Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What Are You Afraid of Sherm?

 I gotta call them as I see them and this is just plain wrong and 100% censorship. It looks like our town Selectmen and women have something to hide and don't want to answer any questions about their questionable conduct in allowing transgression after transgression by town employees and themselves. Talk about censorship. If this doesn't get under the skin of every single tax paying voter in town and get them thrown out of office I don't know what will. Light up the town's switchboard and tell them what you think about this proposed new policy ... 239-4951

.. and remember who NOT to vote for if you want an open and honest town government.

Winchester board reviews comment policy 

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:15 pm | Updated: 11:34 am, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

WINCHESTER — The town’s selectmen are debating eliminating the public comment section of the board’s weekly meetings. Selectman Sherman Tedford made the suggestion during the board’s Aug. 8 meeting, according to draft minutes.
The public comment time allows residents to bring concerns or questions to the board during a meeting.
Anybody wishing to address the board would need to put their requests in writing in advance and be placed on the agenda, Tedford said.
Tedford’s reasoning is twofold: The limit would allow the board to determine if the matter was meant for public or nonpublic discussion, and would allow the board to invite anybody whose reputation might be affected by an item discussed to attend.
It would also allow the board to research the issue in question, he said.
Chairman Roberta Fraser said she understood the reasoning but did not agree.
Selectman Gustave A. Ruth said in a telephone interview this morning that the board’s main concern is protecting town employees’ reputations, but he did not believe the public comment section should be done away with entirely.
“We don’t want to hide everything, but certain things (you don’t know) until the discussion is over if they should be public or not,” Ruth said.
The board did not vote on the issue, and Town Administrator Joan C. Morel said selectmen would take it up again at tonight’s meeting.
Information that Morel received from the Local Government Center, Inc., a support resource for municipalities, indicates removing the public comment section would be legal.
According to the center, the board only has an obligation to accept public comment during a public hearing, but not during a regular selectmen’s meeting.



fighting mad said...

He knows what they did covering up Margaret Sharra's latest fiasco and making her Code Enforcement Officer was a real dumb move and allowing her to get away with forging documentation just shows how crooked that whole board is. Is it any wonder they don't want public comment? They all seem to forget, they work for us, not the other way around and one way or another they will answer for the things that they do. I say we as a town file a lawsuit against all of them personally and let them foot the bills for their own attorneys and defend their actions in a court of law.

Watching The Tide said...

A public input session at a Selectmen's meeting, is a time honored tradition. Anything less, would be considered taxation without representation. It is very obvious, that the Selectmen's sentiments lean heavily in the direction of protecting the employees of the Town, rather than the taxpayers. I would not consider their approach to information suppression as radical, should they publish all of the public requests in their minutes. Consideration of any request beyond a format other than within a legal meeting, would constitute an illegal session. Enactment of a policy that allows the Selectmen to pick and choose issues, is a very bad idea. Which boards will follow suit? Planning? Zoning? Historic District? The whole thing is a very, very, bad idea. It is time that our officials face the public for their actions, and not from behind a desktop work processer with a paper shredder next to it.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me BOS-what about my first amendment rights to the constitution. Freedom of Speech! If your employees are acting like turkeys then they need to be called on it.Welcome to the real world. If you do not do your job you get fired! Welcome to the real world. Now, shall we call for a recall election to get rid of the varmits!

Anonymous said...

Most of us that work in the real world and finance the towns expenses and employees, live with daily scrutiny. We have to be to work on time, we cant extend our break times and come and go as we please. The majority commute to a job that doesn't pay as well as the Jobs our tax money support. So, where is it written that municipalities and municipal workers should not be questioned by the people that finance this operation. Its ironic that this is suggested by a former public employee that didn't have to live with very many checks and balances, and was able to retire at a very young age because of the generosity of the taxpayers of NH, and the town of Winchester.

They're a blackeye on the town said...

Their behavior is so inconsistent and contradictory of how a board should conduct itself. On the one hand they constantly hide behind RSA91-A:3II ( Access To Public Records )Which states:
I. (a) Bodies or agencies shall not meet in nonpublic session, except for one of the purposes set out in paragraph II. No session at which evidence, information or testimony in any form is received shall be closed to the public, except as provided in paragraph II. No body or agency may enter nonpublic session, except pursuant to a motion properly made and seconded.
(b) Any motion to enter nonpublic session shall state on its face the specific exemption under paragraph II which is relied upon as foundation for the nonpublic session. The vote on any such motion shall be by roll call, and shall require the affirmative vote of the majority of members present.
(c) All discussions held and decisions made during nonpublic session shall be confined to the matters set out in the motion.
II. Only the following matters shall be considered or acted upon in nonpublic session:
(a) The dismissal, promotion or compensation of any public employee or the disciplining of such employee, or the investigation of any charges against him, unless the employee affected (1) has a right to a meeting and (2) requests that the meeting be open, in which case the request shall be granted.
(b) The hiring of any person as a public employee.
(c) Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the body or agency itself, unless such person requests an open meeting.
(d) Consideration of the acquisition, sale or lease of real or personal property which, if discussed in public, would likely benefit a party or parties whose interests are adverse to those of the general community.
(e) Consideration or negotiation of pending claims or litigation which has been threatened in writing or filed against the body or agency or any subdivision thereof, or against any member thereof because of his membership in such body or agency, until the claim or litigation has been fully adjudicated or otherwise settled.
(f) Consideration of applications by the adult parole board under RSA 651-A.
(g) Consideration of security-related issues bearing on the immediate safety of security personnel or inmates at the county correctional facilities by county correctional superintendents or their designees.
(h) Consideration of applications by the business finance authority under RSA 162-A:7-10 and 162-A:13, where consideration of an application in public session would cause harm to the applicant or would inhibit full discussion of the application.
(i) Consideration of matters relating to the preparation for and the carrying out of emergency functions, including training to carry out such functions, developed by local or state safety officials that are directly intended to thwart a deliberate act that is intended to result in widespread or severe damage to property or widespread injury or loss of life.

They do this at EVERY MEETING, that's 52 closed sessions a year ( not to mention the little get togethers at Sherms' place once or twice a week) discussing what, personnel issues, money problems, emergency issues? Come on, there's only one reason for this kind of behavior, secrecy. If they have that many problems with the town's employees than something is drastically wrong. How many employees have been fired? How many have had their hours and salaries cut? We all know the answers to those questions and in fact it's been quite the opposite, they have been given bonuses, raises and promotions. Not all of our town employees are bad eggs; but many act as though we work for them and they are entitled. This group needs to be held accountable for their deplorable conduct. Someone mentioned recall, it's time something is done.

I would like to know said...

I've been reading this blog for quite some time now and though I do not agree with some of the comments published on it, I commend the person or people behind it and thank them for opening my eyes to the numerous issues and problems we have with town government. I'd like to address this problem the town has with these numerous court cases. Reading minutes and subjects posted here, I see there is a real problem with having some of these people on our town boards. It is evident to me that many are not qualified and should not be in these positions. There is also the stench of underhandedness and backroom dealings particularly by Margaret Sharra. Many whisper about her around town and it is a known fact that her truthfulness and honesty is very questionable. I know if I were one of the five voted in to oversee the running of this town, I would personally be looking into severing her employment and not giving her a new fancy title with more money and more power. By doing this I believe our selectboard is acting in an very questionable manner and has shown it can not be trusted to make competent decisions regarding her conduct and that of many others who work for the town. One has to question why all of these lawsuits are being filed against the town and one only has to look at the boards and people named in these suits to see we have a real problem and that our selectboard has been turning a blind eye to. It's the same few who have cost this town hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation fees and yet they are still employed, why?

show them the door said...

I too would like to know what out board of selectmen are afraid of in answering our questions. Are they afraid that their answers to hard questions might incriminate themselves? Is this what this is all about? For years we have all seen how they just brush important issues aside with a wave of the hand and the catch all " thank you for your comments, we'll take them under advisement", which we all know they don't. It is happened so often that most people have given up trying to get this bunch to do anything or give a straight answer. Thank God there are a few who keep trying while the rest of us sit on our thumbs. Now they want to ban public comments, geez I thought this was suppose to be a democracy where the majority of the people ruled, not the kings and queens we have on this board. I agree that we must all act now and clean house. Houston, we have a problem !

In God We Trust; but not these folks said...

So let me get this straight, our Town Administrator Joan C. Morel said selectmen would take this matter up at tonight’s meeting.
Information that Morel received from the Local Government Center, Inc., a support resource for municipalities, indicates removing the public comment section would be legal.

and yet the RSA clearly states;

No session at which evidence, information or testimony in any form is received shall be closed to the public,

So if people send in or submit evidence they must allow the public to see and comment, it's the law.

I'm beginning to wonder just how honest our town Administrator is, after all birds of a feather and they did choose here after Hinsdale fired her for her conduct over there. Why does Winchester constantly hire the rejects from other towns? Guess they just fit in here better, right boys and girls?

Shaking my head said...

If people sat through any town board meeting (be it a Board of Selectman, Zoning or Planning Board meeting), then took the time to read the minutes of that meeting - you would quickly discover that the minutes do NOT reflect the same meeting you just sat through. The censorship is apparent and they are manipulated to such an extent that it is apparent the cover up or personal agenda of that board.

Unforunately, no one goes to the meetings - so they remain clueless!

About Joan Morel said...

Dear "In God we trust" - Joan wasn't fired from Hinsdale. But they were more than happy to wash their hands of her! She wasn't easy to get along with and she was constantly butting heads with people there.

She has a bad habit of sticking her nose where it doesn't belong or taking it upon herself to do things for the Board of Selectman without being instructed to do so.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Gus Ruth!

So, what percentage exactly are you not devulging to the public? Everything! That would be 100% accurate.

You must really hate this website, because you don't have the ability to censor it. Glad to know that you read it though.

what do you say Gus? said...

Selectman Gustave A. Ruth said in a telephone interview this morning that the board’s main concern is protecting town employees’ reputations

Oh really Gus? Shouldn't your main concern be the citizen's whose money you take and spend? Perhaps if we had good decent town employees you wouldn't have to spend your time defending them and yourselves for your actions.

start acting like a real board said...

Tedford is so full of crap. They have has years to read the regulations, abide by the rules of the town and state and know who the problem children are at the town hall. All they have done is sit on their hands and look the other way. Instead of acting in a responsible manner, they constantly think up excuses why they haven't acted on the issues brought before them time after time. Without leadership you have anarchy and chaos, exactly the problem we have here. It's a no brainer who they need to fire and what they need to do to end the serious problems we have. If these 5 can't get it done they need to step down and stop wasting the town's money defending bad employees.

Anonymous said...

Fraud! Fraud! Encarta ® World English Dictionary

]1. crime of cheating somebody: the crime of obtaining money or some other benefit by deliberate deception
2. somebody who deceives: somebody who deliberately deceives somebody else, usually for financial gain
3. something intended to deceive: something that is intended to deceive people
a story that was subsequently exposed as a fraud

I am glad to see when I read the latest blog posts we have some real intelligent people in Winchester that have awakened to smell the coffee. I also see there is hope, but it took the selectmen to squash your rights for this happening. Where was the out rage from past deeds? Like the $330,000 fire truck we did not need or who received kick back from the manufacture of the fire truck. Where was the out rage when the\town hall shoved dirt, race tracks and junk yards in your back yards?

These people at the town hall have been robbing you blind of your tax dollars for years. I had been attending many many selectmen’s meetings on your behalf pointing out what these elected officials and town employees have been doing to us and your tax dollars. Now that you have awaken, organize your rage or not! I have used my own money for lawyers and printed material to wake people up only to be called names and shunned . So good luck these people are good at destroying any hope!

Anonymous said...

Employee protection and promotion keeps them all quiet about all the dirt they could tell about. (John Gomarlo being a classic example.)

There is no personnel confidentiality if a member of the public wants to speak about a town employee. However, selectmen are at risk of law suits if THEY comment publicly about an employee's job performance. The state will be all over them as well after a single disgruntled phone call is received. Employees receive incredible protection.

BUT that only applies to their employers (the selectmen) not to the general public. Selectmen should hear everything someone has to say. They then are required by law to discuss the matter in non public session (so as not to harm the employee), unless the employee wants it in public. Even then, it can be risky business.

Are you surprised that three former town employees (Roberta, Theresa, Sherman) will always come down on the side of raises and better deals for town employees? They stick together like velcro.

Thanks Ken said...

The new water and sewer bill has the $10 increase that the selectmen voted in when the water and sewer dept.head only asked for $5. If I remember correctly selectmen Gardner told us we were stupid, at deliberative, if we didn't go along with what they proposed because our water bill would go down. Having an increase in the base rate is a good deal for the bigger users, because increasing the usage fee would have netted a lot more money. The home owners lose again. I don't remember when this got voted in, but it looks to me like some of would be retroactive, and if it is , is it legal?

Whats Up ? said...

Last posting of the BOS Minutes was Aug 16th for the meeting of 8/8. Probably legally these meetings don't have to be posted on the town web site, but it would seem to me that a town hall that was on the up and up would want to make it easy for the town taxpayers to stay informed. Maybe the work load is just to heavy with another 3 day work week coming up.

Anonymous said...

Why bother to have a town website if they can't keep it up to date, or is more likely they don't want people to know what's really going on? The minutes aren't truly reflective of what transpired anyways, they are either Margaret Sharra's revised and abridged accounts ( PB and ZBA and just how does a full time town employee still remain a secretary on two town boards? ) or the watered down version( unless someone in their group writes a letter or appears before them ) of the BOS meetings, much of which is carried out behind closed doors or over the phone anyways. Our town has become a mini secret service operation where everything is either hush hush or hidden from public view. If there is no openness you can bet there's lots of questionable conduct going on.

Just Asking said...

HAY Sherm, it early afternoon 9/3 and there is only one police cruiser in the parking lot, where and hell are the rest of them?

Anonymous said...

Will be checking the police parking lot for vehicles this weekend, Its amazing how the cars disappear on weekends.