By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILMANTON — It's been a topic of discussion for years, but the meeting office space next door to the town clerk/tax collector's office is now a private office for that official and the supervisors of the checklist, despite the desire of many board members who met there to stay put.
According to Town Administrator Paul Branscombe, all boards will now meet in the upstairs auditorium.
But, and according to multiple emails obtained from the town, with the exception of the selectmen, most chairmen of town boards and the recently ousted former selectmen's Chairman Michael Jean were not in agreement.
"I guess I find (this) hard to understand when our town has functioned so well with our meetings downstairs," wrote Zoning Board Chairman Elizabeth Hackett in an email to the assistant town administrator.
"I still want to use the small conference room as do most of the Planning Board members," wrote Planning Board Chairman Wayne Ogni.
One of the problems with using the auditorium is acoustics.
"I wish they could consider what could be done to improve sound muffling upstairs," wrote former selectman Betty Ann Abbott.
Branscombe said Thursday that curtains have been installed to close off the stage area and he is looking into some prices for some portable microphones.
"In the summer, if memory serves, it is unbearable upstairs," said Abbott.
Branscombe has recommended purchasing a few ceiling fans to try and cool the area in the summer and to circulate the air in the winter.
Former Chairman Michael Jean said earlier this week that he thinks his reluctance to agree with the other two selectmen had something to do with his ouster as chairman.
"I didn't agree with that decision," he said, adding he's not exactly sure when the decision was made or who made it.
"I left you a message to say that you were quite correct we do not need to bring this matter up at a BOS meeting as it has nothing to do with the general public," wrote Branscombe to board member Steve McWhinnie on May 31 in an email not included in The Laconia Daily Sun's Right-To-Know request for all of the emails regarding this decision but one that was widely circulated and reached a quorum of the selectmen.
Jean said earlier this week he thinks that because all of the town's board meetings were held in that room, it should have been discussed and voted upon in public. He said he voiced that opinion to Branscombe in a private email on July 1.
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 461