Philpot not backing down

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioner Ed Philpot of Laconia yesterday stood by his remarks critical of the Republican leadership of the Belknap County Convention made while speaking last week at the annual picnic hosted by the Belknap County Democratic Committee and reported by the local press.

After Philpot referred to members of the convention as "bad people looking to do bad things," Alan Glassman, chairman of the Belknap County Republican Committee, immediately called on him to that he publicly acknowledge that his statements were "unprofessional, inflammatory and inappropriate" and apologize for them. Glassman suggested that the acknowledgement and apology were required for the commission and the convention to improve their strained relationship and "work together on such critical matters as the county budget and a county prison."

Refusing to withdraw his remarks, Philpot replied to Glassman by e-mail yesterday, explaining that "prior to my statement, there was no progress toward any sort of discussion. Since I was not significant enough in the minds of the majority delegation to be even civil towards me," he continued, "I cannot see how now I can stand as the only impediment to progress."

Philpot agreed that cooperation is "an admirable goal," then told Glassman "there has been no indication of any inclination on the part of the majority of the delegation that this is their goal. In fact," he claimed, "the commissioners were repeatedly denied the opportunity to speak with the delegation on critical issues, were subjected to name calling and accusations, and were generally ignored on substantive budget questions during the convention's deliberative process despite repeated offers of additional information, cooperation and input on topics with which we were familiar."

Likewise, Philpot said that while the commission has been working "quite publicly" on planning for the jail for the past four years, there has been "little participation" on the part of members of the delegation. He said that that since the current members of the convention were elected they have been invited to visit the jail "without any takers." He said that "despite this lack of participation or even civil discourse, we, the commissioners, are faced with unfounded accusations and recriminations from delegation members who have never taken the time or effort to speak with us."

Glassman said only that he had received Philpot's e-mail and declined any further comment.