LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioner Richard Burchell said yesterday while he was not thoroughly familiar with the ruling of Justice James D. O'Neill, III of Belknap County Superior Court upholding the vote of his fellow commissioners David DeVoy and Hunter Taylor to oust him from the chair. "If there is a sound basis to appeal, I will, but I will not appeal for no reason," he said.
Burchell was elected chairman of the commission on January 8, but soon found himself at odds with his colleagues, who not only questioned his approach to managing the affairs of the county but also found his temperament crippled the work of the commission. At a stormy meeting on March 2, the two voted to reorganize the commission by replacing Burchell as chairman with DeVoy and electing Taylor as vice-chairman and Burchell as clerk. Burchell turned to the court seeking reinstatement.
Earlier this week O'Neill found that the county commission is bound by majority rule and that the power to appoint carries with it the power to remove, concluding that the election of new officers complied with the law.
Burchell questioned O'Neill's reasoning, which he suggested appeared to rest on "pretty ancient court case", but said he was consult with his attorney, David Horan of Manchester, before deciding how to respond to the decision.
However, Burchell insisted that whatever the outcome, "I'm going to stay the course and pursue what I believe are reasonable policies." He emphasized that tensions among the commissioners should not overshadow or obscure the differences over public policy at stake.
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