Gilmanton-Alton state rep pleads guilty to disorderly conduct

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Four months after an altercation with police at a Dropkick Murphys concert at a local music venue, Gilmanton state Rep. Michael Maloney pleaded guilty Tuesday to a Class A misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

Maloney, 51, of Gilmanton, was sentenced to serve six months in the Belknap County House of Corrections, all of which was suspended, and fined $1,000, $750 of which was suspended. The suspensions are conditional on one year's good behavior. Maloney has paid his fine.

According to Gilford Police statements made available pursuant to a Right-to-Know request, Maloney and other members of his family attended the concert on Sept. 17. One of his sons was holding two beers at one time, which is a violation of pavilion rules.

A statement made by security manager Jason Jenkins said a security person approached the man, who was Maloney's son, and offered to hold one of the beers until the other party could return. The man didn't want to comply and instead walked away.

When he continued to be uncooperative, Jenkins said he determined the younger man could no longer stay at the venue. The younger man said he wanted to talk to his parents.

Jenkins said Northfield Police Chief John Raffaelly and Officer Aaron Chapple responded and stood by. Jenkins said the entire family, a total of seven people, gathered where Maloney's son was and initially refused to comply with the request to leave but eventually they got to the front gate and left.

A while later, according to accounts from three police officers, including Chapple, Belmont Police Chief Mark Lewandoski and Gilford Police Lt. James Leach, someone in the family called 911 and reported they had been assaulted by police and wanted to speak with the New Hampshire State Police.

EMTs arrived in the parking lot to see if anyone was injured and all refused treatment but were told that someone in their party had been pushed by police, said Leach. Five police officers also responded with EMTs and Leach said Jenkins told the group that the pavilion wanted them off the property.

After more arguments, a second call was made to 911 and the caller was placed through to state police, who later told Gilford Police that they were refusing to respond. At 8:55 p.m., according to Gilford call logs, Maloney had called 911 several times but had hung up. Attempts to call him back went unanswered.

Leach's report said the Maloney group was escalating its behavior and were told that if they did not leave the property, they could be charged with trespassing.

When one of the women in the party told police she was having an anxiety attack, Lewandoski went to check on her and Leach said he called EMTs to respond.

Members of the group continued to yell at police, saying it was police who had caused the anxiety attack.

At this point, Leach said Maloney put his hands in his pockets and pushed his body into Chapple. When told by Leach that he had just assaulted a police officer, Maloney said he had his hands in his pockets so an assault was impossible.

Once pushed, Chapple said he pushed Maloney toward Leach, who handcuffed him and charged him with simple assault on a police officer.

"Mike was not guilty of assaulting a police officer," said Diane Maloney, who returned The Laconia Daily Sun's phone call because her husband was in a meeting.

She said he pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge because they "just wanted to get the whole thing behind them."

"We were there for a family function and when one of the boys was told to leave, we couldn't get anyone from the police to tell us why," she said.

She said they have never had problems with the police before and she was upset that no one would tell them why first her son and then her husband were told to leave.

"It was a bad night and I felt the police could have done a better job," Diane Maloney said. 

As part of a plea agreement with the prosecution, Maloney agreed to plead guilty to a Class A misdemeanor of disorderly conduct and the charge of simple assault on a police officer was eliminated.

Chapple said that as the victim, he was fine with the plea agreement as long as it was a Class A misdemeanor, because of its potential for jail time.

Maloney was elected to the state House of Representatives last November, and represents Belknap District 5, which serves Alton and Gilmanton.
As a state representative, he also sits on the Belknap County delegation. He also serves on the Environment and Agriculture Committee.

A spokesman for House Speaker Shawn Jasper said that while Jasper doesn't condone this kind of behavior, he doesn't feel that it rises to the level of censure.

He said Jasper hopes Maloney has learned his lesson.

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6-year-old saves father from OD

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — A 6-year-old boy is credited with saving his father's life after the man overdosed on fentanyl last Friday afternoon.

Police said the boy knew his father was sick and went out of the house and flagged down a neighbor who was passing by.

"This young boy was very brave," said Lt. Richard Mann.

Mann said the child was given to family members and a case worked at the state Division of Child, Youth and Family Services was called.

The 31-year-old man was administered Narcan by fire officials and transported to Lakes Region General Hospital for treatment.

Police determined he had overdosed on fentanyl.

"Not only are addicts overdosing and causing serious issues for themselves and their families, as in this event, they are also putting our greater community at risk," Mann said in a media release.

He said more and more, heroin and fentanyl addiction are using the time and the resources of public safety officials. Mann noted that opioid users are driving on roadways and the department has addressed the issue by putting patrol officers out to ferret out impaired drivers.

Mann added that police responded earlier in the same day to recover some discarded needles at the Belknap Mall parking lot that had been left exposed for anyone to accidentally walk on them.

Gilmanton taps new town administrator

01 31 gilmonton town admin main

Heidi Duval, assistant town administrator in Gilmanton, pauses from working in the selectmen's office at the town hall Monday. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)

Heidi Duval was assistant for two years

By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILMANTON — Heidi Duval, assistant town administrator in Gilmanton, has been contracted by the town to serve as town administrator for two years, effective March 10.
Duval, who works in the selectmen's office at Gilmanton Town Hall, replaces Paul C. Branscombe, who is retiring. She also wades into a budget process that has seen its share of turmoil in recent months.
Selectman Michael Jean said the board voted last Monday night, Jan. 23, to officially choose Duval for the job.
"She's been training under Paul for the last year and a half roughly and going to different classes. I think when she gets into it, she will be fine. She has been to the budget hearings and the budget workshops. She's been with the town for quite a few years," Jean said.
"She should do a great job at it."
Town leaders brought her over to the assessing department to help out there and start training her roughly a year and a half ago, he said.
Brian Forst, chairman of the budget committee, agreed that Duval has the experience to fill the position.
"I wish her well. I hope she does a good job. She's been involved in the town now for a while. I think this all came on a little quicker than expected, but hopefully she's ready for it," Forst said.
"I started as the deputy town clerk/tax collector," Duval said Monday, "and I was there for five and a half years estimated, and then I came over to this area to touch everything I could touch over here," she said, referring to the selectmen's office. Duval said she has spent the last year and a half shadowing Branscombe to "learn what I could."
Branscombe, outgoing town administrator, preferred not to comment on town issues or the upcoming deliberative session of Town Meeting, which is Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. at the school. Voting day is Tuesday, March 14.

"I've been here since July 2015, but I'm heading off into the horizon," Branscombe said, deferring to Duval on questions of the upcoming budget vote. On Monday, Branscombe said he had 29 days left on his contract.
When Branscombe arrived in September 2015, he did so amid contentious debate and a divided board of selectmen. The board voted 2-1 to grant him a four-year contract starting at a salary of $55,000 in 2016 and including three annual increases of $5,000 through 2019.
Now, he is departing amid questions of town budgeting and taxation.
In late 2015-16, the town tax rate rose sharply when the town neglected to transfer some of its unexpended fund balance into the revenue line, which is commonly referred to a "buying down the rate." Later, selectmen voted to move $171,000 from the undesignated fund balance into the revenue side, which helped dampen the tax rate.
During town budget review at a Jan. 7 Gilmanton Budget Committee meeting, Chairman Brian Forst reported a new bottom line in the committee's amendment of the town budget of $3,614,691. "The budget committee reduced the town budget by $23,895 from the original proposed number brought forward by the board of selectmen," the minutes reflected.
Forst noted that the proposed operating budget, not including the warrant articles that the Budget Committee will be bringing forward, totaled $3,614,691, which represents an estimated tax impact of $4.83 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the minutes reported. The Budget Committee also supported a budget line for the executive office, including town administrator budget, in the amount of $175,724. In March 2016, voters approved an operating budget of $3,576,702.

In an interview, Forst called the proposed town budget "fairly solid" and "a pretty tight budget."
Regarding the discrepancy over the tax rate and unexpended fund balance, Forst said, "My opinion was things weren't figured quite correctly a year ago and there was a spike in the tax rate. There are a lot of different theories about why that happened." But he added, "The past is the past, and what we've got to do is make sure these things don't happen again in the future."
A former selectman, he recalled bearing the responsibility of setting the tax rate.
Jean said, "I still have questions on the revenues and all of it."
Resident Ralph Lavin has filed requests for information from the town, but he said he has not received answers regarding the past tax-rate spike and what he has described as a half-million-dollar overtaxation.
"I guess I've just given up," he said Monday. "I didn't like the idea these people were getting applauded for lowering the taxes, and all they had to do was give us back the taxes the selectboard took from us the previous year."
Lavin said he doesn't think town officials are "intentionally trying to hide anything," but he said, "I still have not received an answer to that question. I can't even get them to tell me what the exact number was that the town was overtaxed."
Jean said, "We hire people to track it and do it, we've got to depend on them to do their job."
As for this year's proposed budget, he said, "I wanted to start the whole budget season earlier in the game, and then they decided to start later, and then they had the budget workshops when I couldn't attend them. We'll see what happens Saturday."

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