. “I’m not sure it will be a formal job search, but I want it to be filled quickly.”
So far, seniors who have worked with Innes on the advisory committee are pleased with the direction the department is taking.
“The process is going along well,” Alan Phair said. “I feel comfortable that we’ve done our due diligence to put in place something that will be workable.”
Ted Houlihan, a driver for the program, said things have worked out as well as he could have hoped.
“It’s different, but (Consentino) built a great system which is still working in the way we hoped it would,” he said. “There doesn’t seem to be a deficiency. Now the town is assuming control of that and that’s probably appropriate.”
Innes has laid out plans for several new programs, including a property tax burden program and a senior connection program that would use active seniors as volunteers to help seniors who need assistance.
One detail that still needs to be determined is the location of the department, which is now run out of the Atkinson police station.

Monday, June 10, 2013

ANOTHER troubled police department

Union Leader June 10, 2013

WEARE — This town's police department has seen its share of controversy over the last 15 years. Residents and town officials are hoping its troubles will soon be behind them.

"We have issues. There's no denying that," said Selectman Thomas Clow, chairman of the board. "But we have a core of fine young officers and now our job as a town is to build on that core and to find a chief who can provide leadership for these officers."

Police Chief Gregory Begin served his last day with the department last week, opting to retire before the last year of his three-year elected term.

Clow said Begin's decision to retire early was a personal one, and not a reflection of the fact that his second-in-command, Lt. James Carney, is on paid administrative leave. Carney is facing numerous allegations, including having an inappropriate relationship with a department employee, not enforcing the sexual harassment policy, transporting alcohol in a police vehicle, and having physical altercations with police officers and civilians, according to Carney's attorney, Tony Soltani, also a former Weare prosecutor.

Soltani said the sergeant is a victim of retaliation from the town because he is a whistleblower. He said Carney raised concerns about incidents of sexual harassment, abuse of authority by officers, the falsification of reports and perjury by other officers; none of the incidents were investigated because the selectmen barred Begin from doing so, Soltani said.

Since Begin's departure, the board has brought in former Keene police chief Art Walker to oversee the administrative functions of the department while a search for a new chief can be conducted.
A troubled tenure

Though Begin was re-elected twice, his tenure has not been without controversy. There are numerous state and federal lawsuits pending against the Weare Police Department.

Carla Gericke, Bill Alleman and George Hodgdon, all represented by a Concord law firm, are suing in federal court after being arrested for wiretapping after taping police traffic stops. The three cases allege state and federal constitutional violations, including unlawful search and seizure and violating freedom of speech and press rights, according to reports, and are still pending.

A lawsuit was also filed by Louis Chatel, a former sergeant for the Weare Police Department. Among several allegations, Chatel said Begin and Carney deliberately made false child pornography allegations against Chatel, who was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing by the Attorney General's Office. Chatel sued in federal court, claiming that his free speech rights had been violated; that case was dismissed. Chatel is moving forward with the suit in state court.

Begin also had his own brush with the law when a resident complained that during the elections in 2011, he had violated state election law by going into a restricted area and helping an elderly person get to the polls. The case, brought against Begin by the Attorney General's Office, was dismissed in Goffstown District Court.

Clow said the chief has left a legacy of an impressive roster of police officers, many of whom he hired.

"I hope things are going to be much better going forward," said resident Frank Campana. "They've never gone well and I've been here over 40 years and the problems always seemed to exist."

Rod Wilson, who's been in town since 1932, isn't happy with the police department, but he doesn't point the finger at Begin.

"I've never had too much of an issue with Greg," he said. "He seems to be a pretty decent guy, and he treats me well. But there's one particular officer that's been called on the carpet a few times and that may be where the problem is."

Wilson wouldn't name the officer.

Elected, appointed
Begin was elected to serve as police chief in 2005 to replace embattled Chief Myles Rigney, who chose not to run when townspeople decided to make the police chief an elected position.

Rigney, who was hired in 2000, was placed on paid administrative leave in 2004 after a secretary at the police department alleged that he had sexually harassed her. The secretary, Sherry Dunham, a former Union Leader correspondent, eventually settled with the town for $75,000 and withdrew her complaints against Rigney, according to reports.

But to some folks in town, Rigney was seen as butting heads with members of the police commission and board of selectmen, and a $15,000 raise over three years made him one of the highest-paid police chiefs in the area.

When a warrant article passed in 2004 making the chief's position elected and slashing the salary by nearly $20,000, Rigney declined to run. The following year, Begin won the position.

Last March, voters decided to return the position of police chief to an appointed one, a move that had long been supported by Begin, said Clow.

"This allows us to have the process that examines the qualifications of a potential chief," Clow said.

Wilson said he thinks the position should have remained an elected one, and pointed to the problems he said the town had with Rigney.

"With an appointed chief, you have a few selecting for the many," said Wilson. "I think it would be a good idea to elect him."

Early retirement
Before Rigney and Begin, Police Chief Edward Tuthill decided to retire after four years on the job in Weare following an investigation into charges that officers, including Carney, had been drinking on the job. Carney and the other officer admitted to drinking, but despite Tuthill's recommendation that Carney be terminated, the board kept him on and instead turned their focus on the police department policies, the reports stated.

Campana said he remembers those days well, and said that through the years, there's always been one officer involved with much of the controversy.

"Carney's got 20 years with the department, and though there have been many instances he's been in trouble, he always comes out with the proverbial smell of the rose," said Campana.

But Carney is just one member of what Campana said has been a "bit of a dysfunctional family" at the police department. He said he hopes with a change of leadership, the family will straighten itself out.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hard on the Chief


THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2013 AT 05:40PM
The Town of Atkinson just can’t seem to let an old thug go into retirement. I am of course referring to the now former Police Chief Phil Consentino who ran an intimidation and political favor machine scam for decades.
It must be four years now since taxpayers came to CNHT for help with this guy.
We have had all kinds of lawsuits, controversies, meetings, letters and press in these four years and just when all is about to calm down, the selectmen fired Consentino back in March, here we go again.
The Atkinson Selectmen hired MRI, a municipal handyman group for lazy selectmen, and asked for a review of the police department. That is what everyone thought.
So when taxpayers wanted to see the completed MRI report the issue was handed to a law firm other than the town counsel of record.
They are paying a separate firm to deal with the MRI report?
What, the town counsel is chopped liver? Or is this the same old trick of hiring a separate firm so as to have “damages’ in case of a citizen action in court? They tried that on our CNHT activists.
Suddenly the MRI report is a non-public document because of personnel issues.
Could it be that the old saying, “once a thug always a thug,” has come to its logical end and there is a sexual harassment case against Atkinson?
That is what we hear, which means the chief could beat up on political opponents all he wanted and he had complete cowardly support from the Atkinson Selectmen, but a supposed sexual advance to some poor cutie at dispatch was a bridge too far?
News for the oppressed female!
The MRI report will be handed over to the NH AG’s white wash bucket where it will be determined that there “is not enough evidence to bring a case forward.”
Better get your own lawyer Ms. Municipal Employee.
Oh, and a much better idea than at last years Town Meeting in Atkinson where the selectmen wanted to start a capital reserve fund for legal fees, stop letting the chief get you in trouble.
Is it that hard to let go?
And I would like to see that MRI report, wouldn’t you?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

All Hail Chief CAGGIANO!!!!

All it took was one good man in the PD and a few good Selectman, voila!! Police logs!!

Please visit at :

Logs from 2010 through the present have been posted and you can plainly see the old, unprofessional doctored reports vs. the new 2013 posts with addresses!!!

Thanks Chief Caggiano, for a job well done.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Baldwin takes his seat as Atkinson selectman

ATKINSON — It took a couple of years, but Bill Baldwin has finally took his place with the rest of the selectmen. Baldwin had his first meeting as selectman last night after being elected at Town Meeting.
“It feels wonderful,” Baldwin said. “The people were overwhelmingly supportive of me and I don’t take that for granted. I hope to do the job they elected me to do and then some.”
Baldwin, 42, said he is trying to get a feel of what is needed out of him and the dynamics of the board in his first couple of weeks. The new selectman said one of his first orders of business was addressing the state of the Elderly Affairs Department and Police Department following the firing of former police Chief Philip Consentino.
“I want to be as proactive in possible in having the programs move forward and having it be even greater than it was,” Baldwin said.
Since the police chief vacancy opened up, Baldwin said he has been encouraged by many to pursue the job. But he denied all interest in the job last night.
“I want to be part of the process and help lead the community in the direction that they want it to go in,” Baldwin said. “At this point in juncture, I have no interest in that police chief position at all. I’m happy where I’m at in Plaistow right now.”
Baldwin worked in Atkinson for 14 years before moving to the Plaistow department in 2011 where he is a lieutenant.
Because of his position in Plaistow, Baldwin said he’s heard skepticism that he won’t be able to vote on certain topics due to conflict of interest. But he doesn’t anticipate there will be any problems.
“I don’t see any conflict,” Baldwin. “I’m a resident here. I don’t work for this town anymore and I have experience and knowledge in other areas which will lend itself here.”
Baldwin defeated longtime selectman Fred Childs at Town Meeting earlier this month. Childs had been a selectman for 12 consecutive years. Baldwin ran after losing out to Todd Barbera for selectman last year.
Prior to the meeting, new Selectman’s Chairman Bill Friel thanked Childs for his service to the town and welcomed Baldwin to the board. Friel was voted as chairman by the board, as it is the third and final year of his term.
While Friel appreciated Childs’ service, he said he is looking forward to the future of the board with Baldwin on it.
“It’s exciting because you get a new perspective on things,” Friel said. “He knows more of the residents than most new selectmen because of his career. We’re going to lean on him for a lot of experience.”
That experience already came in handy last night. Baldwin was a key part of a discussion about switching health care providers for full-time members of the Police Department.
In addition to his police experience, Baldwin also served as a member of the Timberlane Regional School Board for 10 years. Last night, Town Administrator Bill Innes named him as the selectmen’s liaison to the Timberlane Regional School District.

Interim Atkinson Chief adjusts to new role

ATKINSON — For the last month, Patrick Caggiano has been a busy man.
Since longtime Chief Philip Consentino was fired, Caggiano temporarily has absorbed the part-time chief’s responsibilities in addition to his duties as sergeant.
“I’ve been busier,” Caggiano said. “I was handling a fair amount of day-to-day operations before the change, but I’ve taken on several additional duties as well.”
Budgeting, payroll and other administrative duties are now on Caggiano’s plate. He is still working as a 40-hour employee of the town, but has delegated some of his responsibilities to other officers.
Consentino, 72, worked 25 hours a week as chief. He was with the department for 45 years.
The system is working well right now, Caggiano said. Selectmen have yet to decide the future of the chief’s job and whether it will remain a part-time position.
Caggiano said he would be open to becoming the permanent police chief if it is offered to him.
“I enjoy working very much for the town in my current position,” he said. “The selectmen and the townspeople are the ones who have to figure out the future of the position. From there, I would love and welcome the opportunity if things fit for me in my current position. I don’t want to focus on it until there’s a definitive answer in the direction the town wants to go with the position.”
Caggiano was endorsed by the Atkinson Police Association just days after Consentino’s firing as their choice for new police chief.
“It was humbling,” Caggiano said. “Even prior to talking to the officers, I knew the support was there. But we are just trying to operate the same way that we were operating.”
Selectman Todd Barbera said workshops are scheduled with Town Administrator Bill Innes, Caggiano and fellow selectmen to get more insight into how the department is running.
“Making it a full-time position is something we’ll talk about,” Barbera said. “But for that to happen, it would have to go through a town warrant.”
When that decision will come remains unclear.
“There is no timeline right now,” Innes said. “We don’t want to rush things. We want to make sure the moves we make are what’s right for the town.”
Caggiano said he doesn’t plan to make a recommendation about how many hours the chief should work.
“Organizational structure is something that is in the hands of the elected officials and the town administrator. That’s where I’m going to leave that.” he said. “In law enforcement, we are trained to just look at a situation and then deal with the situation as is.”
Also up in the air is the future of the elderly affairs department. That department is run out of the police station, but Innes has said there is the potential to separate.
Caggiano said no drastic changes have been made over the last month. Rather, they are continuing to focus on long-term goals.
“Things that have been in the works for a while are starting to come into focus,” he said. “We want to upgrade our computers, so they are in every vehicle. We’re also trying to update our in-house records management system.”
Caggiano has been a sergeant in Atkinson since 2011. Prior to that, he worked in Plaistow for 23 years.
“I’m happy right now and I enjoy my position,” Caggiano said. “If things change, we will adapt to it.”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Atkinson seniors worried about elderly affairs program

ATKINSON — More than 100 senior citizens packed the Atkinson Community Center yesterday, peppering Town Administrator Bill Innes with questions about the future of the town’s Elderly Affairs Department.
Innes held the meeting to address concerns seniors had following the recent firing of former police chief and elderly affairs director Phil Consentino.
Innes told seniors there would be no changes for the next 90 days while he serves as the department’s acting director.
“This is a good to great program,” Innes said. “I don’t anticipate a reduction in changes.”
Consentino attended the meeting and his firing Feb. 27 was raised by a few seniors. One senior asked Innes who fired Consentino and why. Consentino was employed by the town for 45 years. The reasons for the firing were not discussed.
Consentino declined to comment after the 90-minute forum ended. Selectmen have not given specific reasons for his firing following an independent investigation, saying only that it was “for cause” and job related.
Innes said he hopes to organize an eight- or nine-member committee that would recommend a new elderly affairs director to selectmen, who have the final say. The committee would also advise the director.
Under Consentino, the program was run through the Police Department. A dispatcher at the police station would take phone calls from seniors looking for transportation and assistance, and assign an elderly affairs worker to handle the request.
But seniors said they are worried about the program under new leadership.
“I never had a problem with it before,” said Jean Hardy, 82. “Whenever I needed something, someone would always go out of their way to help me.”
Consentino spoke against a plan outlined by Innes to create a town fund designed to track and audit all donations to the department. In the past, most of the money for the department came from a private charitable fund overseen by Consentino.
“If it goes into the town in a separate fund, (the department) doesn’t have control over that,” Consentino said. “It becomes a long, drawn-out process. The way we had it, was the way selectmen wanted it set up. It was open to the world.”
But Innes emphasized it wasn’t selectmen who wanted the system changed.
“I want to do this,” he said. “I want to be able to audit the books, I want to know where the money goes and how it’s spent.”
Innes said the town has $43,000 budgeted for the department this year, That money covers the salaries of the drivers, gasoline and maintenance. He added that he would like to see an extra car and driver added to the department.
One other issue that sparked discussion was the idea of separating the Elderly Affairs Department from the Police Department. Innes admitted there was potential for that to happen once the new director was appointed.
“I think they need to tread carefully before you spoil what’s really been successful,” said Wendy Doughty, 78.
Innes said he will look for volunteers for the advisory committee within the next few weeks. His ideal committee would include residents from several organizations and a mix of people over and under 60.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Elderly Meeting a Milestone

Imagine, an OPEN, FRANK, PUBLIC conversation on Elderly Affairs. It happened today. The night began with our fired for cause former police chief surreptitiously flipping off Mr. Leon Artus, by stroking the side of his nose with his middle finger, But, then again he is no stranger to childish gestures. Mr. Innis was professional, and a gentleman. He fielded questions from a contentious crowd that had obviously been spoon fed a truckload of falsehoods about the Elderly Affairs dept., The Donation account, and the selectmen, Gee We wonder who THAT could have been? Probably the same disgruntled former employee who has been doing the same for twenty years. Here are the FACTS, for any Elderly that may read this; Elderly Affairs is a TAXPAYER FUNDED Town dept. It has been for twenty years. It has NEVER been a charity funded by Phil. The taxpayers pay for the depts. budget. It is ALSO funded by the Donation account. Up until 2007 the TOWN OWNED the donation account. In 2007, the AG's office found that it had been operated illegally for years, and demanded it be turned over to the Trustees of the Trust Funds. As the Trustee at the time was Dale Childs and she took her responsibilities very seriously, Phil did not want this. Fortunately for him there was a second option that was right up his alley. He could form a private Non profit corporation, and make donations from it to the town. NO accountability. NO need to ask anyone for permission to spend the money. TOTAL DICTATORSHIP! Although many elderly in town think of the Atkinson Police Charitable fund as being the town donation account it, in fact in NOT AFFILIATED with the town. It is a private non profit corporation run by Phil Consentino to benefit those he wishes to bestow his largess upon. The PROBLEM is that he is SUPPOSED to make donations publicly to the town, and they SHOULD be accepted in an open selectmen's meeting, but this never happened, so we have no idea where that money went. However, what Mr. Innis proposed last night is open transparent AND LEGAL! For the town to establish a new donation account, run by the Trustees of the Trust Funds, open and accountable to the State. It will be established SOLELY for the purpose of donating to the town's elderly. Mr. Artus jumped in at this point to help calm the crowd with more info. At one point a number of elderly were demanding to know why Phil was fired. Mr. Innis gave the most generous, factual, but not detailed answer; The town received a complaint, hired an investigator, and when the findings came in fired Phil for Cause. At this point our former Bully with a Badge tried to bully Mr. Innis with his thinly veiled threat that he had better watch what he says because this is far from over. YES PHIL, YOU ARE FIRED, IT IS OVER! Thank God! Remember one thing, Phil, if you fight your firing, EVERYTHING comes out in open Court. On second thought, This blog thinks you SHOULD fight your firing, it is only right. To the town's elderly; The program will continue to operate. You will continue to get your rides, and services. And if you make your donations to the TOWN OWNED donation account instead of Phil's corporation, that money will ONLY be spent on elderly affairs, and STATE LAW GUARANTEES IT! And ANYONE who tells you differently is lying to you.

Delaney to leave NH AG's office

March 19, 2013
CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney says he's planning to step down and return to private practice after 14 years in state service.
Delaney sent a letter to Gov. Maggie Hassan with his announcement this morning.
Delaney's term is up March 31, although at Hassan's request, he has agreed to stay on for an appropriate transition period.
Hassan said she understands Delaney's desire to pursue new opportunities, but his steady leadership will be missed. She said she wishes him the best.

Delaney lauded for his leadership

Southern NH police chiefs praise his leadership

Southern New Hampshire police chiefs had nothing but praise yesterday for Michael Delaney after learning he’s stepping down as attorney general.
Delaney, 43, informed Gov. Maggie Hassan he was leaving public service after 14 years and returning to private practice. His term ends March 31, but Delaney said he would stay on as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition for his successor.
Some local law enforcement officials said they were surprised to hear he would be leaving and wondered who would replace him.
Marc Goldberg, the governor’s spokesman, would not comment on whether there is a front-runner for the job and said Hassan would work as quickly as possible to select a replacement. The Executive Council must confirm the nominee.
Speculation recently arose at the Statehouse that Hassan wanted to appoint her own attorney general. Goldberg emphasized it was Delaney’s decision to step down and that Hassan “would have been happy if he would have stayed on.”
While Hassan supports allowing expanded gambling in the state, Delaney is strongly opposed.
Delaney has had his share of critics in his four years as attorney general, but he’s also had a lot of supporters in Southern New Hampshire.
“I thought he was a good attorney and a great advocate of law enforcement,” Windham police Capt. Michael Caron said. “We will miss him.”
Local police chiefs said although they didn’t necessarily have a lot of personal contact with Delaney, they liked how he ran the attorney general’s office.
“Every time we’ve had interaction with his office, it’s always been very professional,” acting Atkinson police Chief Patrick Caggiano said.
Derry police Chief Edward Garone agreed. As a leader of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, Garone said he had a good relationship with Delaney and lauded his work.
“My dealings with Attorney General Delaney have always been positive,” Garone said. “He was first and foremost a gentleman.”
He said Delaney was a credit to criminal justice and wished him well.
“I will miss that relationship and I hope when the governor makes that replacement, that the person has the same qualities,” Garone said.
Delaney would not comment on his future plans, saying it would not be appropriate while still in office.
Delaney said highlights of his career as attorney general include the murder convictions of Steven Spader and Christopher Gribble in the 2009 Mont Vernon home invasion and machete attack.
He also spoke of the conviction and 60-year sentence of Myles Webster for attempted murder in the shooting of Manchester police Officer Dan Doherty last year.
Yet Delaney expressed disappointment in the lack of an arrest in the kidnapping and murder of 11-year-old Celina Cass of Stewartstown in 2011 and the fatal shooting of Greenland police Chief Michael Maloney during a drug raid last year.
But Newton police Chief Lawrence Streeter praised Delaney for his handling of the Greenland shooting investigation.
One of Streeter’s own officers, Patrolman 1st Class Chris Thurlow, survived the shootout in April that killed Maloney and wounded four other police officers when they were confronted by an armed suspect during a drug raid.
“I had significant interaction with him in the Greenland investigation and I thought he did an excellent job,” Streeter said. “I thought he did a fair and thorough review.”
Rockingham County Attorney James Reams said although he didn’t always agree with Delaney, he respected him.
“While we have disagreed over some things over the years, I don’t think the disagreements carried over from issue to issue,” Reams said. “I like Mike and liked working with him. I am sure he will do well in private practice.”
Hassan praised Delaney for his service. He served in the attorney general’s office from 1999 to 2006, leaving to become legal counsel for former Democratic Gov. John Lynch. Lynch then appointed him as Kelly Ayotte’s successor in 2009 when she stepped down to run for the U.S. Senate.
Delaney thanked his colleagues at the Department of Justice for their “professionalism, work ethic and camaraderie.”
But Delaney had his share of run-ins with the Legislature’s Republican majority last session, including former House Speaker Bill O’Brien.
He was criticized for the independence of his office and his insistence that members of a House committee stop questioning state child care workers about cases.
O’Brien also wanted the Legislature to have the authority to order Delaney to join lawsuits brought by other states. Delaney told him it was unconstitutional.
Shortly after Delaney’s announcement yesterday, Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn issued a statement praising the attorney general and questioning why he was stepping down.
“After he announced his opposition to Maggie Hassan’s disastrous state budget that relies on $80 million in non-existent and illegal gambling revenue, the governor refused to discuss his reappointment,” she said. “There are serious questions about whether Governor Hassan decided to deny Attorney General Delaney another term because of his strong and principled rejection of her irresponsible policies.”
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Baldwin ousts Childs as Atkinson Selectman

ATKINSON — After 12 years as selectman, Fred Childs’s tenure came to an end last night. Voters elected Plaistow police Lt. William Baldwin, a former Atkinson lieutenant, as their new selectman.
Baldwin received 680 votes while Childs had 278 votes. Craig Schuster was third with 148 votes.
Childs admitted he was disappointed, but looked back fondly on his time on the board.
“I had a good run and made a lot of good friends along the way,” he said “I’ve put a lot of time in as selectman and I have no regrets.
Voters wanted a change.
“We’re due for a change,” David Jackson said. “We need to get some new ideas out there.”
Annette McClellan agreed it was Baldwin’s time.
“He’s got the experience we need as selectman,” Annette McClellan said. “He’s a good guy and honest man.”
Although there was a hotly contested selectman’s race, Town Clerk Rose Cavalear said turnout was disappointing. Only 21 percent of the town’s 5,279 registered voters cast ballots.
“I don’t know if the weather had something to do with it, or maybe people weren’t interested in the warrant articles,” Cavalear said.
In other contested races, incumbents ruled the vote for the most part.
Incumbent road agent Edward Stewart defeated Brian Klimaszewski, 776-313. Incumbents Susan Carroll and Bill Smith will serve once again on the Budget Committee, beating Harlan Cheney. Incumbent Kathleen Friel edged out Jean Sanders for cemetery trustee, 520-485.
Sanders did win a seat on the Conflict of Interest Committee, beating incumbent Joyce LaFrance, 512-375.
Incumbent Alan Phair and James Cobb were elected as library trustees, receiving 490 and 561 votes, respectively. Tim Dziechowski trailed with 388 votes.
Only three of the 25 warrant articles didn’t pass in town, but they were all close.
Voters elected not to add $10,000 to a capital reserve fund for the town’s legal fees, 510-509.
There was a tie in the vote to establish a Heritage Commission and heritage fund, 502-502. As a result, the article did not pass.
An article which would have added $15,000 to a capital reserve fund for recreation purposes failed, 518-504.
The $4 million budget was passed by a healthy margin, 583-483.
Voters approved a $212,000 fire tanker and $30,000 for the installation of six fire hydrants.
Insect control was a focus of Atkinson’s warrant and voters approved two articles relating to that. The town voted to allow bow hunting in the town forest and to add $47,390 to a mosquito control fund.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NH AG Investigating Atkinson Officials for Electioneering

Yes, folks, you heard it here. We have heard that the New Hampshire Attorney General office is opening an investigation into the complaints of Atkinson Town Officials engaging in electioneering. At least ONE of the officials named in the numerous complaints that have been filed over the years has been our former police chief, Phil Consentino. Phil has been the subject of close to a dozen electioneering complains filed with the AG's office over the years, From sign holding at the post office, to placing his campaign signs on town property, to gathering signatures for his petitions in the police station, to gathering signatures from captive elderly while they were receiving service from elderly affairs. The level of political corruption that a few brave souls have complained about over the years, and paid a high price for doing so, is finally coming to light since his firing FOR CAUSE. It must be a vindication for those who tried to do the right thing for the Town in years passed. People like Wayne Peak, Lt. Rick Daniels, Off. Rich Buco, Off. Michael Rivera, Off. Gary Lorden, Fred Childs, Brian Boyle, Jane Cole, Barbara Stewart, Betty Stewart, Mark Acciard, Leon Artus, Gary Brownfield, and numerous others. As more details come to light we will continue to keep you posted.

Monday, March 4, 2013

NH Insider

Recognizing that the former Atkinson Police Chief/Thug Phil Consentino had to go, Town Manager William Innes had this to say to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune about the infamous “Elderly Affairs Department” run by the chief thug:
“The organization was a political base that was built and exploited in the past,” Innes said. “I just want to ensure that that there is a code of ethics in place that defines the roles and responsibilities of the director and drivers of organization. I haven’t been able to find a document that says what the elderly affairs department does.”
Innes said the salary and the hours of the future director have not been discussed just yet. Consentino was earning $100 a year during his tenure as director.
The elderly affairs department had previously done things like buy cigarettes and groceries for older residents, Innes said, something he would like to eliminate.
“That’s not the role of the department,” Innes said. “The role of the department is to ensure the seniors in town have transportation to medical appointments and for some other things which need to be defined.”
The role of the department is to ensure the seniors in town have transportation to medical appointments and for some other things which need to be defined???
A question for Town manager Innes: How about NO acting like a taxi service and leaving that up to taxis and private business. That would be nice.
The Town of Atkinson has been shuttling people around at other taxpayers expense for years and that is what has gotten them in trouble. There is no way to give free services to people that should be available from a private source of a true non-profit.
There is a NH Supreme Court case regarding plowing of private driveways called Clapp v. Jaffrey where the court ruled that plowing private drives at town expense was unconstitutional. There is little difference here, see:
Given a perfect opportunity to abolish the Elderly Affairs Dept. and all the trouble it has caused, this town manager still doesn’t get it – unless he wants to run the gig himself or have a minion do it. After all, dependant voters you have some private time with at town expense can be very helpful come town meeting time. And not cause dissention among the taxpayers who do not benefit from that service.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Eagle Tribune Editorial

March 3, 2013
Police officers have been in the news recently, and not for nabbing criminals. In some cases, the police themselves are accused of criminal behavior.
In Lawrence, a police officer was arrested last week and will face charges in Florida of raping a child.
In Haverhill, a police officer was charged with stalking his estranged wife and her date.
And in Atkinson, selectmen fired their longtime police chief after a month-long investigation. Town officials would not elaborate on their reason for firing Chief Philip Consentino, other than to issue a statement that it “relates to his employment.” Consentino’s lawyer said the firing was not over a criminal issue.
There have been many incidents of police misbehavior over the years. But to have three in just one week is unusual and troubling. We should expect better from these public servants.
Lawrence Officer Carlos Gonzalez was attending a class at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover when city police and detectives from Haines City, Fla., arrested him. Gonzalez was arraigned Thursday in Lawrence District Court for sexual battery by a custodian on a person over age 12 and under age 18 and selling, delivering or serving alcohol to a minor. The alleged assault happened last July while Gonzalez was vacationing there.
Gonzalez, 48, a 24-year veteran of the Lawrence police, will return to Florida to face the charges.
In court for Gonzalez’s arraignment was police Officer Daron Fraser, who is facing assault charges after “belly-bumping” a superior officer at the police station just three weeks after returning from 29 months of paid leave while he was charged with and convicted of assault on his then-girlfriend.
Including Gonzalez and Fraser, there are now four Lawrence police officers on paid leave while facing criminal charges. Deputy Chief Melix Bonilla and officer P.J. Lopez were indicted in September for felony offenses.
In Haverhill, Patrolman Victor “Manny” Pellot was arrested after he allegedly chased his estranged wife and her date through the city and down Interstate 495. Police say that Pellot, who was driving his personal vehicle, at one point pulled his car in front of the couple’s vehicle, walked to it and punched the side-view mirror while yelling at his wife.
According to a police report, Pellot and his wife are in the process of divorcing.
Pellot was arraigned on two counts of stalking. He pleaded not guilty.
In 2004, Pellot had been demoted and was nearly fired for being present in uniform in 2002 and 2003 during illegal drug sales at his cousin’s house.
Pellot has also been commended several times in his career, including once for saving an 83-year-old woman from a burning building.
We expect better from our police forces and we do hold them to a higher standard. We give police officers guns and badges and ask them to swear an oath to uphold the law. That’s a extraordinary level of trust for a free people to grant. Those of us who respect the law also respect those we trust to uphold it.
When police officers violate that trust, they lose that respect. We cannot tolerate law breaking by those sworn to uphold the law.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Atkinson Police Union endorses acting Chief

ATKINSON — Members of the Atkinson Police Association know who they want as their next police chief: acting Chief Patrick Caggiano.
Caggiano was named acting chief Wednesday night after selectmen voted to fire longtime Chief Philip Consentino.
Before Caggiano could settle into his new role, the union endorsed him for the permanent job.
He’s not the only one settling into a new role. Town Manager William Innes has taken on the role of elderly affairs director — temporarily.
After 45-year veteran Consentino was fired, selectmen moved to fill his two roles with existing employees.
But the 15 union members want the word interim removed from Caggiano’s new job title.
“His skills are unmatched and he has an extensive knowledge of the profession,” Detective Nicholas Fiset said. “We recognize how good of a teacher and leader he has been.”
Consentino was a part-time chief, working 25 hours a week.
It’s possible the next chief will be full time, but that would require a Town Meeting vote. It’s early in the process. Consentino emailed selectmen Tuesday evening to announce his intention to retire April 2.
Selectmen men the next night and fired the chief, citing the results of an independent investigation into a personnel matter.
It’s been a busy week.
“There has always been discussion about making it full-time,” Selectmen’s Chairman Fred Childs said yesterday. “But we haven’t decided what we want to do yet.”
No one knows whether Caggiano would be interested in a part-time position; he didn’t return several phone calls yesterday.
“I don’t know if he would want a part-time or full-time job,” Fiset said. “The entire body feels he would be an excellent police chief, whatever fashion that is in is something that would have to be figured out.”
How long Caggiano could serve as acting chief isn’t clear.
But Innes said he only intends to lead elderly affairs for 90 days. While he does, he said, he plans to fully explore how the department operated under Consentino.
“The organization was a political base that was built and exploited in the past,” Innes said. “I just want to ensure that that there is a code of ethics in place that defines the roles and responsibilities of the director and drivers of organization. I haven’t been able to find a document that says what the elderly affairs department does.”
Innes said the salary and the hours of the future director have not been discussed just yet. Consentino was earning $100 a year during his tenure as director.
The elderly affairs department had previously things like buy cigarettes and groceries for older residents, Innes said, something he would like to eliminate.
“That’s not the role of the department,” Innes said. “The role of the department is to ensure the seniors in town have transportation to medical appointments and for some other things which need to be defined.”
The elderly affairs budget this year was $44,500, most of which to pay drivers, gas and maintenance.
The department also used about $30,000, Innes said, from an independent charitable fund run by Consentino. Innes said he hopes to create a new fund for those purposes, records of which could be kept by the town.
“I want to create an environment where money is being appropriated in the right account in town,” he said. “If donations that came into the charitable account now come into a town account, we will be able to provide similar services.”
In the meantime, Innes said they would be using money from the general assistance fund. The 2013 proposed budget calls for the fund to have $14,400.
Innes said he would also look into separating elderly affairs from the police department.
“By separating this out, we can figure out exactly what funding we need in the police department and what kind of funding we need with elderly affairs,” Innes said. “There are a lot of things in the departments that we don’t have a handle on right now because of the way it was being run.”
Innes wants to bring seniors into the process and plans to hold an open forum in the upcoming weeks to learn exactly what they expect from the department.
“I don’t want to do this without them,” he said. “I want to know what works and what doesn’t work. I want to know what they’d like to see changed. I want them to have involvement and input so the department can meet the needs of all of our seniors.”

Friday, March 1, 2013

Police Chief fired after independent investigation.

Selectmen cite results of independent investigation

ATKINSON — Just one day after longtime police Chief Philip Consentino announced he would be retiring, selectmen voted to fire him, citing the results of an independent investigation.
Selectmen voted unanimously in a nonpublic meeting Wednesday night to fire Consentino, 72, as police chief and elderly affairs director.
“The termination is effective immediately,” Town Administrator Bill Innes wrote. “Mr. Consentino is no longer a town employee.”
Consentino, who had been with the department for 45 years, announced in an email Tuesday night that he would be retiring April 2, citing health reasons.
He was not asked to attend the meeting Wednesday.
Selectmen made the decision to fire the chief after reviewing the results of an investigation into a personnel matter, they said in their statement.
Consentino was put on paid administrative leave from both positions Feb. 5, pending an investigation by an independent consulting firm, selectmen said.
After the board reviewed that firm’s report, selectmen decided it was “appropriate” to fire Consentino, according to the statement.
“Whereas the subject matter related to Mr. Consentino’s termination relates to his employment,” they wrote, “it is confidential and will be kept confidential.”
Only one of the three selectmen returned phone messages yesterday.
“This decision was taken really seriously,” Selectman Todd Barbera said. “This is not something we take lightly.”
Neither Innes nor Barbera would comment on the circumstances that led to Consentino’s firing.
Mark Giarrusso, Consentino’s attorney, said yesterday it was not a criminal issue, but would not elaborate further.
“We haven’t gotten anything official in writing,” Giarrusso said. “We have to find out why they are doing this and we will take it from there.”
Phone calls to Consentino yesterday were not returned.
Selectmen named Sgt. Patrick Caggiano as acting police chief. Innes will serve as acting director of elderly affairs.
Caggiano said the department did not wish to comment on the situation.
Innes said the decision to vote to fire Consentino in nonpublic meeting is allowed under RSA 91 -A:3. The RSA says, “Minutes and decisions reached in nonpublic session shall be publicly disclosed within 72 hours of the meeting.”
Giarrusso said town attorney Sumner Kalman called him yesterday morning to inform him of the selectmen’s decision. Consentino had not seen the independent report, according to Giarrusso.
“I don’t know why they took this step,” he said. “He wanted to leave gracefully. He wanted no bad feelings with the town.”
Consentino was frustrated with the town’s decision to put him on administrative leave, Giarrusso said.
“I don’t think there were sufficient enough details provided to (Consentino) to do that,” he said. “He was very surprised by that.”
Giarrusso said Consentino had been mulling retirement for several weeks. The attorney said he didn’t know whether Consentino had decided to retire before or after he was put on leave.
“He wanted to keep his health coverage until April,” Giarrusso said. “He wanted to have retired sooner, but he couldn’t financially.”
Consentino is a part-time employee, who earns less than $30,000 a year. He would not have been eligible for retirement benefits even if he had not been fired.
Consentino was hospitalized over the weekend, due to chest pains and shortness of breath, according to Giarrusso. He took a two-month medical leave in 2011.
Selectmen’s Chairman Fred Childs, Selectman Bill Friel and Kalman did not return phone calls.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Consentino FIRED as Atkinson Police Chief

ATKINSON— Selectmen announced this morning the firing of longtime police chief Phil Consentino.
Town Administrator Bill Innes released a statement from the Board of Selectmen saying they took the action at a meeting Wednesday night.
Selectmen said Consentino’s dismissal was “for cause,” job related and followed an independent investigation.
The dismissal came a day after Consentino announced he would be retiring.
Selectmen said they would have no further comment on the dismissal.
Sgt. Patrick Caggiano will take over as acting police chief immediately. Innes will be the town’s acting director of elderly affairs.

Chief placed on leave earlier

Selectmen mum on reasons, surprised by announcement

ATKINSON — A day after police Chief Philip Consentino announced his retirement, selectmen were still tight-lipped about the situation.
Selectmen’s Chairman Fred Childs said Consentino, 72, was placed on administrative leave two weeks ago.
Childs would not discuss details of that action.
Consentino emailed his retirement announcement to selectmen Tuesday. He cited health reasons for his decision to retire April 2 after 45 years on the force.
He also is retiring as director of elderly affairs, a department he established and has led for some 20 years.
But Childs said he learned about Consentino’s retirement yesterday morning.
“I was surprised when I read it in the newspaper,” he said.
Selectmen had scheduled a nonpublic meeting with Consentino last night, Childs said, but he wouldn’t offer any details about the purpose of the meeting. He did say that meeting was scheduled Monday, a day before Consentino announced his retirement.
Sgt. Patrick Caggiano has been in charge of the police department since Consentino was placed on leave, according to Childs. At the police station yesterday, department employees said Consentino was not expected in.
“The chief is retired,” dispatcher Lynne Cunningham said when asked. “He is not expected to be back.”
It was not clear who was running the elderly affairs department in the interim.
Childs said it was too early to discuss the process for finding Consentino’s replacement for both positions.
Town Manager Bill Innes said yesterday he, too, was surprised to learn of the chief’s retirement plans. He refused to comment on why Consentino was placed on administrative leave.
Consentino’s tenure has been marked with controversy, including complaints to and an investigation by the Charitable Trusts Unit of the Attorney General’s Office in 2008.
But Consentino has his supporters as well. Many senior citizens said yesterday they were upset to learn about Consentino’s retirement.
“I’ve been dreading the day that this man retires,” said Ellen Muller, 73. “He’s done wonders for the town and for me.”
And many seniors are worried about the future of the elderly affairs department.
“We are all worried that the selectmen will not honor the legacy and the standards that he has established,” said Kay Galloway, 73.
For others, shock was the first reaction.
“I was surprised to hear that he would be retiring,” said Connie Bartlett, 73. “He’s been a part of this town for so long.”
Selectmen Bill Friel and Todd Barbera, and town attorney Sumner Kalman did not return phone messages yesterday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Consentino Resigning? Could it be?

The Talk in the Town Hall is that Long time, controversial police chief Philip Consentino may be retiring soon. At over 70 years old, this should have been expected, but the rumors are that this one is not totally by choice. Sources form inside law enforcement were overheard laughing about Consentino's latest foibles, There are rumors of a threatened lawsuit, although the details are being closely held. We will endeavor to keep you posted. One can only wonder what this latest threat could be, given his uncanny ability to enlist his good works with Elderly affairs to provide cover for his shenanigans as police chief in years past. His career as chief in Atkinson began ignominously with an accusation of improper use of funds, that blew up into a six year lawsuit with former selectman Wayne Peak. Then there were legal issues with his officers, labor relations cases with his officers, accusations of union busting during their organization drive, The infamous "Town that hates halloween" story made national news after his boneheaded comment that "his men" will turn cars with Mass. plates around at the border. Illegal, but that is nothing new for chief. Then there were more labor relations suits, his conflict of interest issues, his sleight of hand with donation funds, his conflicts between his numerous hats, his willful disobeying of Court Orders. Yes, Phil's tenure has been both expensive for the Town, and colorful. To the best of our knowledge he is the only part time chief in the state to be found in contempt of court, and to have pleaded the Fifth over 20 times on the witness stand. We can't wait to see what new chapter Phil will add to his legacy.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Candidates file for town, school offices in N.H.

Other towns, including Atkinson and Derry, will have plenty of choices on the ballot next month.
Candidates in almost all towns and school districts had until 5 p.m. yesterday to file paperwork to get on the ballot for local elections March 12.

Atkinson has a three-way race for a three-year selectmen’s seat.
Incumbent Selectman Fred Childs is being challenged by William Baldwin and Craig Schuster, both of whom ran unsuccessfully last year.

Incumbent road agent Edward Stewart wants another two-year term, but he’s being challenged by Brian Klimaszewski.

Jean Sanders will try to unseat incumbent cemetery trustee Kathleen Friel for a three-year term.

Michael Turell is running unopposed for a three-year term as treasurer.

Incumbent Raymond Fournier is being challenged for a three-year term on the Conflict of Interest Committee by Jean-MacMillan Foley. Jean Sanders is running against incumbent Joyce LaFrance for a two-year term on the committee. No one filed for a single one-year term spot.

Harlan Cheney and incumbent Budget Committee members Bill Smith and Susan Carroll are vying for two three-year terms.

There’s a race for library trustee, too. James Cobb, Timothy Dziechowski and incumbent Alan Phair are seeking two three-year terms.

Incumbent Adele Dillon is unopposed for a one-year term as checklist supervisor.

Incumbent Helen Galloway is unopposed for a three-year term as trustee of trust funds.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Take Back America!

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.