LACONIA — After consulting with legal counsel, the Belknap County Commissioners yesterday agreed to pursue their appeal to the state Supreme Court of the ruling by the Belknap County Convention's Personnel Committee that reversed the commissioners' decision to terminate County Nursing Home Administrator Dennis Logue.
After being fired by the commissioners in September, Logue appealed to the Personnel Committee, consisting of Reps. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), who chairs the convention, Bob Greemore (R-Meredith), the vice-chairman, and Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), the clerk. Following a daylong hearing, the committee unanimously voted to overturn the decision of the commission. The commission, in turn, promptly placed Logue on administrative leave with pay, and asked the committee to rehear the case. When the committee refused, the commission indicated it would appeal.
In the meantime, two of the sitting commissioners — Ed Philpot a Laconia Democrat, and John Thomas a Belmont Republican — were replaced at the general election. Dave DeVoy of Sanbornton succeeded Philpot, who chose not to seek re-election, and Burchell defeated Thomas in the primary.
Little more than a week after the election DeVoy and Burchell, who together will represent a majority of the commission when they take office in January, issued a joint statement announcing that they would withdraw the appeal of the Personnel Committee's decision. "It is counter-productive, in our view, to spend time and the public purse on a course of action which has been repudiated by the voters,'' the two commissioners-elect wrote in a letter published in the Daily Sun.
The newly elected commission — DeVoy, Burchell and incumbent Steve Nedeau of Meredith — would have to take a positive vote to withdraw the appeal. But, Burchell was a member of the Personnel Committee who voted to reinstate Logue. That is to say, he was party to the decision under appeal and could be deemed to have a conflict of interest in voting to withdraw the appeal. Without Burchell's vote a motion to withdraw the appeal would fail for want of a majority.
Burchell said yesterday, "My instinct is that I would not have a conflict of interest," but added, "I haven't studied it and I would seek independent legal counsel. I wouldn't want to lose the power to do one job," he continued, "because I exercised the power to do another job."
Burchell said that he looked forward to "working toward solutions rather than be mired in legal actions."
Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 01:41
BELMONT – Lakes Region Child Care Services has plans to relocate its program from the Belmont Mill to 24 East Gate Park.
Program Director Marti Ilg said the relocation will allow the program to serve up to 15 more children – helping to alleviate the waiting list of nearly 20 children.
"We're trying to responsibly meet the demands of child care in the area," Ilg said yesterday.
Lakes Region Child Care operates three facilities – one in Belmont, one in Laconia and one on Plymouth. Its programs served 440 children from 28 individual communities last year. The agency employs 43 people and provides just under 60,000 days of day care to area families, said Ilg.
They also operate summer programs from Laconia's and Belmont's four total elementary schools.
The agency has been operating in Belmont program from the Belmont Mill since 2006.
"We've maximized the space over there and they've (the mill and the town of Belmont) been very good to us," said Ilg. She said the mill facility has a maximum capacity of 45 children, but because of staggered scheduling, this year they serviced 55 children.
"We have wait lists for all of our programs," she said.
Ilg said the new space is about 4,000 square feet – nearly double the space in the Belmont Mill.
She said along with the additional space for programs, the agency has plans to relocate one of the offices from Laconia to Belmont, possibly opening up more space in the Laconia program.
Ilg said the agency presented its proposal to the Application Review Committee in Belmont and received some overall favorable responses.
She said there are plans to put the playground in the rear of the building where now there is pavement. The plan is to have Pike Industries reclaim the pavement.
She said there is a "U" driveway in front of the building that could allow buses, although she said the vast majority of the children are brought to the school by their parents.
She said Police Chief Mark Lewandoski initially expressed some concerns about the additional traffic entering and exiting East Gate Park, but was somewhat relieved when he learned that the children are brought to the agency a various times during the day.
Ilg said the agency has hired Warren Architects to complete the plans, and Meredith Village Savings Bank will be used for financing the building retrofit.
Ilg said she hopes to appear before the Planning Board in December for the site plan review and then they can go to the various state licensing boards for all the necessary approvals.
She said if all goes as planned, Lakes Region Child Care could be in its new location by next April or May.
"I think this will work out well," Ilg said. "We can expand our programming and the town can go forward with their plans for the Belmont Mill. This is a win-win."
Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 02:15
CORRECTION — An article in the Laconia Daily Sun earlier this week mistakenly reported that the Tilton property tax rate has been set at $19.91. The story overlooked the tax rate for the Titlton-Northfield Fire District of $2.17, which when added to town, school and county tax rates raises the total tax rate to $22.08 per $1,000 of assessed value. We regret the error.
Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 02:11
LACONIA – Police have identified the woman who died of a suspected drug overdose in Weirs Beach sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning as Susan Clark, 50, of 30 Weeks St.
Police said Clark likely died of a heroin overdose and the investigation into her death is active and ongoing.
Police said they found paraphernalia consistent with heroin use, as well as some paraphernalia often used in other drug use, but declined to elaborate.
To date this year, police have investigated eight suspected heroin overdoses in the city.
Last week, Stand Up Laconia working with the Laconia Police held an information grieving session that was attended by about 150 people.
Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 01:32
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