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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!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Commissioner worried about assistant attorney's firing

By Kyle Stucker

Posted Nov. 11, 2014 @ 6:54 pm
Updated at 9:17 PM
BRENTWOOD — Local prosecutors and officials say they are “very frustrated” about the termination of a Rockingham County assistant attorney and whistleblower because they expect it will lead to a costly wrongful termination lawsuit against the county.
On her first day in office Friday, newly-elected Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway fired Jerome Blanchard, a prosecutor in her office and the person who earlier this year tipped off the state to the fact that Conway’s husband, former Salem police Sgt. Eric Lamb, was erroneously marked as cleared on the state’s so-called Laurie list.
“That smells like retribution to me,” said County Commission Vice Chairman Kevin Coyle. “It just really smells bad. To me this is clearly an act of retribution on the part of Pat Conway and others.”
No lawsuits had been filed against Conway or the county as of Tuesday, although Coyle said he expects Blanchard to file suits under the state’s whistleblower statute in addition to civil suits against any individuals involved in the firing.
Coyle said he and others consider Blanchard the “best prosecutor in that office” and said he doesn’t “know of anyone in law enforcement who would cast any dispersions on his ability to prosecute.”
“What I told her is she better hire a good lawyer, because she’s going to need one,” said Coyle, who wasn’t made aware of Conway’s decision until after Blanchard was terminated late Friday.
The confidential Laurie list contains the names of law enforcement officers who have been identified by their agencies as having engaged in misconduct that could affect their credibility if they had to testify in a case.
This information must be disclosed to defense lawyers and the court.
Blanchard notified the state in April that Lamb had been cleared in error. This prompted an investigation and Lamb’s name to be restored to the list after the state found former County Attorney Jim Reams, who later resigned from his post amid controversy, had indicated in letters to the attorney general’s office that Lamb had been cleared.
Conway maintained Tuesday that she had “no idea” Blanchard was the key whistleblower behind the Laurie list investigation involving her husband.
She also claimed that Seacoast Media Group and New Hampshire Union Leader stories published over the past few days about Blanchard’s firing contain “lies” because her decision had “nothing to do with retribution.”
“I had no idea about that,” said Conway. “I never knew about that. When I read that in the paper, that was the first time I ever learned about that.”
Conway also said that she “was not aware” that Blanchard and his girlfriend, former county prosecutor Jacqueline Docko, played key roles in the state’s investigation into Reams for sexual harassment, ethical violations and mismanagement of a forfeiture account.
“I didn’t know that,” said Conway. “I don’t know if that’s true or not. I was unaware of it.”
Reams, who served for 15 years, retired earlier this year after fighting for his return to office following a suspension. He has admitted no wrongdoing.
Conway has said she terminated Blanchard because doing so would be in the "best interests" of the county.
Beyond that, Conway said Tuesday that she “cannot comment” on why Blanchard was terminated because it “would be improper” to do that from a legal standpoint. She also said she couldn’t disclose whether her decision was based on poor job performance or wrongdoing.
Many local lawyers and law enforcement individuals expressed to Seacoast Media Group Tuesday that they couldn’t think of any possible job performance-related reasons for Blanchard’s firing.
“I can tell you that amongst the defense bar we consider him if not the best, but one of the best trial attorneys,” said Joe Plaia, a Portsmouth defense attorney whom Conway defeated during the Nov. 4 election. “I think he’s got without a doubt a fantastic whistleblower suit on his hands.”
Conway said her focus in her new role will be to ensure the office is running “efficiently,” “ethically” and “in a fiscally responsible manner,” although Coyle said it’ll be difficult to do that after her first official act was to “fire the person who made a legitimate complaint” against her husband.
“I don’t know if you’re ever going to bring back integrity to the office (after doing something like that),” said Coyle. “I think on her first day she really blew it with law enforcement and the public.”
Blanchard couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

It seems to be they're sour grapes in this firing situation. A better explanation by Ms. Conway has to be given for the firing of the best lawyer in the group. If not then we are going to be spending a lot of tax money in litigation and everyone can be sure of that.

Anonymous said...

Let's look at this another way. Pretend it was you that was fired. Would you want your ex boss telling everyone what the reasons were? Maybe it was something that you deserved to be fired for. It just might be, we do not know. Now if you who were just fired want to pursue it through the courts then it is you who should do it not all of us that are worried what it will be costing us for court costs.

Anonymous said...

She can't disclose unless there's charges, which there aren't, so this guy gets a bum deal while Reams got reinstated then promoted her as his replacement before he quit. I hope he sues and Conway is forced out.

Anonymous said...

She made a charge against him to fire him didn't she? Then it seems to me that she should come out publicly with her reasons for firing him. He in turn should make her do it and he should have a say publicly to defend himself by making her do it. - Remember what they say about misuse of power and where it leads to. When you abuse your power you become corrupt and that isn't where the county attorney[s] want to be.JMHO

Anonymous said...

Or the Presidency!

Anonymous said...

Good to see somebody up this early as me on the site. Have you heard what he is so willing to do? Your medications are going to sky rocket in costs. He must have stocks in the RX companies or they are paying him off . Now that we have a change in party power maybe they will start doing the peoples work in protest of the president. What ever happened with the hands across the isle and working together that was asked in the past? We now have longer life expectancy and it appears they want us to die as quickly as possible by increasing our meds cost so we can't afford to take them. What a vicious circle we're in because of greed and a wacko governing group of nuts that just wont do what they are supposed to for the people they represent, that being us the ones who put them in their positions of ...POWER... !

Anonymous said...

She cannot give her reason to the public without formal charges. He can give the reason if he knows and wants to. This has been said over and ovrr

Anonymous said...

4;37 You are right! We paid an extra 4400 in health care over what we would have paid last year! Yep 4400 more out of our pockets thanks to this idiot we have for a senator and the dictator in charge. Never read it, couldn't care less that in the afc that there is only ONE insurance company to chose from in our wonderful State....NICE JOB DEMOCRATS! BTW WE ARE NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO TAKE YOUR LYING C%^$ ANYMORE!

Anonymous said...

We voted in some new people state and nationally who I'd hope will scream loud enough to get the incumbents returning to do as we ask them and want them to do. Its time for the government to stop illegal immigration at our borders by having 24 hour a day patrols that will cover the borders . Our southern border needs to be better watched with patrols that jump to place to place during the night as well as the day. A clear message to those here illegally that they will be sent back to where they came from at our expense will be cheaper than us paying for their staying here bleeding us dry monetarily. That would include all children born here as well. then they can apply to come here legally with preference to those who had children born here. It is time we took care of our own people where charity comes here first and foremost at home to all our citizens. .JMHO.

Anonymous said... clearly don't get how it works.

Anonymous said...

Then you explain how it works. Be sure to explain the ethics of those on the job and more so its head of the county keep good working help within it. You know as well as I do there is a smell of dead rotting fish from its head down to its tail. Stop standing up for this wrong doing by Ms. Conway .

Anonymous said...

No one is standing up for her here.

What you don't seem to get (though it's been stated over and over and over...) is that she cannot make a public statement about his firing unless she brings criminal charges, which she won't because there aren't any to bring.

Anonymous said...

Then how can she be justified in firing him? There has to be a violation of some sort to do it. That info has to be made public and that office is supposed to be above board in forth coming in order to represent the law in court and the public it serves.

Anonymous said...

Well that's the $64.00 question, why did she fire him? Yet we've lost you again by your third sentence.

Anonymous said...

It should be, but it's not the way you wish it to be.

You don't seem to understand that an employer can't go public with personal information about their PERSONNEL.

You went on the same rant over the Conman's firing.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the site administrator but your writing style is very different and stands out.

"distant time of an unknown day"

Who talks like this?

She NOT going to say why so let it up.

Anonymous said...

"Retaliation? Right-to-know revisions could help"

from the Union Leader

Two public employees in New Hampshire have been disciplined recently in high-profile instances that involve alleged conflicts of interest by the bosses who made the disciplinary decisions. The state's right-to-know law is providing a cloak of secrecy in these cases.

Newly elected Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway fired Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard within hours of her swearing in Friday a week ago. Blanchard, a prosecutor highly respected in the Rockingham County law enforcement commiunity, just happens to be the staffer who informed the state that a retired Salem police officer was incorrectly removed from the county attorney's Laurie List. That is the list of police officers who have credibility issues bad enough that defense attorneys must be notified if one of the officers is giving testimony in court. The officer in question happened to be Conway's husband.

In Fremont, Ellis School Principal John Safina has been suspended with pay. He was to have administered a study by an outside education consultancy, but teachers say the study was complicated and burdensome, and Ellis halted the school's participation. The consulting company happens to be owned by Ellis' boss, Superintendent Dr. Betsey Cox-Buteau.

Conway and Cox-Buteau both say they did nothing inappropriate, and both say they cannot release any details because personnel matters are not public record.

That exception to the right-to-know law was to protect public employees. But in some instances it can harm them. Blanchard and Ellis could authorize the release of their personnel records and demand public explanations. That would help clear the air. Meanwhile, lawmakers should consider alterations to the law that would give disciplined employees more rights to have their cases aired publicly.

Anonymous said...

"What are you afraid of? Is it the truth? "

Not a thing and NO.

I don't make the rules so why are you attacking me for stating facts?

Your communication skills need work too.

Anonymous said...

Similar to the SAU criticizing Green because they don't have a valid rebuttal!

Anonymous said...

The aren't hiding the decisions on purpose. Read the RTK law, they cannot devulge certain facts about this situation. Only the fired person can do this.

Get it?

Anonymous said...

OMG. It's the LAW! It's not the RIGHT of the public because of the LAW.

Anonymous said...

Do I look like I have control over the law? If HE wants to go public with the reason he was fired, he can. He can defend himself if he chooses, its not up to you to tell him to do so.

Anonymous said...

Article Submission please:

Subject: What TRHS Doesn't Want YOU to Know

This meeting has been months in the making.

Timberlane Regional High School, School Board members, Budget Committee members, Superintendent Metzler and Business Manager George Stokinger doesn't want you to know how they are wasting your hard earned tax dollars. They have gone out of their way to keep the budget committee from obtaining the financial information needed to do their job and protect our interests. Please attend and bring fellow taxpayers with you. Please remember that it takes a School District to bankrupt a town. Just ask people from Sandown and Danville. This will be the most important meeting you will attend for several years. Help us help you.

All Taxpayers from Atkinson, Plaistow, Danville and Sandown are welcome.


Atkinson Taxpayers for Fair Evaluations Committee (spokesperson)

Town Hall on Draft School Budget: Sunday Dec 7th
by donnagre

Dear Concerned Timberlane School District Citizens:

School Budget Committee members from Sandown, Arthur Green and Cathy Gorman, will be presenting an open Town Hall style meeting


DEC 7, 2014

1-3 PM


This will be their own take on the draft budget. Come hear Arthur's detailed and powerful argument that the district is considerably overstaffed. He bases his argument on an in-depth examination of comparable districts that have better academic outcomes than Timberlane.

Cathy Gorman will speak about Full-Time Kindgarten and its costs.

Donna Green, School Board representative from Sandown, will speak about policy changes and practices at the district that are having a negative effect on school board oversight and transparency.

Please come and bring your neighbors for this "unofficial" take on the budget. Questions are welcomed at the meeting, which will be moderated by Gordon Champion.


Donna Green

P.S. Superintendent Metzler, Business Administrator, George Stokinger and School Board rep from Sandown, Kelly Ward have been invited and have not responded.

P.P.S. We regret that this meeting falls at the same time as a student concert at the high school. The availability of budget information and the town hall did not give us many options with the date.

Anonymous said...

I'm very familiar with the Metzeler's, here's my opinion.
At first they handle well, especially when they're new but after some miles, they start to prematurely wear our, particularly under pressure.. And when the road gets a little bumpy, they don't handle it very well and the ride gets rough. They come with a great reputation but they are expensive and don't wear very well

Anonymous said...

What happened to the messages that were placed after 12/1 @ 7:26 pm? The meeting that asks us to be at is off topic but is welcomed. I intend to be there,are you readers? Maybe the person who took them off couldn't take the heat from the content of the messages replaced. Then too, maybe they will suddenly reappear. Well now it is time for me to go to work to pay the price of the true idiots that costs us so much .

Anonymous said...

Maybe they got sick of hearing from people who argue at every turn and call other names when they can't make a sensible posting.

Anonymous said...

The "they" you refer to must be you. You aren't the administrator are you? My guess is that I hit a nerve and "they" didn't like it or the truth I had said. I guess there is no freedom of expression or thought here where it should be. A controlling of the news isn't the truth to the people it serves, just those who lead people around by the nose to further fill their own needs at the peoples expense. Now remove this reply if you dare to and expose yourselves for what you truly are, the " they" who control us taxpayers in town. As its now time to go to work so I can help to pay for the the mistakes of "they" in control I bid you goodbye for now.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, what a Drama Queen- villains around every corner 4 U- please medicate yourself

Anonymous said...

Does he or she think the administrator is the they or them, as he or she calls the they or them, the who who controls the taxpayers in town. - ?

If they or them were the he or she that controls the us of us taxpayers, and he or she is also the they or them or he or she that run the blog, wouldn't they take down the blog?

Just goofing with you..........I bid you farewell.......

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "Just goofing with you" because as I was reading I thought you might be from Medication Lane in need for mentally needed medication. I too bid you farewell.