Atkinson Town Hall

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Welcome Message and Mission Statement

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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Please accept the following Article submission, Sincerely Mark R. Acciard


"Public officials must act with a higher standard for avoiding the appearance of impropriety, as a condition of the public trust bestowed upon them"- Mark Acciard, May 5, 2005.

Mr. Metzler has been the main cheerleader for a new reading program to help kids improve their reading comprehension with informational texts. This program is proffered by a company called Achieve 3000. A Company Mr. Metzler's wife just happens to work for. She is in charge of "program implementation"for the Northeast region for Achieve 3000, and has been working with them for over a year. Coincidently, the very same year that her husband has been pushing the district to spend $167,000 on this very program. Monies that were not appropriated for this purpose we might add. Also, this $167,000 represents a 50% discount of the total cost of the program for it's first two  years.

It appears that Ms. Metzler began working for Achieve 3000 in or around Sept. 2015. Strictly coincidently we are certain, Mr. Metzler began pushing their reading program in Sept. of 2015. It was first mentioned at the meeting of the curriculum and assessment committee on Sept. 22. Subsequent minutes revealed that this was recommended by Mr. Metzler. The curriculum and assessment committee decided to adopt a pilot program to assess the students, and to begin training teachers to use it. Mind you, no presentation to the school board. No decision to buy the program. No appropriation of funds for it. And perhaps even more outrageous in the underhanded means in which this program was foisted upon the taxpayers, This was happening during the budget season, and no mention of this program was made to the budget committee, nor was a request for appropriation made to purchase or implement this program made. It should be noted that the "pilot program" is actually the initial implementation of Achieve 3000. It gathers the student assessment and base level data, trains teachers to use it, establishes the website, and assigned reading for each lexile level. The only thing missing IS BUYING THE PROGRAM THE DISTRICT IS ALREADY IMPLEMENTING!

At the curriculum and assessment committee meeting on February 16, 2016, it was reported that the assessment of students had been completed, teachers trained, and the program proceeding. STILL no mention to the school board, no vote to purchase the program, no vote to implement the program, no monies appropriated for it, and no disclosure of Ms. Metzler's role in the company.

At the curriculum and assessment committee meeting Sept. 6, 2016 the ball really began rolling, They reviewed progress to date, and Mr. Bealo(also chair of the school board, although he had yet to mention this program to them) made the motion to vote to present this program to the school  board, at their Sept. 15, 2016 meeting. It was also revealed that Achieve 3000 had provided to the district a phonics program, SmartyAntz, as an additional incentive for "agreeing to purchase" the reading program. NOTE, as of  this time there had been NO presentation to the school board. NO vote to buy the program. NO appropriation of monies to buy the program. and NO disclosure of Ms. Metzler's unique role in this debacle. Tell us, Mr. Bealo, who "AGREED" to purchase Achieve 3000 at that point? You?

The Sept. 15, 2016 school  board meeting showed a high pressure sales presentation that was not presented as a sales pitch but as a fait accompli. It was presented WITH MR. METZLER'S ACTIVE HELP AND COERCION, as if the decision to purchase had already been made. The usual board bobble heads made the usual bleats about the wonder of this incredible program, the usual representatives of the taxpayers raised the usual questions about the process, only to be shot down, as usual, by the entrenched purveyors of the status quo.

Now, the PROPER course of action, would have been for Metzler to plainly, and publicly state; "In full disclosure, my wife is employed by this vendor, Achieve 3000, and therefore I will be recusing myself and not participating in the discussion of this program" But that would have required a sense of honor and integrity evidently missing from the gentleman in question.

And, as usual, the school  board, Mr. Metzler, and the SAU also ignored their own policies, to advance their own personal agendas. The school board has a policy governing curriculae adoption, the salient portion of which reads as follows;

"The School Board will support efforts to investigate new curricular ideas, develop and improve programs, and evaluate results through appropriation of funds for specific curriculum development proposals approved by the School Board. The Superintendent will make recommendations to the Board regarding the specific level of funding for approved proposals.
The School Board will review all curricula developed and written by the professional staff in the schools. No basic course of study shall be eliminated or new courses added without approval of the Board, nor shall any significant alteration or reduction of a course of study be made without Board approval. No action will be taken on proposed changes by the Board until the meeting following the presentation by the administration so that Board members may have the opportunity to review the proposed program."  Note the emboldened passage.

Further Mr. Metzler never disclosed his family's relationship this vendor. Now OF COURSE, the SAU lacks an ethics, or conflict of interest policy like most government bodies have, which allows corrupt administrators to act with appalling abandon to theirs and their families interestss. It is high time to correct this problem.

Justice Louis Brandeis was correct; Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It is high time for the district, INCLUDING THE SAU, to have a stringent conflicts of interest ordinance. It is high time for the secrecy, and refusal to produce public information to stop. It is time for Mr. Metzler to understand that his  bosses are the school  board and their bosses are the taxpayers.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mr. Groski, my the hypocrisy is strong with this one.

For those who did not know, Selectman Groski is running for County attorney. Given this office's history of ethically challenged opportunists, who do not give two shits about justice, He should fit in splendidly.

However, Mr. Groski penned a LTTE to the Carriage Towne News this week criticizing his opponent Pat Conway. He did so NOT by criticizing her actions, performance of duties, or any other such honorable method of discourse, NO, he chose to criticize her for the actions of her deputy. THEN, he devoted an inordinate amount of space to the derision of Laurie list cops, evidently the husband of Ms. Conway is on this list, but that did not stop him from using this to smear Ms. Conway. What this has to do with her job performance no one knows other than the mudslinger himself.

It falls to this blog to remind Mr. Groski of a few points, YOU EMPLOY A LAURIE LIST COP YOURSELF! Detective Nick Fiset. Nicky baby is apparently so dishonest that the County Prosecutor Jill Cook, did not even attempt to call him as a witness to a case in which he is the chief investigating officer. Have you ever heard of a criminal case in which the investigating officer does not testify as to his methods and findings?  What makes this worse is that it is believed that this officer fabricated a case against a resident, and has dragged it out for 20 months without trial. Mr. Groski, this is under YOUR alleged leadership.

You further decry the settlement expenses involved in civil litigation against the County Attorney's office, $80,000, Right Jason? But you are a staunch defender of your fellow Selectmen Phil Consentino, who just, what, two to three years ago cost this town and it's insurers $100,000 pursuant to a sexual harassment complaint? And this was just the latest expense in his storied career of bullying, harassing, and oppression, and the resulting litigation. His career has cost this town and it's insurers hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not over a million. No comment about that, right Jason?

You criticize Pat Conway, because the Judge had harsh words for HER DEPUTY. Words like; " “single-minded, zealous advocacy (that) clouded her higher duty to honor the defendant’s constitutional rights.”" But, Jason, Buddy, you defend Phil, about whom the following comments were made; "cease and desist" "bullying, harassing and intimidating his employees" by the NHPELRB. or "It is difficult for the Court to believe Mr. Consentino did not understand the terms of it's May 10, 2005 Order. Mr. Consentino testified that his attorney explained the Order to him" Rockingham Superior Court Judge McHugh, in his Contempt Order. From the same Order; "From the Defendant's demeanor, it is clear that he believes that because he was elected selectman he can do or say anything" "Apparently he concludes this entitles him to consider Atkinson "his town"". Because the Court finds that Philip Consentino has wilfully violated its order the Court grants the Plaintiffs motion for Contempt." THIS is what you defend.

Tell me Jason, you had no problem with the conflict of interest inherent in your wife's hiring as a consultant to TRSD. You have actively participated in town business meetings that violated RSA 91A. When this was pointed out, you defended the boards actions, obfuscating the issue, and refusing to address the simple legal requirements of going into a non public meeting. Hardly honorable.
You even attempted to use your standing as an attorney to give undue weight to yours and the boards wrongheaded theory that they enjoyed some authority over the Conflict of interest committee. Try reading the law, Jason, before you attempt to twist it.

Remembering these perfidities, and balancing them against your sanctimonious LTTE, reminds me of the parable about those who live in glass houses, throwing stones.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Nun accused in hit and run hopes to move on


PLAISTOW — Sister Rachel Dumont is trying to put the stress of the last several months behind her.

The 84-year-old Atkinson nun, who has been at the center of a criminal hit-and-run case, is hoping to move forward and continue her volunteer work.

“I want peace of mind,” she said Thursday.

Dumont, who’s been a nun for the last 65 years, was charged with conduct after an accident in February after Plaistow police investigated a report of hit-and-run accident outside the Kohl’s department store last Dec. 16.

She pleaded no contest to the violation-level offense last month, meaning she neither admitted nor denied guilt. A judge then found her guilty and fined her $250, which was suspended.

Despite the finding, Dumont maintains her innocence.

“I was not involved in that. I didn’t hit anybody,” said Dumont, who taught in Catholic schools in New Hampshire and several other states for more than 50 years.

Police have said their investigation showed Dumont backed her car out in the parking lot and hit another vehicle that was parked. Dumont was then accused of leaving the scene before she and the driver of the other vehicle could exchange information.

Dumont insists she wasn’t parked in the area where the accident happened and had no damage to her car to suggest it was involved.

Her defense lawyer, Skip Campbell, said he believes the case would have resulted in a not-guilty verdict had it gone to trial.

The misdemeanor conduct after an accident charge was reduced to a violation. Pleading no contest and avoiding a trial was a move to get the case out of the court system, according to Campbell.

Dumont and Campbell also claimed that she was treated unfairly by Plaistow police with some of the questioning, and was viewed as uncooperative when she was interviewed at the police station.

Dumont said she has faced harassment from police and the public, especially after her arrest was publicized in February.

“Being a nun and believing that God allows all things to happen, I figured there was a good reason for it. I never knew the reason, but I accepted it. Emotionally I was upset, but spiritually I was all right. I just want to put it behind me,” she said.

Police Chief Kathleen Jones insists that police didn’t mistreat Dumont and that she wasn’t harassed.

“I stand by the actions of my officer. There was no inappropriate behavior or conduct. We felt Sister Rachel was treated appropriately during the investigation and subsequent arrest,” Jones said.

She said she understands that it was a difficult situation. However, she said, “we did have a victim in this matter. We needed to conduct a thorough investigation.”

Dumont’s good friend, Pauline Labbe, said she believes the sister wasn’t responsible for the accident.

“It’s been a nightmare. I’ve been trying so hard to clear her name,” she said.

Dumont is now trying to keep focused on helping others. She said she takes those in need of help to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store and on other errands. She said she’s helped the sick, volunteered at the Pregnancy Care Center in Haverhill, Mass., walked for several different causes over the years and been involved in other charity work.

“I do it out of the love of my heart,” she said.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Timberlane pays $95k to settle 1st amendment suit

By Breanna Edelstein

PLAISTOW — A $95,000 settlement has been reached between Timberlane Superintendent Earl Metzler, the school district and Carolyn Morse, a Timberlane Regional High School Spanish teacher, following a lawsuit that cited First Amendment rights violations.

It was a year ago when Morse filed a complaint, saying the district wrongfully punished her for a comment she posted on Facebook.

The comment referred to foreign language consultant Elizabeth Metzler, the superintendent's wife, when high school teachers were asked to tutor a kindergarten teacher in Spanish.

"Shouldn't this be the job of the consultant and not paying us additional money that comes from the (school administrative unit)," she wrote on Facebook.

The complaint said Metzler reacted by starting an investigation, threatening Morse with dismissal via the School Board, and coaxing her into waiving her rights to a School Board hearing.

She was also stripped of her position as the coordinator for the world languages department, which came with a $3,500 stipend.

According to the school district's ethics policy, "all employees of the district are expected to maintain high standards in their conduct both on and off duty."

When asked about the situation a year ago, the superintendent said all employees are expected to follow the rules, and anyone using social media inappropriately would be held accountable.

But Morse's lawyer, Jon Meyers of Backus, Meyer & Branch, said at the time that the discipline went too far, and the district's policy cannot supersede the First Amendment.
Terms of a settlement agreement, sent to Metzler on April 28 from Primex, an insurance company, explained the details of Morse's impending compensation.

For compensatory damages, lost wages and medical expense reimbursement, Morse will receive $36,000 — $30,000, $4,500 and $1,500 respectively.

Morse's attorneys will be compensated $59,000.

A statement released with the settlement said "the Timberlane Regional School District honors the rights of its employees guaranteed by the Constitution to express themselves in their private lives on matters of public concern except in instances where that speech is unprotected."

The discipline imposed on Morse was rescinded.

"To the extent that discipline was perceived as an infringement of her rights, it was not intended as such but rather was intended to protect the privacy rights of District employees," the statement said.

Metzler and Morse both declined comment Wednesday.

Marijuana charges against Atkinson man set aside

By Kiera Blessing

BRENTWOOD — An Atkinson man accused of growing more than 7 pounds of marijuana in his home will not be convicted of the crime.

Robert Zdrada, and the state settled on a diversion agreement in Rockingham Superior Court Tuesday, in which Zdrada will not be convicted of any felony charge in exchange for completing 100 hours of community service. His criminal record will remain clean.

"It certainly is a relief because this has been very stressful," Zdrada told The Eagle-Tribune following the hearing. "I've probably lost another 10, 12 pounds because of it and it will take me over a year to try to get that back."

Zdrada and his wife Valerie were arrested Oct. 19 and charged with one count each of cultivating marijuana and possession with intent to distribute. All charges against Valerie and the distribution charge against Robert were later dropped after their lawyer, Alan Cronheim, showed the court that Zdrada suffers from cancer and was growing the drug for medicinal purposes.

"We're happy that it's done," Zdrada said. "I'm most happy that Val is out of the picture on this — she never had anything to do with the drugs."

Though medical marijuana was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013, the first dispensary in the state did not open until last month. The state only began distributing medical identification cards late last year; Zdrada received his in January.

While free on personal recognizance bail, Judge Sharon DeVries of Plaistow ruled that Zdrada was permitted to use medical marijuana with his identification card as long as it was a part of his treatment plan discussed with a doctor.

Tuesday, Zdrada appeared with Cronheim in superior court for a plea and sentencing hearing. In exchange for making the diversion agreement with the state, Zdrada waived his right to trial. If he were to default on the terms of the deal, he would be sentenced to 12 months in jail suspended for one year.

Zdrada will also have to pay a $50 per month fee for one year while he completes the community service requirement.

It's early in his treatment plan, but Zdrada said the medical cannabis has been helpful. He told Judge David Anderson that he "deal(s) with a lot of pain" and "every day is a struggle."

"Right now, it's try," he said of using medical marijuana.

"It has been heart breaking watching my husband suffer with cancer issues during this most difficult time," Valerie Zdrada said in an email Tuesday. "I would like to thank all of the compassionate people in the community who have reached out and supported him."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Congratulations SRHS class of 2016!!!

May you enjoy a lifetime of benefits from attaining this goal.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hearing to remove Salem Selectman canceled

By Kiera Blessing - Eagle Tribune

BRENTWOOD — A hearing scheduled to decide the fate of Salem Selectman Stephen Campbell was canceled Wednesday after a series of closed-door conversations.

Campbell left Rockingham Superior Court with his lawyer, who declined to comment on why the hearing did not occur.

On March 29, Salem selectmen voted 4-1 to ask the court to remove Campbell from the board. 

Earlier that month, Robert Morin, a police captain and head of the Salem Public Administrators Association, accused Campbell of violating state public record laws by bringing information about the internal investigation of a former police employee to The Eagle-Tribune in 2014.

Though he was not named in Morin’s complaint, former Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten is at the center of the dispute.

 A former Police Department employee, Steve Malisos, sent a letter to the town manager in October 2014, accusing Patten of falsifying records and theft, according to selectmen’s complaint against Campbell. Patten was eventually cleared through an internal investigation and by the attorney general’s office.

The official complaint filed against Campbell also mentioned an incident from February 2015, when Campbell posted comments about Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan’s suspension on his Facebook page. 

The suspension had previously been kept from the public as a private personnel matter. The board voted to “condemn” Campbell’s actions in 2015 but did not take the matter to court.

Campbell did not deny either accusation but denied any wrongdoing. He said that he received information about a town employee through a right-to-know law request years ago and believed this information fell under the same rules for public access, rendering it not confidential.

Town Manager Leon Goodwin and Board of Selectmen Chairman James Keller said they could not comment on why the hearing did not take place, or whether this marked the end of the effort to remove Campbell from office.

“We were prepared up until the last minute to have a hearing,” Goodwin said.

He declined to comment on which side of the legal battle approached the other prior to the hearing.

Keller said Campbell is still a selectman.

Campbell did not return requests for comment.

Morin, the police captain who made the initial complaint about Campbell to selectmen, said he didn’t know why the hearing was cancelled but that he “would imagine” both sides of the issue are “coming to a resolution.” 

“I think that the law and the violation is clear...and I think the remedy for that is to remove him from office,” Morin said. “Do I think that Stephen Campbell is going to terrorize Salem anymore? Nah, I think he’s done. I think he’s done, and even if he survived this, he’d be done at the polls in March.

“I, as a taxpayer in Salem, am disgusted that he didn’t resign when he had the opportunity to and save us all the aggravation.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Atkinson selectman pleads no contest

By Kiera Blessing

PLAISTOW — Atkinson Selectman Harold Morse pleaded no contest Monday to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from an incident in September that led to his arrest.

Morse received a $300 fine, suspended for six months, on the condition of good behavior during his trial in 10th Circuit Court.

A no contest plea is when a defendant admits no guilt, but chooses not to dispute a criminal charge. 

Morse's attorney, Gerard LaFlamme, asked Judge Sharon DeVries to accept the plea "in the interest of justice in this case."

In "this particular case, I think this is warranted," LaFlamme said, referencing the legal definition of disorderly conduct, which states a person must leave a "public way" if told to do so by a police officer.

Prosecutor Jill Cook agreed not to prosecute Morse on a second charge of resisting arrest, for which he could have faced up to a year in jail. 

"I think this sounds like a resolution that makes sense under the circumstances," DeVries said as she accepted Morse's plea.

Morse and his wife, Christine Lewis Morse, declined to comment on the case. LaFlamme also declined to speak to the media.

On Sept. 16, Morse began directing traffic on Route 121 near the intersection with Route 111 in Hampstead, where a construction project was underway. When an officer directing traffic asked him to stop, Morse refused, ultimately leading to his arrest. 
It became clear during the trial that the construction company working on the road was Lewis Builders, an Atkinson-based company where Morse is the general manager. His wife is president of the company.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Supreme Court orders Timberlane to release documents in electronic form

Sandown school board member wins Right-to-Know case against district
  • By Breanna Edelstein

CONCORD, N.H. — The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ordered Timberlane Regional School District to provide budget documents in an electronic format to school board member Donna Green of Sandown, acknowledging the decision advances the purpose of the state's Right-to-Know law and reversing a lower court's ruling.
Green asked the district for the documents last year. The district said she could make an appointment to see the documents. Green then asked for the documents electronically.
The district said it wasn't obligated to provide them electronically, citing state law and its policy, which states "materials and/or documentation produced to fulfill a Right to Know request shall be subject to a charge of $0.50 per page," and that "only hard copies will be produced; no electronic copies will be provided."
A superior court judge sided with Timberlane last March, but Green appealed, landing the case in the Supreme Court in January.
"I absolutely had to appeal it, because I couldn't let this stand," Green said Tuesday. "If that stood, it would have empowered more public bodies to behave like this."
Supreme Court judge James P. Bassett wrote the opinion reversing the earlier decision. He said there was no evidence that it wasn't "reasonably practicable" to copy the documents to electronic media. He also noted producing electronic documents can be more efficient and cost-effective.
The state's highest court noted that both parties had reasonable interpretations of the state law in question.
"The Supreme Court found our interpretation of 91-A:4 reasonable and also concluded that the statute is indeed ambiguous," Dr. Earl Metzler, the district's superintendent, said in a statement Tuesday. "As such, we have amended our Right To Know procedure to align with this recent interpretation that some requested documents must be made available in electronic format."
According to the ruling, Green argued prior wording of the policy indicated that the authority to produce a hard copy form of an electronically stored document only arises if copying to electronic media is not reasonably practical, or if the person asking for the document requests a different method.
She also contended that in this case, the original records reside on a computer in the SAU building and the district should have provided the documents in that format.
On the other hand, the district argued that because the paper documents were made available for inspection and copying, their statutory obligations were fulfilled. According to them, the wording of "may" instead of "shall" in the RSA implies a choice.
Because of a lack of legislative history to aid the ruling, the final decision was based on the purpose of the Right-to-Know law, which is designed to make government more transparent to the public, according to the judge.
In his ruling, Bassett said if the Legislature doesn't agree with the court's interpretation of the law, it can amend the law.
Though Green says she's "very happy" with the court's decision, she added that "it was a colossal waste of taxpayer money."
The case will have ramifications statewide.
"For other school districts, and the media in general, this is a big victory for the people of New Hampshire," she said

Friday, April 15, 2016

Salem files official complaint against selectman, seek Campbell's removal

By Kiera Blessing

BRENTWOOD — The Town of Salem officially filed a complaint against selectman Stephen F. Campbell in Rockingham Superior Court this week after voting in March to seek his removal from office.
The complaint, filed Tuesday, seeks that the court remove Campbell from office for allegedly sharing confidential personnel information, which he was privy to as a selectman, with the public on two occasions in 2014 and 2015.
The court documents detail a letter sent to the Board of Selectmen on March 9 of this year by police captain and head of the Salem Public Administrators Association Union, Robert Morin. Morin alleged Campbell had broken state law by sharing information about the internal investigation of a deputy police chief with The Eagle-Tribune in late 2014.
Though not named in Morin's letter or court documents, former Deputy Chief Shawn Patten was at the center of the investigation. A former Police Department employee, Steve Malisos, sent a letter to the town manager in October 2014, accusing Patten of falsifying records and theft. Though Patten was eventually cleared through an internal investigation and by the Attorney General's office, Morin alleges Campbell brought the information about the investigation to the media, violating state public record laws.
The court documents also mention an incident from February 2015, when Campbell posted about Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan's suspension on his Facebook page. The suspension had previously been kept from the public as a private personnel matter.
Campbell has not denied either accusation.
According to court documents, Campbell acknowledged he was "not authorized" to discuss the chief's suspension publicly; in March 2015, the board voted to "condemn" his actions.
Campbell has also admitted to bringing information to the media, but has maintained that he did not break public records laws in doing so.
“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Campbell said during a board meeting March 28. According to court documents, on March 25, Campbell posted on his Facebook page that "The information I shared with the Eagle-Tribune was sent to me and others through the US mail. It was sent to us by a retired Town employee. The information was not from a non-public meeting."
When asked by board Chairman James Keller why he took the information to the media, Campbell answered he "would rather not say."
A hearing is scheduled for May 4

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Salem selectmen ask court to remove Campbell

By Kiera Blessing

SALEM, N.H. — In a 4-1 vote Monday, Salem selectmen decided to petition Rockingham Superior Court to remove Selectman Stephen Campbell from office after finding he broke the law by revealing confidential information to the press in 2014.
Earlier this month, police captain and head of the Salem Public Administrators Association Robert Morin alleged that Campbell had brought information regarding the internal investigation of a former police employee to The Eagle-Tribune in a violation of state public record laws. Though he is not named in Morin’s allegation, former Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten is at the center of the dispute.
“I think it’s a sad day for Salem. I think it’s a sad day for the board. It’s unfortunate that it came to this, but we can’t tolerate laws being broken,” Keller told the Tribune. “I went into it (the investigation) objectively, and the facts are the facts.”
Campbell admitted bringing information to the Tribune, but denied any wrongdoing during the meeting and declined to comment after the meeting was adjourned. He said that he received information about a town employee through a Right to Know request years ago, and believed this information fell under the same qualifications for public access, rendering it not confidential.
Keller described the findings of his own internal investigation, conducted in coordination with the town attorney, to the board before presenting the selectman with three options: to find Campbell innocent of wrongdoing, to move to censure him, or to petition the court to have Campbell removed from office.
Selectman Michael Lyons made a motion to petition the court to remove Campbell from office. Fellow board member Lisa Withrow seconded the motion.
“I think the town is in danger of injury again and I’ve had enough, and the four of us need to separate ourselves from Selectman Campbell,” Lyons said. “The four of us have an obligation to separate the town from Selectman Campbell and we need to do so now.”
Everett McBride struggled with the decision for a moment, but said he did believe Campbell broke the law. The board voted for Campbell’s removal, 4-1, with Campbell as the lone dissenter.
Applause briefly broke out from the crowded room full of police personnel, but Keller quickly called the room to order, saying “There’s no glory in this for anyone.”
“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Campbell said. “There are other matters that the town manager is aware of that should be taken care of, because there’s a lot going on underneath the surface here. So you can pretend that this is just me, but there are things happening here, happening to me, happening to other people that just aren’t right. ... I hope those complaints are taken as seriously as these are.”
A petition requesting Campbell’s removal from office will be sent to Rockingham Superior Court. Until a decision is rendered, Campbell will continue to serve on the board in his full capacity.
Morin said he was pleased with the outcome.
“Clearly, Chairman Keller certainly took it serious and I thought did an outstanding investigation,” Morin said. “I think Selectman Keller said it best: this isn’t good for anybody. It’s an embarrassment to the town but it needed to be dealt with and obviously I’m pleased with how they chose to handle it.”
Morin added that he hopes Campbell will resign.
“There’s going to be a lawsuit — there’s no ifs, ands, buts or maybes about it,” he said. “The town is in great danger and has a lot of liability on it because of his actions.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Baldwin, Friel re-elected in Atkinson

ATKINSON — Incumbents William Baldwin and William Friel will return to the Board of Selectmen.

They were re-elected to the board Tuesday as residents turned out at the Atkinson Community Center to choose town and school officials. They also voted on numerous warrant articles. 

Baldwin, the board's chairman, received 690 votes while Friel picked up 608 votes to win the three-year seats. They beat out Craig Schuster, who received 416 votes.

The town saw an 18.7 percent voter turnout.

In the only other contested town race, Kathleen Friel defeated Dennis Winsett, 512-420, in the race for a three-year cemetery trustee slot.

While campaigning next to Friel outside the community center, Schuster expressed doubt he would win because of a sluggish voter turnout.  

Friel also wasn't ready to declare victory because of the low turnout, saying a lack of big-ticket questions on the ballot and the recent presidential primary likely discouraged many from voting.

Anything could happen when turnout is low, they said. 

"It's voter fatigue," Friel said.

Town Moderator James Garrity, who ran uncontested, said turnout was slow from the time the polls opened at 7 a.m. until at least 5 p.m. — just as a surge of voters arrived to vote.

"There's not a lot of contested stuff," Garrity said.

When asked if there was a particular candidate or issue they came to support at the polls, several voters said there was not.

The residents said they were just fulfilling their civic duty by voting.

Among the top issues on the ballot was an article seeking $10,000 for cemetery improvements, which failed, 550-470. But an article to contribute $35,000 to a cemetery capital reserve fund was approved, 665-354.

Voters also allocated $340,314 for roadwork, 784-234. But they rejected a $79,043 lease purchase agreement for a highway department truck, 600-416.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Candidate's Night Drama- Heard around the Town Hall

You gotta love Candidate's Night. While it is the time for some candidates to shine, it is always the time for the elitist bullies in Town alleged leadership, to demonstrate their uncanny ability to make asses of themselves. And as we have seen over the last decade, rarely does anyone do a more thorough job of making a bloviating donkey's posterior of themselves than Jack Sapia. He has an almost divine gift of speaking without knowledge upon almost any topic, and being ignorant enough to continue his thought devoid diatribe even when the facts(inconvenient to his claims) are beating him about the head like the bully he tries to be.

This year's Candidate's night proved no different. Enter the usual victim of Jack's ire, Mr. Artus, who began his remarks about the deficiencies of the School Board and it's budget committee, only to have Jack direct Noriko to end his speaking time. God forbid a little thing like FREEDOM OF SPEECH, be allowed to override Jack's neo fascistic restrictions thereof.

Mr. Artus started out giving his background, then eased into the school district's budgetary increases and cost per pupil expenditures versus the District's declining enrollment over the last 7 years. As he is presenting the actual hard data, complete with accurate numbers, No more than a few minutes into his presentation Jack signaled to Noriko that is was time to cut him off. Noriko did so, and Mr. Garrity, the alleged moderator, stated that he is merely acting as Moderator, but the night is hosted by the Women's Civic Club, and Noriko is in charge.

After cutting off Mr. Artus The Moderator turned the floor over to questions, Mr. Artus fielded questions from the audience, about the numbers, and data, Then Jack asked a question of Mr. Artus, demanding to know who told him that the District will seek another bond for a new School. Perhaps Jack has forgotten Dr. LaSalles presentation to the School Board his last year as Superintendent, about Bonding $88,000,000 in two bonds three years apart to build a new High School, and a new Middle school, Their reason for this necessity being, The schools "do not conform to (the Districts) current educational philosophy" It was pointed out at that meeting by Mr. Acciard that with the almost decade left to run on the PAC center bond this would add $8,000,000 per year in debt service to the budget. As usual Jack is long on bullying and short on facts.

Then Jack asked what do the Candidates consider an "adequate education"? As we see from TRSD's "Report Card" the longer a child goes to TRSD the lower the proficiency in reading and Mathematics. Only 50% of 11graders are proficient or better in reading, and only 29% in Mathematics. Is THIS what you consider to be an "adequate education", Jack?

Here is where the story becomes interesting; AFTER the cameras were left behind the two Budget candidates, Mr. Artus, and Ms. Hammond went into the lobby to talk privately. Jack followed, hovering near the meeting room, but trying to overhear the conversation. Since he could not hear what was being said he resorted to shouting at Mr. Artus and Mrs. Hammond to be quiet as people were trying to hear what the candidates were saying, M. Artus politely told him that if he went into the meeting and shut the door there would be no problem. Jack kept shouting, He was all we could hear, as he bullied Mr. Artus and Mrs. Hammond, Then another resident went into the lobby to speak to Mr. Artus. Jack barged into their conversation, when the gentleman raised issues about the school boards conduct, Jack in a loud and beligerent manner told the man he was a school board member and that the gentleman must have gotten his info form Mr. Artus because it was all lies. Jack continued his loud bullying of the people in the lobby leading to Town Administrator Alan Phair coming out 5 times to tell him to be quiet. Jack ignored him. Mr. Artus suggested that if Jack would not maintain decorum the TA should call the police to remove him, Jack's response was a loud snort, followed by "Yeah, like that is going to happen". It must be nice to be above the law like dictator Sapia believes himself to be.

Question to the voters, why do you continue to allow buffoons like this to run the town? Jack evidently cares nothing for truth, or honor, or the best interests of the town, only those of himself, and his buddies. He has been caught lying on camera in the past, just watch the video of the home page. His wanton disregard for the rights of the taxpayers must not be allowed to continue.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Marijuana charges dropped against couple

PLAISTOW — The state has dropped all but one charge against an Atkinson couple accused of growing marijuana in their home. On Monday, all charges against Valerie Zdrada, 60, were dropped, while her husband, Robert Zdrada, 65, still faces one felony charge of cultivating marijuana. Both were initially charged with one count of cultivation of marijuana and one count of possession of the drug with the intent to distribute. Judge Sharon DeVries accepted the state's withdrawal of three of the four charges in 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow Monday morning. The Zdradas' defense attorney, Alan Cronheim, said he was pleased with the development. "I appreciate that the state took the time to resolve it. I think it's very appropriate that the possession with intent to distribute charges were (dropped)," Cronheim said. "Lastly, we appreciate that the state has reviewed the medical information we've provided and we're going to continue conversations about how the remaining charge is resolved." Cronheim argued at the couple's arraignment in December that they grew the marijuana not to sell, but to treat Robert Zdrada, who suffers from cancer. Zdrada obtained a medical marijuana card in late January. New Hampshire began accepting applications for medical marijuana identification cards in early November, just three weeks after the couple's arrest. Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana into law in 2013. Cronheim had referenced a Superior Court case from November, in which a judge ruled that the state needed to issue a medical marijuana card to an Alstead woman named Linda Horan, who then used it to buy the drug in Maine. Cronheim likened the case to his clients' situation, arguing that Robert Zdrada would have had legal access to marijuana had New Hampshire not delayed the issuance of cards. At the time of the Zdradas' arrest Oct. 19, police said they seized more than seven pounds of marijuana, along with plant stems, seeds and specialized heating lamps, from the Zdradas' Crown Hill Road home. The case will move to Rockingham Superior Court to be presented to a grand jury if it is not resolved during negotiations between the defendants and the state beforehand.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Selectmen Corruption, lying and illegality continues.

First let me open by saying that Our selectmen exhibit less than a passing regard for adherance to law. This has been the case for the decade plus that Phil has exerted control over this board, and therefore is no surprise. In my opinion they are liars as well, Oh not  the "Honey that dress looks great on you" type of liars, more along the Hillary Clinton; "It was caused by a spontaneous protest over a video that got out of hand" type of lie.The surprise, and frankly it is somewhat disgusting to watch is the blatant dishonesty and willful corruption of Mr. Grosky, himself a Lawyer, and Prosecutor. Given his training and education, as well as the professional canon of ethics Lawyers are supposed to subscribe to, he has the knowledge that precludes any claims of ignorance, lack of understanding, or the ever proclaimed necessity for "legal opinion". Which brings us to last night's litany of corruption.

We begin by noting that the Selectmen posted a Non Public meeting under RSA 91-A:3,II,e. "legal" to precede the public meeting.

When this meeting began Town Counsel, Sumner Kalman showed up for the meeting. The selectmen REFUSED to obey the stated law by opening the public meeting and voting to go into Non public, even though specifically asked if they were going to do this by Mr. Artus. Mr. Baldwin stated that they were just meeting with their attorney. Sorry, Billy, as you SHOULD know, whenever you have a quorum of the board, you have a meeting. As you SHOULD know, even if the meeting occurs in Sumners office, it must be posted and minutes kept. AND according to RSA 91-A:3, you MUST open the public meeting and make an on the record vote to go into Non public for the exemption that applies. You failed to obey this particular law. I wonder why?

Now,  RSA91-A:3, II,e. states as follows;

" (e) Consideration or negotiation of pending claims or litigation which has been threatened in writing or filed by or against the public body or any subdivision thereof, or by or against any member thereof because of his or her membership in such public body, until the claim or litigation has been fully adjudicated or otherwise settled. Any application filed for tax abatement, pursuant to law, with any body or board shall not constitute a threatened or filed litigation against any public body for the purposes of this subparagraph."

As there are no active lawsuits, of which we are aware, nor any "threatened in writing" We wonder how this was a LEGAL non public meeting? BTW, just for the record, when they emerged from this quasi non public, they never closed the non public before opening the public meeting.

As Mr. Grosky authored a letter to the Conflict of Interest committee, advising them(BTW WHEN did the selectmen authorize Mr. Grosky to  write that letter?, It seems no meeting held nor vote taken to do so, Well chalk that up under the illegality column) That the ONLY allowable reason to go into Non public for legal was to discuss an ACTIVE lawsuit or one threatened in writing, Both Mr. Groski and the Board upon which he sits clearly knows, the purpose and limitation of this law, but CHOOSE to ignore it for themselves.

And before they parade their usual lies about this meeting it should be pointed out that the Conflict of Interest committee while they have discussed among themselves the idea of a Court filing to force the selectmen to  obey the law, They have NOT put this into writing to  the Selectmen. The other oft mentioned legal matter is the Selectmens wish to Forego the fines won in Court against the Osbornes, but yet to be paid. So much for their Fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers. However this, too does not  qualify under RSA91-A:3,II,e. as the matter had been fully adjudicated(Presumably Mr. Groski, in his profession DOES KNOW what that word means). These matters would be the subject of a PUBLIC meeting, not a non public, but what is the law to our dictators?

Later in the meeting our erstwhile governing body whipped out new shiny RSA books to read RSA31;39a, the enabling statute that allowed the town to establish the Conflict of interest committee. These men were intellectually challenged to understand the simple meaning of the Statute, even the Attorney Mr. Groski, Pull up a chair Jason your education is about to begin;

" 31:39-a Conflict of Interest Ordinances. – The legislative body of a town or city may adopt an ordinance defining and regulating conflicts of interest for local officers and employees, whether elected or appointed. Any such ordinance may include provisions requiring disclosure of financial interests for specified officers and employees, establishing incompatibility of office requirements stricter than those specified by state law or establishing conditions under which prohibited conflicts of interest shall require removal from office. Any such ordinance shall include provisions to exempt affected officers and employees who are in office or employed at the time the ordinance is adopted for a period not to exceed one year from the date of adoption. The superior court shall have jurisdiction over any removal proceedings instituted under an ordinance adopted under this section."

Readers please note the simple text of the above Statute which confused out Attorney/Prosecutor/Selectman. Lets take this point by point for Mr. Groski. who proclaimed it confusing and ambiguous due to the profusion of the word "MAY";

"The legislative body of a town or city may adopt an ordinance defining and regulating conflicts of interest for local officers and employees, whether elected or appointed." This simply means the State authorizes the legislative body of  the Town(Jason, that means the VOTERS) to esablish a Conflict of Interest ordinance if they so desire. In Atkinson We did.

"Any such ordinance may include provisions requiring disclosure of financial interests for specified officers and employees, establishing incompatibility of office requirements stricter than those specified by state law or establishing conditions under which prohibited conflicts of interest shall require removal from office." This simply means that the Ordinance once established may set out requirements for disclosure, prohibited conducts, and punishments that exceed those enumerated by State law. Are you following this, Jason?

"Any such ordinance shall include provisions to exempt affected officers and employees who are in office or employed at the time the ordinance is adopted for a period not to exceed one year from the date of adoption" This is the typical phase in clause.


" The superior court shall have jurisdiction over any removal proceedings instituted under an ordinance adopted under this section."  This means that when removal is the recommendation, PARTICULARLY of a selectman, the fellow selectmen may not decide upon their  own what punishment will be, That, too  would be a conflict. They SHALL, note that word, Jason, which in legalese allows no wiggle room, they SHALL pass it on to the Superior Court which has sole jurisdiction over removal proceedings.

So ends our lesson, As we said they read this statute on camera. proclaiming it confusing, ambiguous, and requiring of legal opinion. A Little late, Jason you claimed you had already gotten legal opinion and spent $2,285 for ELEVEN HOURS of it,back in March on this  very topic. And the taxpayers wonder why Atkinson spends so much on legal fees.

By the way, just to reveal another lie, a couple of months ago, Mr. Groski stated on camera that the voters defeated a $5,000 legal line for conflict of interest a couple of years ago. This was a lie, what would have been true, would have been to admit that the SELECTMEN wanted a CAPITAL RESERVE FUND established for legal purposes a couple of years ago, and it failed by one vote.

It is an utter travesty that we allow these actions to continue. Mr. Morse seems to be the most honest of this corrupt board, Unfortunately Mr. Friel has done a complete 180 in the last 5 years, and now routinely joins the corrupt triumverate of Consentino, Groski, and Baldwin, in their efforts to do whatever they wish without regard for law. When you consider the background of these men; An attorney and public prosecutor, a Police Lt. former school board chair, and selectman, and a Former long term police chief, selectman, and director of elderly affairs, recently fired for cause, pursuant to a sexual harassment complaint of a female employee young enough to be his daughter, NOT ONE of these men have any excuse for their behavior.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Budget Committee screws the pooch

For those with a military background, You will understand the title. For the rest of you, it means a screw up. Tuesday evening the Budget committee had one of the shortest public hearings on record. in a short 90 minutes they managed to go through the budget and warrant articles. Oh how we long for the days of Jane Cole, Brian Boyle, and Mark Acciard as Budcom chairs, when the law was adhered to, procedure followed, every budget line was read aloud, and everything was open and transparent, but, of course that takes a little longer than 90 minutes.

However, I digress, it was at the end of this 90 minute public hearing that something extraordinary happened. The BudCom that wrote and prepared the budget could not agree to vote for it and pass it onto the legislative body for ratification. When it came time to vote for the budget the vote was split 3-3. A TIE!. This has never before happened. Since the Budcom could not agree to approve the budget they, on camera, motioned and approved a decision to recess and continue the meeting to last night at 7pm, in the hopes that they would be able to get ahold of Harold Morse to break the tie.

Now let the pooch screwing commence. ACTV had a notice posted yesterday announcing that 10 minutes after the cameras were turned off, Tuesday night, the Budcom met again, and voted NOT to continue the meeting until last night. According to informed sources this was done on the august legal advice of Barbara Snicer, whose immense legal talents are not to be questioned. She apparently advised the Budcom that they did not need to vote on the budget to pass it onto the Legislative body.

Unfortunately, Ms. Snicer(where did she obtain her law degree? Cracker Jacks?) is wrong. According to LAW, The Budcom must have a public hearing 25 days prior to Town Meeting. This public hearing was only 11 days prior, First mistake. At the public hearing, the Budcom may choose to continue, or hold a second public hearing to resolve matters, or when the meeting runs past midnight. IF, they declare the date and time of the subsequent meeting during the first public hearing, the requirement to post notice of the meeting for 7 days is waived. IF they DO NOT, decide this during public session at the first meeting, then the second meeting must have notice posted 7 days in advance of the second meeting.

So, here is how we now stand, Having failed to pass a budget the town LEGALLY has no budget for the legislative body to discuss or approve at Town meeting. The second meeting after the cameras were turned off on Tuesday night was likely illegal as it had not been posted, there was no legal reason for a non public, and the meeting had formally been continued to the following night. Ms. Snicer should refrain from giving any more colossally stupid legal advice. AND last but certainly not least in order for this to be rectified LEGALLY, another meeting would have to be posted. Public hearings require 7 day posting notification, meaning if posted today the meeting could not take place until the 28th, preventing the proper time for posting of the warrant prior to town meeting.

NOW, I should also point out that this is somewhat academic as the NH Dept. of Revenue Administration is utterly useless at enforcing their own laws, and likely would not prevent the town's budget from being presented over these violations of law. Remember in TODAY'S political climate the law ONLY matters when your opponents violate it. Those familiar with Atkinson's political elite, have observed this maxim first hand.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

TRSD has a VERY bad day at Court

For those with inquiring minds, Donna Green's Right to Know case against TRSD went to Court yesterday. Mr. Metzler was not a happy camper. The District's cast of high priced attorneys also put on a less then stellar performance.

The Court rightly understood immediately that the District is applying a unique standard to Ms. green's requests. The Court also was not happy that the District would violate state law when asked for info from a member of the governing body. At one point, the Court asked if Mr. Metzler had to put in a formal request and pay for copies.

The District's attorneys studiously avoided directly answering the Courts repeated questions about where these records are kept at the moment, not wanting to admit that they are on the computer, thereby destroying their argument that they can not provide them in electronic form.

When asked why they print everything out and demand payment for each page, the Attorney responded; it is the District's policy, to which the Court responded, you have a policy that violates State Law?

Mr. Metzler left the hearing early, probably to pop Gaviscon like it was candy. His cocky policy left in tatters on the Court floor.