Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wouldn't it be nice if ours had common sense too ? ..

Alstead selectmen warn town employees of cutbacks ...

ALSTEAD — Worries about next year’s budget have prompted the Alstead Board of Selectmen to warn employees of possible staffing cuts next year and to encourage them to seek jobs outside the town. 

In a letter sent with employees’ paychecks last week, selectmen told the town’s six full-time employees their jobs face cutbacks after the 2015 budgeting process.

“We are just one medium sized economic surprise away from drastic and immediate changes,” the letter said. “It is certain that town staffing will look different in 2015, perhaps sooner.”
The selectmen also warned that the town could not guarantee continued health care coverage for its employees.
The selectmen held a nonpublic meeting of the town’s employees at the town offices Tuesday night to discuss the details of the letter and possible changes to staffing and health care. While the state’s Right-to-Know law allows for the board to meet in secret for some personnel-related matters, the selectmen did not cite such an exemption before holding the meeting, and did not vote in public to enter the nonpublic session, as required by state law. A Sentinel reporter’s objection to the handling of the matter was dismissed by the three selectmen.
At a public meeting following the nonpublic meeting with employees, the town’s three selectmen — Joel C. McCarty, Michael Jasmin and Matthew D. Saxton — said they have made no plans to cut specific positions, and they are researching possible alternatives to the town’s health insurance provider before making any decision to cut benefits.
Saxton said the announcement was prompted only by the board’s desire to give ample warning to employees who might be offered employment elsewhere.
“The potential is for Alstead to not have anything like the staffing it has now,” he said at the meeting.
The town employs six full-time workers who receive health insurance benefits, and more than 50 part-time workers. The town has already notified two part-time plow drivers they will not be hired this winter.
Alerting the employees now to the staffing and health coverage uncertainties is better than waiting until next year’s budget deliberations to tell them, Saxton said.
“That’s not fair to them,” he said at the meeting.
One full-time employee, who worked in the town’s transfer station and the highway division, will leave Alstead after this week to work in another municipality. He will not be replaced.
“That helps our situation a little bit because we’re not paying him or buying his health insurance,” Saxton said. “There’s been enough uncertainty over this that if it were me, I’d be looking elsewhere, too.”
The board has requested help from a “navigator” employed under the federal Affordable Care Act, who will advise it on possible alternatives to town-provided health insurance under the new health care law for full-time employees who do stay with the town next year.
In an interview before Tuesday’s meeting, Saxton cited public pressure from Alstead residents to cut spending as a reason for the uncertainty.
Of the town’s roughly 1,200 registered voters, 178 came to a February deliberative session of the town meeting to push for more than $344,000 in cuts to the budget and eliminate a number of proposed allocations. They passed a slimmed-down 2014 budget largely as a reaction to a 2013 tax hike of 19 percent over the previous year.
“There is this constant drum of less, less, less,” Saxton said.
He also said that two spending requirements that will likely be in next year’s budget — workers compensation dues that were offset last year by a refund, and the projected cost of a five-year property revaluation — would tighten the budget further.
Alstead Department of Public Works Director David L. Crosby said he had received the letter, and that he had taken the news in stride.
“It’s business as usual,” he told The Sentinel after the meeting. “We’ll get through it.”
Martha Shanahan can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1434, or Follow her on Twitter @MShanahanKS.


Cant wait said...

I'm sure the crew at the hwy dept will do a good job with this mess after the flood, but hold on to your hat. The selectmen and the road agent will try to justify more spending and probably more employees down the road.

Bob Davis said...

Why are your taxes so high? Sometimes it caused by natural disasters, bad planning, sometimes it plain stupidity and arrogance . I have been watching the wash-outs of the Watson Road and Verry Brook Roads many times since it wash-out in July 2000, Katrina August 2005 and the other day July 2014. How many frig'n times do we have to spend thousand and thousands of our hard earned tax dollars to fix the Watson Road and the Verry Brook Road that keeps washing out time and time again.

The wash-out of the Watson Road the other day one could see some of why the water followed the road bed. The road has high bank that lines the Watson Road bed which forces any and all heavy rain runoff to follow the road bed. I am not pretending to be an engineer, but my science class taught me water runs down hill and picks up speed with force as it travels. Upon viewing the damage on the Watson Road today one would say. Where does all these volume of water come from to do this kind of damage. It’s more than just heavy rain run off to moved 50 lb boulders to do this type of damage to the road bed..

I have been doing some research on the wash-outs in this area over the past years, talking to neighbors and friends were we all came to the same conclusion. It’s Gus Ruth’s ex-selectmen 4 acre beaver dam that has breached again to cause the tax payer thousand of dollars to repair. Yes there are natural disasters that occur but when it’s compounded by some people’s stupidity and arrogance, when it reoccurs again and again someone should be held accountable. Some year ago I had some gravel wash from my driveway into the street and the selectmen wanted me to pay for it’s removal or they would sue me.

By the authority of Town of Winchester Highway Superintendent Dale Gray’s sent a letter to the Ruth’s dated July 18, 2000 warning them of consequences if his 4 area beaver dam behind his home breached again which posed a dangerous situation for people and property. Gus Ruth had the gull to blamed the town for not having a culvert in place to handle a 4 acre dam breach. The Ruth’s have been warned by the Town of Winchester and the damages it seems stems from his area. I think a investigation by the town is in order and the dam removed by a court order. Gus Ruth as one of the selectmen used the power of the town’s purse to sue other town citizens into near bankruptcy to take their property . It seems we have a double standard in our town.

Points to be made said...

If Gus and Irene’s damn caused this problem then they should help pay for the damages.

Anonymous said...

The cause is bad logging in that area as well as all along that stretch including right behind where the Old Westport Road washed out. The logger who has been logging up there over the past few years does not log responsibly causing erosion and water flow off the mountain to cause washouts and problems on the rails to trails and now this event. Whip Newell and a town forester used to do a great job to carefully monitor log cuts and make loggers follow the law. Now this logger does what he wants, even encrouching on Mr. Ruth's property so stop blaming Gus and beavers. Gus was out there helping to fix the Watson Road. If people spent half the time working to fix things rather than just complain about what isn't right this town might improve.

Bob Davis said...

REf: annoy and I quote.. If people spent half the time working to fix things rather than just complain about what isn't right this town might improve.

Thank goodness for this blog site and the people that run it or we wouldn’t know anything about (WHAT THE HELL OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE DOING) In the past THE WINCHESTER BLOG wasn’t needed as badly we elected just trusted officials OR PEOPLE WE COULD TRUST. Today some have no trust what so ever in our elected officials, others just do not want to be made aware . The latter should just stick their heads back into the sand and life will be just roses.

How it seems we elect crooks, people that abuse their authority, ex-felons, property tax dodgers and run-a-round Sues or people just only interested in helping themselves? And this also seems to OK to some people in town no matter what they do.

To answer your comment..... So does, bring opinions and facts to citizens attention. Is this spending half our time working to fix things or just complaining?
Is this help to inprove the town?

If there was no complaining say about John Stetser would he still be here working and still screwing the town of our tax dollars and training others to be a crooks? Is the town better now or when we had a den of thieves at the town hall. Is this OK with you?

Bringing to the attention the abuse of authority of our elected officials, whom have sworn to protect citizens rights, also in turn for our town employees labor we pay very good wages, with full benefits like eye glasses, denial, shoes clothes, etc. I received less benefits and pay but always work in the best interest of my employer. In this town as a thank you in return we only ask our town employees to watch out for the tax payers best interest. They don't!

Again I ask is this to fix things or are we just complaining.

After having a citizen warned in writing from the town about a dangerous situation that exists at their home and a person ignores the written warning because he knows better than us. Is this just complaining or trying to fix things or should I just join you by stick my head in the sand.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what the answer is. The situation just seems to continue. We have an opening on the BOS and the powers that be have chosen not to replace him...... as those who applied were not in the pocket of the powers that be. The task is to break the cycle and get smart people with honesty and integrity and pass criminal background checks, etc. But as the talk around town is if you have the brains to run in town, you have the brains to stay away......... SAD SAD SAD. Hopefully it is true that there are some working quietly behind the scenes to work change and clean house. People who do not have a long history of criminal behaviors, good old boy mentality who are not covering up wrong doings and want to see this town grow and change. May we live long enough to see it happen or not lose houses to foreclosure before it changes things.