25-year Tilton-Northfield Fire commissioner stips down with blistering letter aimed at colleague

TILTON — After serving as one of three commissioners of the Tilton-Northfield Fire District for the past 25 years, Tom Gallant tendered his resignation this week, citing his differences with Commissioner Pat Clark and "the antagonistic tenor" marking the last year.
Clark was re-elected to another term on the board in March.
In a letter to the commission released to the media, Gallant said that it has never been "my willful intention to act as an impediment to the district," then added that others view him differently. He noted that he considers his election to eight consecutive terms an indication that the voters believe he has done his job and done it well.
However, Gallant continued, "what I am faced with and ultimately what the district is faced with is illogical people who have had and are having illogical influences on the district." He said that the interests of the district have taken "a back seat and have become threatened by those who would seek to punish it because of a personal vendetta against Chief Ober." He praised Ober's leadership of the Fire Department, which he called "second to none in the entire Lakes Region, whose accomplishments have been achieved "in spite of the tenor that has been set by the majority of the Board of Commissioners."
"With the re-election of Commissioner (Pat) Clark," Gallant wrote, "it is brutally obvious that nothing will change," adding that Clark has contributed to an atmosphere that is "not only unproductive but unhealthy." He acknowledged his relationship with Clark is not healthy, professional or professional and that he could no longer be "a positive force" on a three-member board "heavily leveraged against me."
Resigning effective immediately, Gallant closed by remarking "it has been an honor to serve and I can assure you that I am not going away. I may not continue in an official capacity, but I will be present."
Gallant's differences with Clark arose over the imposition of a requirement that Ober, upon being appointed chief, reside within the district. When Ober was unable to sell his home in New Hampton, a deadline was set over Gallant's objections, and the chief, apparently facing dismissal, resolved the issue by renting an apartment inTilton at the eleventh hour.
The two then quarreled over the preparation of the district budget.