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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, 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


Anonymous said...

More waste of taxpayers money by Green with another bogus lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the fact that she won, indicated Metzler cost the taxpayers a lot of money and the lawsuit was not bogus. What is bogus is the distain that you show for a person who is doing their elected duty and has been vindicated by the Supreme Court of NH. She works for Sandown for FREE.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and should never be treated this way by those like you. Bitter and angry.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:43 You are wrong as usual, this nut asked for and received the documents she requested in paper format then changed her mind and asked for the very same documents in Electronic format even though she already had them , and the rest is history she filed a this what you want someone searching for loopholes so she can punish the very school board she works on and attacks?
trying to always continue her vendetta against Metzler? this is a game between Green and Metzler and we are the pawns stuck in between.

She wasted taxpayers money although I agree with getting them in electronic format is good running the people ragged at the SAU with countless fruitless RTK and in this example the same request for the same thing.

and if you think this is BS look up the case.

Anonymous said...

What part do you not understand. We the people should never have to pay a dime for documents of this nature. The old policy was yet another roadblock in transparency.Electronic transfers cost nothing.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:21 nit-wit what part did you not understand :

"although I agree with getting them in electronic format is good"

Never said is was a bad idea but the entire process of two people using taxpayers money to battle it out is not a good idea and by my account Green went looking for something on Metzler (which she does daily) and she found it, and we all paid the price.

This should have been taken to her state rep and perhaps get the law changed, made no sense to bring it to court since since she already had the documents or seen them (she acknowledge this) when she filed the lawsuit, this was nothing more then a way to stick it in Metzlers face.

Anonymous said...

To 4:28 - She won the right to get them in electronic form and that is a win for all taxpayers. She asked originally for paper then she changed her request. That was agreed to by both parties in the suit. For the SAU to allow this to go to court was not necessary at all. SHE used her own money for this. METLER used taxpayer funded lawyers and he lost. Now WE have to pay legal fees for both parties.

No need to change the law, it's clear to me that this was another road block created by her "colleagues".

BTW, you must be an SB member by your comments.

Stinking Politics said...

Earl of Metzler = Loser In RTK

Timberlane Regional School District Member, Donna Green, represented by the Douglass Law Firm, has prevailed in an appeal of a Superior Court case involving the Right to Know Law, RSA 91-A. This was a case that never should Have gone to Superior Court let alone be appealed.

But this is New Hampshire and our court system is broken.

Donna Green - remember, she is on the Timberlane School Board, has a web site that publishes information about Timberlane Regional. And along with data, events, and information, she reports on its incompetent and combative superintendent, Earl Metzler.

Mr. Metzler is, for the most part, a sports enthusiast and takes every opportunity to make an “I’m smarter than you” challenge out of the most mundane chores involved in running a school. He has a very high opinion of himself – except when the little boy in him runs to the police every time he feels his bully tactics are not working on subordinates or opponents. I know this because he tried that technique on me as well as WLMW 90.7 FM talk show host, Rich Girard. We can be very aggravating to a person with the limitations of Earl Metzler. But we never sent him threats in the mail, as he suggested to Plaistow Police a while back.

This Supreme Court win by Donna Green comes in several parts.

The first part is the standard conflict generated by Earl Metzler and anyone he perceives stands in his way. He was not about to give Donna Green anything she wanted easily.

The second part is Metzler’s desire for secrecy. He has some questionable hiring of relatives and trouble answering questions about budgets etc. in his time at Timberlane.

Metzler would love to be the guy who’s case set the court precedent for all municipalities and schools that budgets in electronic form are exempt from RSA 91-A – even though a committee was set up several years ago by the Legislature to settle that question and make hem easily accessible.

Next we have a Superior Court Judge, appointed by Governor Hassan just a few years ago, who could not look at this issue without finding for Metzler and the school. I should say EVERY school that wants to keep million dollar budgets from inquiring taxpayer eyes on the internet. This Judge could not wrap his mind around the simple intent of The Right to Know Law - and then I saw it. He graduated from Yale. That explains everything about making the simple complicated and anti-taxpayer.

Then it is off to the NH State Supreme Court where Metzler and his anti-public information agenda never thought they would have to go. They figured a loss at Superior would be a win and that would be that.


Donna Green and her amazing husband are made of a rare commodity combo, strength, determination and smarts.

Now the Court should take a long hard look at RSA 91-A and award Donna Green her court costs, as is intended when a fly speck drags a taxpayer into one of these legal nightmares for no other reason than arrogance.

Anonymous said...

@5:08 SHE SUED, the TRSB defended itself.

This entire case should have been brought to the local State REP , the windbags who jump on her side are the same old tired cranks who show up at every town meeting with nothing better to do but waste taxpayers money and complain.

Anonymous said...

The local state rep! Are you kidding me! You want the foxes to string the fences to protect the flock? Let's see how much Timberline waste our money, Oh look you can't see they won't let the true figures on waste and overspending get to the taxpayers eyes. Unless you jump through hoops and courts using your own money to see what should be for FREE! Now thanks to a few smart and tenacious people we get to peek into that little black book, just a peek mind you, they don't want all to be seen. Now it is time to get all the illegal non public meeting these selectmen and school boards use to twist the laws and rules in their favor out in the open. Hopefully this is the tip of the iceberg that will slow or sink the BS that the taxpayers are handed.

Anonymous said...

@5:15 = One of the old tired cranks I am talking about, so pathetic always thinking there is a conspiracy theory out there....what a way to live.

LOL! stop being a chump and enjoy life instead of being angry and on edge waiting for the next meeting.

Anonymous said...

She did sue, Metzler left her no other choice. She was entitled to get this information, not just view it with a babysitter. I'm glad she took this on, but many wouldn't have used their own money to right the wrong. We owe her a debt of gratitude.

Anonymous said...

@8:43 You are oblivious, as by your comment you have not read the court documents, you keep believing anything or anyone against the system because that's how your mind works, paranoia self destroyer.

Anonymous said...

I read them and I watched the video of the Supreme Court hearing hearing. You are a sore loser.

Anonymous said...

Here is a great post from Ms. Ward about your class act Green from last nights TRSB meeting:

"Last night I attended the school board meeting and the award winning Timberlane Model U.N. Team was there to accept their awards and talk a bit about what the team does.

Mrs. Green asked the team president Cailee Griffin for an example of what the topics they cover are and what they do. Miss Griffin explained what the team does.

I was completely enthralled by this team and this young lady. She was very well spoken and passionate about her team. I was learning about the Model U.N. and how it really teaches the kids how to put themselves in someone else's shoes, and to paraphrase Miss Griffin, "leave your personal bias at the door" when tackling an issue you may not personally agree with.

Abruptly, Miss Griffin was cut off by Mrs. Green, who assumed she had gone on long enough, who thanked her for speaking but "We really have a lot to cover," or something to that extent. I do not remember her exact words because I was so shocked and so enraged that she would cut a STUDENT off that I heard nothing else she said.

Mr. Bealo intervened, and I thank him greatly, and Miss Griffin continued for another few seconds, but the spell was broken at that point. The students seemed uncomfortable at best and I was humiliated for them"


Once again Green shows her true colors.

Anonymous said...

Thank G0D we have the great Jack Sapia on the board to keep her in her place, Jack a good man and I am glad to say he Represents us from Atkinson, I wish we had more people like him.

Anonymous said...

Right, so funny. Jack is another local bully. How many times has Mrs. Green been cut off or excluded and you're worried about this? Get over yourself and the petty BS.

Anonymous said...

Jack is a bully and a disgrace to our town.

Anonymous said...

The only disgrace to our town is you minions, you are intimidated by Jack and a few others, whining and sniveling at every town meeting what a bunch of cry babies.

Anonymous said...

Who goes to town meeting but the moochers?

Anonymous said...

@:9:18 Cops,Town politicians, bitter old people,whiners.

Anonymous said...

pathetic little town

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Someone is playing with Daddy's phone. Maybe you should shield you children from the corruption. Funny they selected police emoticons....

Anonymous said...

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

Anonymous said...

Some babies never leave home.

Anonymous said...

Yes we should return to the good old days when people ran crooked sheriffs and politicians out of town after they were tar and feathered. Instead of allowing them a voice on a blog.

Anonymous said...

Local police departments, in conjunction with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, will hold a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday during which anyone with expired, unused, or otherwise unwanted prescription drugs can surrender the medications to law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Just flush them. Save the trip.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:19

Not the whackos in here they must keep taking there meds.

Anonymous said...

You can't flush drugs, they'll pollute the water supply.

Anonymous said...

"there meds"
Meds won't help you.

Anonymous said...

Were do you think they go after you take them?😉

Anonymous said...

They are metabolized by your body and are no longer as strong as the original product. It's not the same as dumping them down the drain.