Atkinson Town Hall

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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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Acting chief reviews Atkinson Department

Brackett may decide to apply for the permanent Atkinson position

ATKINSON — After a month on the job, acting police Chief Al Brackett met with selectmen on Monday night to discuss his first impressions of the department.
Brackett had several suggestions for selectmen, including a major legal concern.
“People have access to our building that shouldn’t,” Brackett said. “We have a responsibility to protect the privacy information of suspects and witnesses. When non-police personnel are in the building, it’s difficult to control that.”
The Elder Services Department has shared the same building as the police department for years. Former police Chief Philip Consentino used to lead both departments.
Town Administrator Bill Innes said Elder Services soon will be moved out of the building.
“It will be moved to the community center,” Innes said. “They should be there within the next two or three weeks. Most of our programs are run out of the community center, that’s the logical place that it should reside.”
Brackett said the police station was not designed to host two departments.
“There needed to be some way to physically separate them,” Brackett said.
Rockingham County Sheriff Michael Downing asked Brackett to step in and serve Atkinson after former acting Chief Patrick Caggiano retired. Brackett is Downing’s chief deputy.
Brackett also suggested to selectmen the department needs more established leadership.
“There needs to be someone in command if the chief’s not present,” he said. “Some days, it can be overwhelming and we don’t have that supervisory assistant that you need. That’s especially important with the decision to go to a part-time chief.”
He cited an independent review done by Municipal Resources Inc. in 2011, which called for two sergeants to serve under the chief.
“One would have responsibilities over patrol, and the other would have both patrol and investigation responsibilities,” Brackett said.
Selectmen on Monday decided to keep the position part time after originally recommending the position be full time.
Brackett, 62, originally said he wasn’t interested in the permanent position, but yesterday said he isn’t ruling it out.
“I only want to work part time,” he said. “It’s something I have to think about.”
Despite the selectmen’s decision, Brackett said he recommends the town have a full-time chief.
“I think that the chief is a CEO of the organization,” he said. “He just can’t go home at the end of the day and just say I’ve done my 25 or 32 hours. He needs to be able to respond if there’s a major crime or a problem with an officer.”
During his brief time in Atkinson, Brackett said, he has been impressed with what the town has to offer.
“There’s a lot of good, young people here at the agency,” he said. “I like working here and the residents have been very receptive to me.”
Other changes which Brackett recommended included the use of stun guns and switching to the Rockingham County Sheriff’s dispatch after hours. The department currently uses Plaistow for dispatching.
“There are some dead spots in Plaistow,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure that they know there’s an alternative.”
Selectman William Baldwin said he agreed with most of Brackett’s comments, but disagreed about changing the dispatch. Baldwin is a lieutenant with the Plaistow police department. He used to be a member of the Atkinson force.
“I think it’s fine as it is,” he said. “Rockingham County handles many towns. If they’re getting a lot of calls, someone is going to be put on hold.”
Innes said the town would take Brackett’s recommendations under consideration, but most decisions will be made by the new chief.
“(Brackett) brings a world of knowledge and world of experience,” he said. “I think the new chief should pay attention to his recommendations.”
Town officials expect to hire a new chief this spring

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Brackett tacitly admits Consentino lied for a decade.

Chief Brackett went before the selectmen on Monday night with some revelations, Well, at least revelations to those who spent the last ten years believing Phil Consentino.

he said he can not sign the Annual certification to the State and Federal government that the Atkinson Police dept. is in compliance with their standards and regulations. Phil and Billy used to pass this document with nary a word. Brackett says there is "so much to do" that he can not possibly sign it. Maybe Phil and Billy simply did not know their duties in this regard, as they did not in so many others.

He also admitted what Acciard, Boyle, Grant, Artus, Kaye, and others have said for years; that the police dept. only gets 1.5 calls for service per shift. Some of you may remember Phils fanciful numbers from 2005-2008 of anywhere from 9,000- 12,000 calls. Like his claims of 240 people using elderly affairs, they were lies.

Brackett also revealed that he had spoken with Rockingham County Sheriff, Downing about Rockingham dispatch, noting that we already pay the county for it, it would cost no more to actually use it! Currently we pay more than $50,000 for Phil's wife, and the object of his desires, and harrassment to dispatch officers 23% of the time. In addition to this we pay Plaistow $39,000 to dispatch ALL of Highway, animal control, fire, and 77% of Police. For many years budget committee chief's such as Acciard, Boyle, Cole, and others asked why we spend so much for so little. Phil had a litany of excuses why his wife needed to dispatch. he claimed there would be delays with the Sheriff. That we would not get the service of larger towns. That our equipment did not directly communicate. That we would have to install a dedicated secure line to the Sheriff at a cost of tens of thousands. NONE OF WHICH WERE TRUE!

Bracket then discussed the security issues of having elderly affairs in the police building. The same things said in years past by others, such as Acciard, Tobin, Boyle, Grant, Artus,

He also revealed that the trustees HAD KEYS TO THE BUILDING! Also that they DROVE POLICE VEHICLES in the lot. ALL serious violations of both security, and protocol, thus placing the Town at severe liability. These practices were routine under the untrained, and incompetent former chief, and his trusty deputy, Billy.

This Blog thinks that the Town, and Consentino, if he had a shred of honor, owes those former critics of his an abject apology. it is absolutely amazing the things that we are now learning about the former chief's utter incompetence.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Suspended County Attorney gives budget advice

By Elizabeth Dinan January 28, 2014 2:00 AM

BRENTWOOD — Interim County Attorney James Boffetti was prepared to make a budget presentation to county officials Monday, was told the meeting was canceled, but later learned it was held in a different location and that suspended County Attorney James Reams presented a budget for the office.
Reams, who is suspended while the target of a criminal investigation, said he was invited to present his budget and that his lawyer advised him that was fine. Reams said he was told to go to the county delegation office at 11 a.m. Monday and he participated in the budget meeting for a little more than an hour.
Boffetti said he received an e-mail over the weekend advising that a budget meeting scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at the county courthouse building was canceled, but was not told the meeting was moved to the delegation office.
"I would have been happy to attend and I'm still happy to attend," said Boffetti, adding that he presented a preliminary budget for the county attorney's office, as the department head, last Thursday night. "All I know is that I wasn't informed of the change of location."
State representative and county delegate Ken Weyler of Kingston said he notified Boffetti that his meeting was canceled and he invited Reams to the alternate budget meeting. He said the county delegation was not formally notified that Reams is no longer county attorney and that Reams is in a better position to craft the county attorney budget.
"I wanted Jim there, not some temporary guy who doesn't care about Rockingham County," Weyler said.
The county delegate said Reams, for example, talked about pay scales for assistant county attorneys who often leave for Hillsborough County after a few years because the pay is higher there.
"That's not something Boffetti would know or care about," Weyler said.
Boffetti, also a senior assistant attorney general, said one of the first things he did when he was sworn in as interim county attorney in November was to work on a budget with the county finance office.
Reams said Monday that he's still the elected county attorney, has not been removed from office and that he's been putting together the county attorney budget for the past 15 years.
Boffetti said county budget hearings are public hearings and anyone can attend.
"From my perspective, there is a lot of important work to be done here and I'm focused on that. I'm happy to work with the delegation," Boffetti said. "This seems to be small-time county politics."
County Commissioner Kevin Coyle called the county delegation subcommittee's "refusal" to meet with Boffetti "disrespectful." Its choice to instead meet "with a person under criminal investigation," he said, "calls into question their integrity."
Reams was suspended Nov. 6 at the onset of a probe by state and federal authorities, while Associate Attorney General Jane Young described him as the "target of a criminal investigation." Assistant Attorney General Anne Edwards recently told a judge that the investigation began with a complaint about harassment and expanded to involve a probe of the county attorney's forfeiture fund that included federal money seized during criminal cases.
Reams, who is not charged with a crime, has since filed suit against the attorney general's office, challenging its authority to suspend him. He has also filed suit against the County Commission for banning him from the county complex where his office is located.
Suspended at the same time were Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid and county victim-witness advocate Tara Longo. Both announced their resignations Jan. 17

Atkinson police chief position to remain part time

January 28, 2014

Selectmen reverse earlier decision

ATKINSON — The future of the police chief’s position has taken another turn. In a special meeting Saturday morning, selectmen reversed course and decided to keep the position part time.
“It’s our reaction to the feedback we’ve gotten from town,” Selectman Fred Thompson said.
In October, selectmen announced they would be making the position full time after recommendations from two consultants. But after resident Brian Boyle filed a citizen’s petition earlier this month to keep the job part time, Thompson said selectmen realized it’s what residents want.
“It was a strong likelihood that that article would have passed and directed us to keep it part time,” Thompson said. “We decided we’d rather make that change now, so we can prepare for the financial ramifications that decision would have had.”
Boyle said he was pleased selectmen have changed their minds.
“I’m encouraged to hear that the selectmen had a change of heart,” Boyle said. “It’s always the safest thing to let the voters decide on changes that have a big impact to the town.”
Town Administrator Bill Innes said making the position full time would have saved the town between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. Instead, they will now shift money around in the budget to account for a part-time chief.
“It needs to be funded properly,” Thompson said. “We don’t feel that number would account for what we need from the position.”
Three people have filled the position within the last year. In February, long-time chief Philip Consentino was terminated from the position for “cause.”
Sgt. Patrick Caggiano then filled the position on an interim basis. He announced in December he would retire from the department after the town chose to conduct an open search for the permanent chief.
Since Caggiano retired, Rockingham County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Al Brackett has served as interim chief. Brackett has said he is not interested in the permanent position.
The search for a full-time chief was already underway, but revamping the search will likely delay things.
“It could be anywhere from a month later to even two to three months,” Innes said.
Innes had hoped to have a new chief in place by the end of February.
The town had received 45 resumes and had handed them over to the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police earlier this month. But now, Thompson said, he is worried about the quality of the chief they will get for the position.
“One of my major concerns is that you’ll severely decrease the qualified candidates by making it part time,” Thompson said. “It makes it less likely that the chief will stay for a long time, creating a revolving door at that position for years to come.”
Innes said the town will proceed, despite his beliefs that the town still needs a full-time chief.
“The NHPCA and Chief Brackett both think we need a full-time chief,” Innes said. “Reports and studies say we need a full-time chief. We think there’s a need, but we don’t think the town residents as a whole are ready to make that transition and the selectmen take direction from residents.”
Innes said the part-time position will be 25 hours per week. The salary and benefits have yet to be determined.
“If we want a good chief, obviously we are going to have to pay for that,” Innes said.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Selectmen Corruption? You decide

It seems our current BOS is not happy taking second place in the corruption sweepstakes to the Board of Consentino/Childs/Sapia, they evidently wish to make a serious run at FIRST PLACE.

For those who watch the Budget Committee meetings they have been great entertainment, as the selectmen have tried to pad the budget, and the budget committee has asked the questions that for the last 6 years they have shied away from asking.

For  example, Mr. Innis was caught flat footed when presenting the selectmen's attempt to add $25,000 for  a repair to the deck at the Community Center. The Budget committee did  something that they have not done since the tenure of Acciard, Cole, and Boyle.  They did their DUE DILIGENCE! Member Harold Morse and Bill Smith went to the ACC and looked at the deck. These men, with construction experience determined that the repair would cost no more than $500. They confronted innis  with this, and he did a wonderful job of  stammering, but  could offer no expanation. Harold Morse's response was Beautiful, he said;  These instances are causing me to  lose confidence in you and your board".

And now we come to the latest DISHONESTY from the Board of Selectmen. They have asked the Elderly Affairs director to create a presentation about "why they need to put back the $20,000 that the budget committee removed from the Elderly Affairs budget". The problem is that the Budget committee ONLY CUT $8,000 from the Selectmen's $19,000 INCREASE!

Ok, a little background, first it is highly likely that the selectmen's office did  the Ea budget for the new EA director. Second they asked for  a $19,000 increase, almost 50% WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO GIVE ANY JUSTIFICATION! According to Bill Innis last year 59 people used the program at a cost of $48,667. This is $824.69/person! When asked how  many people are  projected to use it this year he dissembles to the census which says there are 1,700 people over 55 in town(the Elderly), So, Bill, we presume you are advocating a $1,402,269.00 Ea budget?, because otherwise the census nnumber has no  relevance and it's presentation isa dishonest attempt to  muddy the waters.

THE FACT is that the budget committee has INCREASED the Ea budget this year by $15,342.00 or more than 34%. The BOS wants you  to  believe that they CUT the budget. The selectmen have asked for an additional $19,000 but can not say why they need it. They have increased payroll by 50%, increased gas by 50%.

Historically this is  how the selectmen get the extra money they wish to spend elsewhere but do not want to ask for. DRA will allow the selectmen to overspend any line item providing they do  not  overspend the bottom line of the budget. This means that if, say, they want to spend $1,000,000 on town hall improvements they could as long as they do not overspennd the budget as a whole. So, and this technique was pioneered by Phil Consentino in the Police budget, but perfected town wide by Russ MacAllister, every line they can inflate gives them more money to move around without creating the controversy of asking for that purpose.

Hey Selectmen, if you REALLY NEED the $19,000 for the 59 elderly affairs users, why are you attempting to add $30,000 to the legal line, haven't you guys created enough lawsuits that have cost the town thousands? Why are you trying to add $40,000 to create the towns first full time police chief position WITHOUT  VOTER APPROVAL? By the way, where are all those "alleged" legal opinions that say this illegal act can be committed by you?


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baldwin to b Town's first illegal Full time Police Chief?

Yes you heard it here, Our ever corrupt Board of Selectman, of which Billy is one, intends to appoint Billy as the Town's first Full time Police Chief. Some of you may remember that Billy left Atkinson's force after Selectman Bill Friel told him he would never be chief in Atkinson. He went to Plaistow, where we hear he wrought havoc among the troops there. Now both he and the BOS wish to once again, violate the Town's Conflict of Interest Ordinance, to feather their own nests. Not that this is unusual in Atkinson. This towns Boards of Selectmen and Police Chiefs have a long established record of violating this particular town law. Even having to be Ordered by the Court to OBEY it! Strange position for once sworn to UPHOLD the law.

 The conflict of interest ordinance requires a 12 month window between an employer- employee relationship. Billy wishes to go from selectman to chief in a day, not a year. He surely has learned a lot under the corrupt tutelage of his former Boss, Our last chief who was fired for cause.

 To Make matters worse, the selectmen intend to do this WITHOUT putting a warrant article before the voters to create this new $70,000+ position. Remember that in both 2000, and 2001, the voters of the town EXPRESSLY FORBADE the selectmen from making the chief's position full time, and the Budget COmmittee at the time, which now selectman Thompson was a member found that the ONLY way a FT chief made sense was if it combined the FT admin position, we did not need two FT administrators. Note that Billy's Lt. position was the FIRST town position created by the selectmen WITHOUT A WARRANT ARTICLE TO THE VOTERS!

This act of corruption was engineered by Phil as both selectman and chief, and came on the heels of Billys frivolous lawsuit against the town for failure to promote him to Lt. and the demonstrably false claim that the town did not re imburse him for classes taken.(the selectmen had the cancelled checks in hand) This also shortly followed Billy's triumphant return from Kuwait, during which time he lied to the town about his military pay to his own personal benefit of $5,900.00. Fo those with short memories, The Town, in the person of selectman chairman Brian Boyle advanced Billy $5,900. offering to make up any difference between his town pay, and his military pay while deployed. A truly magnanimous gesture, only slightly clouded by the fact that as a former DoD contractor, Boyle knew the difference was miniscule. The Town advanced this money, demanding that Billy provide his military Leave and Earning statement, so they could reconcile accounts and determine the difference in pay. Billy refused to produce the LES for months, instead producing a "commanders BASE PAY letter" which understated his monthly pay by approximately $2,000.00, This ingnominious act was followed by Phil demanding that Billy be paid an EXTRA $511.75 per week as compensation, and anything less is "nickle and diming" the man defending his country. Finally after months of this dog and pony show, the Town demanded that Billy produce the LES or return the $5,900. Flash forward to today, our current BOS is raising the curtain on act two of this corrupt play.

The questions for the voters of Atkinson are as follows;

 1.) Why do you allow your BOS to engage in this corruption?

 2.) Why do you allow them to thwart your will? remember they work for you!

 3.) Why do we allow the actions of the BOS and the police chief to cost the town hundreds of thousands in legal fees for their improper actions?

 4.) Why do the voters have to go to Court to force their Town Officials to act LEGALLY?

 5.) Is this the track record of a man you want for chief?