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Commission can elect new chair when it wants

LACONIA — Justice James D. O'Neill, III of the Belknap County Superior Court this week dismissed the complaint brought by Belknap County Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) that he was wrongfully ousted as chairman of the commission by his fellow commissioners, David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) and Hunter Taylor (R-Alton).

"I'm very happy and it's a relief," said DeVoy, who succeeded Burchell as chairman. "Hopefully all three commissioners will get along and we'll move forward with the business of the county."

"I'm glad we have this behind us," echoed Taylor, "and hopefully we can all go forward together for the good of the county."

Burchell could not be reached yesterday for comment.

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 loud, 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, first seeking an injunction to forestall the reorganization of the commission and then a declaratory judgment restoring his chairmanship. DeVoy and Taylor filed separate motions asking the court to dismiss Burchell's complaint.

Burchell, represented by attorney David Horan, claimed that when the board convened on January 8 it not only elected him chairman but also agreed to require 14 days advanced notice to place an item on the agenda of commission meetings and to adopt "Simplified Roberts' Rules of Order" to govern the procedure of commission meetings. He noted that reorganization of the commission was not included on the original agenda for the meeting on March 2, but did appear on an agenda issued on February 27, contrary to the rule requiring 14 days notice. Furthermore, Burchell argued that there was no authority in either state law of Roberts' Rules to reorganize the commission.

In his order O'Neill cited the state statute bearing on county commissions (RSA 28:1-b) stipulating that "all rights, authority and powers of the county commissioners shall be exercised only by a vote of a majority of the county commissioners." Since the commission must elect officers, he held that it authority to do so "must be and can only be exercised by majority vote." The New Hampshire Supreme Court, the justice continued, has recognized that "the power to appoint inferentially carried with it the power to remove" and concluded that "the Court is compelled to conclude that the election of new officers on March 2, 2015 fully complied with the statutory requirements."

All three commissioners are new to the job. Burchell and DeVoy were elected in November and took office at the first of the year. Taylor was appointed by Burchell and DeVoy to fill a vacancy left by the post-election resignation of Steve Nedeau (R-Meredith).

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2015 12:44

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Belknap reps unite to help pass House budget

CONCORD — The Belknap County Delegation — all Republicans — voted unanimously with the GOP majority yesterday when the New Hampshire House of Representatives adopted its 2016-2017 biennial budget.,

House Bill 1, the budget, carried the House by a party-line vote of 212 to 161 and House Bill 2, the so-called companion bill, passed by the narrower margin of 194 to 179.

All 15 members of the 18 member county delegation who were present voted in the majority for both bills. Those present and voting were: Glen Aldrich, Russ Dumais and George Hurt of Gilford, Dennis Fields and Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton, Robert Fisher, Bob Luther, Peter Spanos and Frank Tilton of Laconia, Valerie Fraser of New Hampton, Ray Hpward and Peter Varney of Alton, Shari LeBreche and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, and Herb Vadney of Meredith.

Two members, Gallagher and Spanos, parted company with the rest on an amendment to HB-2 to introduce Keno, which carried with 206 votes in favor and 176 against. Keno, an electronic game of chance played in bars and restaurants by wagering that a series numbers will appear an screen, is estimated to generate between $8 million and $12 million in revenue for the state, which would be applied to the education trust fund. The House voted for Keno last year, but the Senate scuttled it. Governor Maggie Hassan included Keno in her budget this year.

Fields was the lone member of the delegation to vote in favor of an amendment to HB-2, sponsored by Democratic representatives, that would have raised the cigarette tax and closed offshore loopholes to businesses seeking to shed tax liabilities. Fields also alone voted for an amendment, also sponsored by Democrats, that would have funded a pay increase for state employees.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2015 01:39

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GHS senior who is Miss N.H. contestant hosting fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

GILFORD — Miss New Hampshire contestant Kylee-Ann Drew is excited to help organize a fund-raiser to benefit "young kids who need it the most". The fund-raiser to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals will take place at Patrick's Pub & Eatery and will run from April 6-9. On those dates, Patrick's will donate 25 percent of the food portion of each check to the cause. Drew will be in attendance, periodically, to thank patrons.

Each year, Patrick's hosts around 25 fund-raisers through its Giving Back program, and more than $10,000 in donations are given back to the community.

Drew's Miss New Hampshire platform is based on "empowering communities through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America". She has already been giving back to her community by volunteering at the Lakes Region Boys & Girls Club in Laconia, where she teaches hip-hop dance to children once a week. She says, "The Miss New Hampshire and Miss America organizations really help young girls by providing scholarships. It's going to help me tremendously and it helps millions of other girls around the country."

Drew is a senior at Gilford High School and will graduate in June. She has been accepted to multiple colleges, and although she has not yet chosen a major, she has a strong interest in eventually studying dentistry.

Drew won the Miss Deerfield Fair title last fall, which is one of 27 local Miss New Hampshire titles. Her talent is tap-dancing, and she plans to dance to Michael Jackson's song "Slave to the Rhythm."

Miss New Hampshire preliminaries will be held on April 30 and May 1, and the final will be on May 2. All events are at the Stockbridge Theatre on the campus of Pinkerton Academy in Derry.

Call 437-9027 to get a ticket brochure, or visit MissNewHampshire.org for more information.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2015 01:36

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Gilford officer returns from 3 months at FBI Academy

GILFORD — After spending three months in Quantico, Va. at the FBI Academy, Lt. Kristin Kelley has a new appreciation of a lot of things — his family, his job and his community.

Kelley returned last week from the prestigious school armed with new tools that will help him be a better leader in the Police Department, a trusted official in the eyes of the people he is there to serve, and a better husband and father to his young family.

"You have to have a strong moral compass to do this job," he said yesterday from behind his desk that was piled with books and binders he acquired from the academy.

"My desk doesn't usually look like this," he said, asking not to have his photo taken while sitting behind it.

Kelley took four classes during his three-months at Quantico — management psychology, conflict resolution and leadership, ethics and business development.
His fourth class was one he wanted to take but wasn't necessarily part of his mission at the academy — the psycho-pathological behavior of violent offenders.

He said he actually found it fascinating not only because of the subject matter but the course was taught in part by agents of the FBI's Behavior Analysis Unit, who taught students not only about the inner minds of violent offenders but how its own teams are organized and effective.

Kelley also took a class in media relations — a topic that is always near and dear to the heart of the person designated by the department to speak to the media.

"It's not the content, but the messaging," he said.

He said the police have to listen to what the members of the community are saying, what information they want to known and understand and to keep the public's trust about what they are being told.

Kelley said much of the insight he gathered was from stories shared in class about media relationships — some of which have failed miserably and some of which were successful.

"When bad things happen we have to let the people know that they can trust us with their lives and safety," he said.

As to his role as administrator, he said the academy provided top-notch instructors and provided speakers who taught them how to cultivate the best they can get from a diverse group of employees.

"Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses," he said. "It's our jobs as managers to make sure that people strengths are matched with they job they do."

He also said part of his job is to prepare the people behind him for the day he retires. "We as leaders must cultivate the next generation of leadership," he said.

He noted that any department that fails to function when one of its leaders is gone for three months needs to take a hard look at itself. As to Gilford, he smiled and said his absence was barely noted.

He said Gilford has a great team of police officers and civilian employees who know their jobs and will continue to do them despite what happenstance and circumstance throws its way.

When asked what Gilford is doing right, he said that in his opinion most of the people of Gilford feel that the police are truly out there to help them.

He said his whole reason for being a police officer was to help the people in his community stay safe and to assist them through the hard parts.

"We also want people to know we are humans, too," he said.

As to family, he said many conversations he had both in class and with the friends he made were about priorities — like keeping your family first and preventing police burn-out.

He said knowing when an officer under his command is facing burn out or family issues is key to being a good leader. He also said learning how to better help his employees in crisis is one of the most important things he learned.

As to his own family, he said he never knew how much he would miss them and they him.

He mentioned coming home once and finding it nearly impossible to remove himself from his home and go back to Virginia.

"I know now how hard my wife works to keep our household together," he said.

From his short time away from home, Kelley said he learned a little bit about how deployed military personnel feel.

"I can never understand what a deployed service member really goes through, but as far as family and home, I think I got a small taste of what's it's like," he said. "And my hat and heart goes out to all of them."

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2015 01:22

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