Saturday, July 28, 2012

Doesn't This Sound Familar?

Selectmen overstep their authority


Lately, we’ve seen the articles about the troubled select board in Marlborough.

For those who need to be brought up to speed, a few of the residents of Marlborough sued the select board as they believed they were violating the states Right To Know law. That’s the law assuring open government for the citizens.
We have a right to know just what they are or plan on doing. Pretty simple if you ask me. Especially in small-town government of only three select board members. The citizens must provide for the checks and balances we have in larger levels of government.
I was not one of the citizens involved in the suit.
Well, the short story is the decision was found in favor of the citizens who brought the suit. The judge wrote 52 pages of decision and enjoining the select board from further violations. It is the largest win of a Right to Know suit in New Hampshire.
If it took me a half-hour to finalize this one page, that’s 26 hours of writing by a judge and his staff. Not a minor slap on the wrist by any accord.
Several citizens, myself included, wanted a good way to help the select board. Preventing the possibility of questions from the citizens of Marlborough if the board is again violating their rights. We offered, at no cost to the town, a video system including all video and network equipment to stream public meetings via the Internet. This would allow all citizens of Marlborough the possibility to watch these meetings live or at a later date and time.
We even learned there is a sub-website of YouTube called for just this purpose. It does not include advertising that may complicate town positions from assumed endorsements.
Now, I understand the select board, and in particular Mrs. Harris and Mr Northcott voiced reservations if those involved in the offer had the prerequisite knowledge and skills. For what it’s worth, I am a senior network engineer for a major Massachusetts university system and Internet service provider.
Typically, my time through a service provider would bill at $250 per hour. I have been doing this job since 1978. I know my craft.
During a public meeting on July 9, the board dismissed this offer summarily and without any discussion.
As they held no discussion on the offer, they never learned the level of free expertise they were being offered. This is not the first time I have volunteered my time and skills to the town, and also had those offers summarily dismissed by the select board.
I need to ask why. What are you afraid of?
I have lived in Marlborough for about four years now. I want to be a part of my town and help it be the best place to live — anywhere. I need to ask the other citizens of Marlborough a question. Do you realize the select board is, by virtue of the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, working at your will?
Because I don’t believe they are. It has been my observation the select board is prone to summary dictatorial decisions.
Rest assured, I will again vote for someone willing to change the status quo in Marlborough. Because it needs to change and soon.
265 Frost Hill Road

Hope this sinks in  and people here in Winchester realize that we have the same problems here. That our own BOS was also taken to court and was reprimanded for violating the "Right To Know Law"  several years ago and they are right back at it again, There's only one reason to hide information from the public; wrong doings.Does another lawsuit have to be filed here again?

1 comment:

Marlborough Again said...

8/8 Keene Sentinel, Reader Opinion, Madness must be stopped, worth a read