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County budget cut hits nursing home; 4 jobs eliminated

LACONIA — Belknap County Administrator Debra Shackett acknowledged yesterday that four positions have been eliminated at the Belknap County Nursing Home but said that none of them were direct care positions.
''We have no reason to believe resident care will suffer,'' said Shackett, who said that the cuts are a direct result of budget cuts made to the commissioners' proposed budget by the Belknap County Convention.
She said that commissioners made the decision, which she said was ''extremely difficult'', after consulting with Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue last week during a non-public session.
She said discussions have been held with all department heads in an attempt to locate possible savings. ''We have to live within the confines of that budget,'' said Shackett, who added that there have been no final decision on whether more positions will be eliminated.
One of those laid off was Debbie White of Belmont, who has been employed at the county home for 39 years. She wrote in a letter to the editor which appears in today's Daily Sun (page 4) that she was notified that her position was eliminated due to budget cuts.
The letter, addressed to residents of the nursing home and their families, urged them to ''act casual in this very difficult situation as I do not want to disrupt the workings of the home.'' She said that her last day on the job will be April 1 and that ''I will leave you all with my head held high and no regrets, knowing I have served you well.''
County Commissioners said last week that their major priority in dealing with the $974,000 budget cut will be paying the health insurance costs which are a continuing part of the employee benefits for county workers, who are now in their third year without a contract.
Last week the Belknap County Convention approved a $25,596, 863 budget, some $200,000 less than last year's, and cut the amount allocated for health insurance from $3.1 million to $2.6 million. Commissioners had proposed a $26,570,000 budget.
Commissioners appear to be headed toward using the same strategy as they did last year when they shifted funds between different accounts within departments to meet what they maintain are the county's contractual obligations to employees. The commissioners are seeking a legal opinion, as they did last year, on their authority to move money from one account to another within departments.
The County Convention, which maintains that it has authority over line items in the budget, passed a motion last week when it finalized the budget which would require county Executive Committee approval for all line item budget transfers.
There has been an ongoing dispute for over a year on the issue of who controls budget line items which led to vote by the convention last fall to take a vote authorizing legal action against the commission, but no suit has yet been filed.
Commissioners are also seeking an opinion from an attorney on how they should proceed on a request from the convention for legal fees in a suit brought against County Convention Chairman Colette Worsman (R-Meredith) and County Convention Clerk Jane Cormier (R-Alton) by the five Democrats on the convention alleging a Right-to-Know law violation at the Feb. 18 meeting.
The suit seeks to overturn a 7-7 tie vote on a motion to pass the commission's budget at that meeting and maintains that the Right-to-Know law was violated when Worsman allowed Rep. Guy Comtois to vote by phone.
When the convention met last week night Worsman sought to amend the minutes of meeting of February 18 to show that before the meeting was convened she and other members referred to the Right-to-Know law and discussed the procedure for allowing Comtois to participate by telephone. Democrats pointed out there was no quorum at that time and not all those who were present were party to the discussion.
Worsman's attempt to amend the minutes failed on a 5-4 vote with four abstentions.
It appears that he minutes issue will come up again, but not in Laconia. Worsman has scheduled two convention meetings in Concord on March 19 and March 26 at noon or 10 minutes after the legislature breaks for lunch for a discussion of meeting minutes in Room 209 of the Legislative Office Building.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 11:40

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UPDATED ELECTION RESULTS - Noon Wednesday

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL SPECIAL ELECTION — On Wednesday morning, the N.H. Secretary of State declared that Republican Joe Kenney of Wakefield has defeated Democrat Mike Cryans of Hanover. About 20 small communities had yet to report results as of noon, when the vote totals stood at 21,351 for Kenney and 20,084 for Cryans. Cryans issued a statement offering his congratulations to his opponent.

GILMANTON — Stephen McCormack (489) elected to Selectboard over James Barnes (393). . . Article 30 pertaining to staffing at the Fire Department passed by a vote of 662 to 300 . . . Article 28 pertaining to support for the Year-Round Library passed by a vote of 500 to 483. . . Frank Weeks, Jr, (526) and Michael Hatch (477) were elected to the School Board over David Strang (396). . . . School District Article 7 pertaining to a new collective bargaining agreement with the teachers' union passed 506 to 404. . . Article 14 pertaining to the lease/purchase of 2 modular classrooms was defeated 605 to 325 . . . Article 15 pertaining to the school operating budget was defeated 491 to 424.

ALTON — Workforce housing ordinance passes 634 to 297. . . Petitioned article to stop membership in Lakes Region Planning Commission defeated 558 to 370. Petitioned article to eliminate town planner position defeated 650 to 283. Petitioned article to eliminate town assessor position defeated 658 to 282. Article to combine town clerk and tax collector positions approved 609 to 326. . . Cydney Johnson (517) and Lou LaCourse (503 elected to Selectboard over Phil Whittmann (503).

GILFORD — Renovation and expansion of police station approved 570-296 (60% required and 65% achieved). . . Richard "Rags" Grenier elected to Selectboard without opposition. . . . Kevin Roy (578), Sue Greene (528) and Kevin Leandro (389) elected to Budget Committee. Other candidates included Scott Davis (373) and Skip Murphy (361).

MEREDITH — Hillary Seeger (518) elected to Selectboard. Dave Sticht received 185 write-in votes. . . . Four zoning ordinance amendments approved.

BELMONT — Ron Cormier (169) re-elected to Selectboard over Don McLelland, Sr. (151) and George Condodemetraky (99) . . . Peter Harris and Rick Segalini elected to Planning Board. 71% majority approves transferring funds to complete section 1 of BRATT Trail (60% majority required). . . Historic Demolition Review Committee initiative rejected 289 to 124.

TILTON — Joe Jesseman (158) and Jonathan Scanlon (154) elected to Selectboard over Peter Fogg (145) and Wayne Brock (101).

NEW HAMPTON — All warrant articles passes except one calling for purchase of emergency operations command vehicle.

SANDWICH — Howard Cunningham elected to another term on Inter-Lakes School Board via write-in (106 in Sandwich and 108 in Meredith). . . Four proposed zoning ordinance changes pass easily.

BRISTOL — Richard Alpers (335) and Shaun Lagueux (324) elected to Selectboard over Paul Manganiello (319) and Andrew O'Hara, Jr. (274). David Carr (429), Thomas Keegan (416), Donald Milbrand (329) and Kevin MacCaffire (322) elected to Budget Committee. Jon Thouin received 318 votes.

ASHLAND — Normand DeWolfe (302) and Steve Felton (172) elected to Selectboard (three year position) over Jamie Lyford (90), John Hughes (83) and Miriam Brown (58). . . . Frances Newton (160) elected to Selectboard (one year position) over Harold Lamos (91), Ron Niles (90) and Anthony Hoerter (48). . . . Harold Lamos (222)and Sandra Coleman (199) elected to Budget Committee over Ingrid Heidenreich (171). . . Article calling for purchase of former elementary school as new home for public library defeated 299-149. . . . Proposed town operating budget defeated . . . Purchase of mini loader for transfer station and pick-up truck for public works also defeated. . . Requests to place funds in capital reserve accounts defeated . . . Proposal to sell of lease Squam Lake Dam hydroelectric generating facility approved. . . . Zoning ordinance calling for local control of large wind energy systems approved 330-120.

GROTON — Robert Ferriere (55) elected to Selectboard over Ronald Madan (43).

BRIDGEWATER — Skip Jenness (208) re-elected to Selectboard over Ron Olszack (40). . . .Article 5, calling for feasibility study of Bridgewater and Hebron withdrawing from Newfound Regional School District approved.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 618

ELECTION RESULTS - Midnight

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL SPECIAL ELECTION — No final results are expected until sometime on Wednesday. Associated Press is reporting at 10 p.m. that both the Kenney and Cryans camp were declaring the race too close to call. The Secretary of State's office said full results may not be posted until late Wednesday.

ALTON — Workforce housing ordinance passes 634 to 297. . . Petitioned article to stop membership in Lakes Region Planning Commission defeated 558 to 370. Petitioned article to eliminate town planner position defeated 650 to 283. Petitioned article to eliminate town assessor position defeated 658 to 282. Article to combine town clerk and tax collector positions approved 609 to 326. . . Cydney Johnson (517) and Lou LaCourse (503 elected to Selectboard over Phil Whittmann (503).

GILFORD — Renovation and expansion of police station approved 570-296 (60% required and 65% achieved). . . Richard "Rags" Grenier elected to Selectboard without opposition. . . . Kevin Roy (578), Sue Greene (528) and Kevin Leandro (389) elected to Budget Committee. Other candidates included Scott Davis (373) and Skip Murphy (361).

MEREDITH — Hillary Seeger (518) elected to Selectboard. Dave Sticht received 185 write-in votes. . . . Four zoning ordinance amendments approved.

BELMONT — Ron Cormier (169) re-elected to Selectboard over Don McLelland, Sr. (151) and George Condodemetraky (99) . . . Peter Harris and Rick Segalini elected to Planning Board. 71% majority approves transferring funds to complete section 1 of BRATT Trail (60% majority required). . . Historic Demolition Review Committee initiative rejected 289 to 124.

TILTON — Joe Jesseman (158) and Jonathan Scanlon (154) elected to Selectboard over Peter Fogg (145) and Wayne Brock (101).

NEW HAMPTON — All warrant articles passes except one calling for purchase of emergency operations command vehicle.

SANDWICH — Howard Cunningham elected to another term on Inter-Lakes School Board via write-in (106 in Sandwich and 108 in Meredith). . . Four proposed zoning ordinance changes pass easily.

BRISTOL — Richard Alpers (335) and Shaun Lagueux (324) elected to Selectboard over Paul Manganiello (319) and Andrew O'Hara, Jr. (274). David Carr (429), Thomas Keegan (416), Donald Milbrand (329) and Kevin MacCaffire (322) elected to Budget Committee. Jon Thouin received 318 votes.

ASHLAND — Normand DeWolfe (302) and Steve Felton (172) elected to Selectboard (three year position) over Jamie Lyford (90), John Hughes (83) and Miriam Brown (58). . . . Frances Newton (160) elected to Selectboard (one year position) over Harold Lamos (91), Ron Niles (90) and Anthony Hoerter (48). . . . Harold Lamos (222)and Sandra Coleman (199) elected to Budget Committee over Ingrid Heidenreich (171). . . Article calling for purchase of former elementary school as new home for public library defeated 299-149. . . . Proposed town operating budget defeated . . . Purchase of mini loader for transfer station and pick-up truck for public works also defeated. . . Requests to place funds in capital reserve accounts defeated . . . Proposal to sell of lease Squam Lake Dam hydroelectric generating facility approved. . . . Zoning ordinance calling for local control of large wind energy systems approved 330-120.

GROTON — Robert Ferriere (55) elected to Selectboard over Ronald Madan (43).

BRIDGEWATER — Skip Jenness (208) re-elected to Selectboard over Ron Olszack (40). . . .Article 5, calling for feasibility study of Bridgewater and Hebron withdrawing from Newfound Regional School District approved.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 882

City welfare guidelines amended to strike automatic right to re-apply 6 months after a suspension

LACONIA — After some debate the City Council this week amended the welfare guidelines to clarify when a person receiving general assistance who has been disqualified may submit a new application for assistance.

The guidelines stipulate that, subject to two conditions, a welfare officer is not required to accept an application from a recipient who has been suspended or disqualified for failing to comply with the requirements set forth in the guidelines. These include disclosing and verifying all income and other resources, participating in the work program, searching for gainful employment and seeking other specified sources of public assistance.

The first condition is that provided any applicant contesting their disqualification can request a hearing. The second, and more controversial condition, reads "that a recipient who has been suspended for at least six months due to noncompliance may file a new application."

City officials who administer the welfare program expressed concern that recipients — and their advocates — were interpreting the second condition to entitle them to file a new application for assistance six months after being disqualified regardless of whether or not they have resolved the issues leading to their suspension. Consequently, they asked the council to strike the language from the guidelines, which the council, after some debate, did.

Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2) was concerned that recipients for one reason or another may fail to contest their suspension in a timely manner, effectively forfeiting their right to appeal the decision. In such cases, where the grounds for suspension remain in question, he suggested that recipients, after foregoing assistance for six months, should be entitled to file a new application. Rather than striking the language, he proposed amending it by adding a phrase authorizing the welfare officer to "consider past issues of non-compliance" in weighing the new application.

The council rejected Bownes's amendment then voted to strike the second condition from the guidelines by a vote of five-to-one, with Bownes dissenting.

NOTES: City Manager Scott Myers said that the Department of Public Works has overspent its winter maintenance budget by $41,334 with another storm in the offing. But, he assured the council that roads will be plowed. sanded and salted. He anticipated that the deficit could be overcome within the operating budget, from surpluses in appropriations for compensation and benefits and withdrawals from contingency, which has a balance of $50,000, without dipping into the winter maintenance stabilization fund. "We'll look at the options and I expect us to be fine," he said. . . . Myers told the councilors that he will present his 2014-2015 city budget at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on March 24. . . . The City Council reappointed Jim Rogato to the Licensing Board, where he has served since it was established in 1986. Bob Selig, who has chaired the Board of Trustees of the Laconia Public Library since 1999, and John Perley were reappointed to the board for three year terms while Craig McKeon was named an alternate. Don Flanders, who joined Trustees of the Trust Fun in 2002, was reappointed to a fifth three-year term. Linda Peary was reappointed to the Advisory Committee of the Putnam Fund. Pamela Clark, Dorothy Duffy and Mary Jane Hoey, all charter members of the Heritage Commission were reappointed to three year terms while Charlie St. Clair, another charter member, and Ellen Boudman were appointed as alternate members.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 01:28

Hits: 286

 
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