Petition drive under way in Moultonborough to support Planning Board members

MOULTONBOROUGH — Paul Punturieri, a member of the Planning Board who as "Moultonboro Blogger" operates the website "Moultonboro Speaks," has begun soliciting signatures on a petition urging the Board of Selectmen to abandon removal proceedings against two members of the Planning Board — Josh Bartlett and Judy Ryerson.

The petition, posted on-line at "Moultonboro Speaks," reads: "We the undersigned citizens of Moultonboro, New Hampshire hereby petition the Moultonboro Board of Selectmen to cancel the scheduled public hearings to remove two elected Moultonboro Planning Board members and immediately refer the matter directly to the Moultonboro Planning Board for any action they so choose."

By press time, there were 31 signatories to the petition. Punturieri's goal is to collect 500 signatures.

On July 18, after conferring the town counsel Peter Minkow, the selectmen agreed to exercise the authority granted them by statute to remove elected members of the Planning Board after a public hearing. After Bartlett and Ryerson declined an offer to resign, the selectmen scheduled a public hearing on Sept. 9 to determine if there is sufficient cause to remove them for "inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office."

Last week the Planning Board, after a lengthy discussion at a special meeting, approved a resolution not to support the removal of Bartlett and Ryerson by a vote of three-to-one.