By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) was re-elected as chairman of the Belknap County Commission when commissioners met for an organizational meeting Tuesday morning.
Newly elected Commissioner Glen Waring (R-Gilmanton,) who shortly before the meeting had taken the oath of office, was elected vice chairman, and Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) was named clerk.
Waring replaces Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), whom he defeated in the Republican primary 1,078-678, and went on to win a four-year term in November. Burchell had frequently been at odds with his fellow commissioners and had been ousted as chairman in March of 2015 following disputes with DeVoy and Taylor.
Both DeVoy and Taylor said they are pleased Waring is joining the commission. He currently serves as finance director for the town of Gilford and formerly was the finance director for Belknap County.
Waring said he is pleased by the response to his candidacy by the voters who saw his experience in county government, where he served as finance director from 2011 to 2015, as a plus. He said he is looking forward to working in a professional and collaborative manner with his colleagues .
Also taking the oath of office Tuesday as commissioner was Taylor, who two years ago was appointed to the commission. Taylor defeated Jonathan Smolin of Alton 2,035 to 591 in the District 3 commission primary race and won a two-year term in November.
Burchell became commissioner after defeating incumbent Commissioner John Thomas (R-Belmont) in the 2014 GOP primary 808-671 and winning an uncontested general election. He had campaigned in opposition to the existing commissioners and their assertion of authority over budget transfers, an issue which was later resolved in court in favor of the county delegation.
After Burchell was elected to the county commission, Commissioner Stephen Nedeau (R-Meredith) resigned his seat, saying he was unable to work with the new commissioners, leaving only Burchell and DeVoy, both of whom were newly elected. Burchell became chairman, but when the county delegation appointed Taylor to fill the vacant seat, he soon found himself a minority of one. At a clamorous meeting in March of 2015, Burchell was ousted as chairman by a two-to-one vote, which he challenged without success in Superior Court.
The relationship between the three current commissioners continued to remain stormy. At a June 4 meeting in 2015, commissioners Taylor and DeVoy censured Burchell for leaking information from a nonpublic meeting to former Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator Matthew Logue, held while Burchell was still chairman.
DeVoy and Taylor again censured Burchell in May of last year for what they said was official misconduct in connection with his attempts to access protected medical records in the state Department of Health and Human Services database. Burchell maintained he was only seeking the information in order to find out how state reimbursements to county homes are determined.
Richard "Dick" Burchell
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