Atkinson Town Hall

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.

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.