Sanbornton Rep Praises Commissioners, County Staff, Says He's Ashamed of Delegation

LACONIA — State Representative Dennis Fields (R-Sanbornton), who was recently voted out of his position as Belknap County Delegation clerk by his fellow Republicans, praised the Belknap County Commission and county staff members at Wednesday morning's meeting of the commission.
''I think you're wonderful and are doing a good job'' said Fields, who says that when he meets with constituents while grocery shopping and they ask him what's happening with the county delegation and its constant conflict with the commissioners he tells them that he's ashamed of the way members of the delegation are behaving.
Particularly troubling for Fields are accusations of dishonesty on the part of the commissioners which have been raised by delegation members.
''I know John and Steve and know you're honest,'' said Fields, who addressed his comments to Republican commission members John Thomas and Steve Nedeau. (The commission's only Democrat, Ed Philpot was not at the meeting)
''I resent it when people imply you're not being honest,'' said Fields, who says that he wishes that the Republican majority of the delegation had taken time to learn about the progress the commision has made in recent years before making judgments on the budget which the commission had proposed.
The delegation and commission are currently locked in a battle over who has line item control over the budget and there has been a marked tone of hostility between commissioners and members of the delegation at public meetings going back to January.
''It was getting better for the county. But when I try to point that out I get laughed at by members of the executive committee who say they've got the votes so they're going to do what they want. This isn't a Republican or a Democrat issue. If the delegation would get smart enough and come in here and ask questions they'd find out what they need to know to make good decisions,'' said Fields.
He repeated his claim that members of the delegation are being kept in the dark by the leadership and said he had never seen the MS-42 budget form submitted by the delegation.
''I wasn't aware of of it and I don't know how someone can say that the differences with the Division of Revenue Administration are only cosmetic,'' said Fields, who said that he doesn't like the ''secret meetings called caucuses'' at which the Republican majority developed its budget strategy.
''You couldn't get away with this sneaky stuff in Concord,'' said Fields, who clashed openly with delegation chairperson Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith) over budget review procedures before being replaced last month by Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton) as clerk of the delegation.
''I was told if I didn't toe the line I was not going to be clerk. I want the people who voted for me to know that I'm not part of the delegation that's doing these things to you,'' said Fields.