LACONIA — County Commissioner Richard Burchell acknowledged in a motion filed in Belknap County Superior Court on Friday that fellow commissioner Dave DeVoy should continue to serve as commission chairman until Burchell's suit seeking to reverse his March 2 ouster as chairman has been decided in his favor.
Burchell's motion to withdraw his request for a preliminary injunction against his fellow commissioners was granted by Judge James O'Neill III.
The judge also granted Burchell's request for additional time for his attorney, David Horan, to file responses and objections to motions and requests made by his fellow commissioners that his complaint be dismissed.
O'Neill set a deadline of March 20 for Horan's filing and a date for a final hearing on the merits of the case is being scheduled.
Granting the request removed the need for a hearing on the injunction request.
Commissioner Hunter Taylor, who is an attorney and has been representing himself in the proceedings, had asked the court to view a video of the March 2 meeting at which he and DeVoy voted to reorganize the commission.
At that meeting, Burchell presided and attempted to block any motions made by the other commissioners by repeatedly rapping the gavel and exclaiming that they were "out of order".
Burchell later on March 2 filed a motion in Belknap County Superior Court seeking ex parte relief from the action of the other two commissioners, claiming that there is no statutory basis for his removal as chairman, which he maintains will be ''an invitation to chaos". He had unsuccessfully sought an injunction before the meeting to prevent the other commissioners from taking any action.
DeVoy's filing, made by attorney Paul Fitzgerald, maintains that New Hampshire RSA 28:1 indicates that all powers of the commission can be exercised by a majority vote.
It also maintains that without the right to remove the chairman, the commission risks becoming dysfunctional if a chairperson is unwilling to allow the appropriate methodical discussion and disposition of agenda items or attempts to stifle discussion through the use of repeated and erroneous parliamentary rulings.
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