By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Former Laconia Mayor Tom Tardif has filed a complaint in Belknap County Superior Court alleging Right-to-Know law violations by the Belknap County Delegation in its approval of a collective bargaining agreement with the unionized employees of the Belknap County Corrections Department.
The approval came at an April 8 meeting of the Belknap County Convention, which was held after the convention had recessed two meetings that week, on April 4 and April 6, due to the lack of a quorum.
Tardif maintains that no discussion took place at the first two meetings which justified either a recess or a continuation and that the Right-to-Know law's provision for a seven-day notice before a meeting can be held was violated by the convention's action.
He has asked for a declaratory judgment from the court, which would prevent the convention from recessing a meeting at which a quorum had not been attained and prevent it from taking any action at that meeting other than setting a date, time and place for a subsequent meeting.
The delegation also authorized the transfer of $50,013 to cover the cost items of the contract with the Corrections Department union at the April 8 meeting. Tardif has asked that court prevent the commissioners from encumbering the funds to pay for the increased cost of the contract.
Tardif maintains that the Belknap County Commissioners were also present at all three meetings and that they too violated the Right-to-Know law by failing to provide notice of the second two meetings.
Tardif has filed many legal actions against both the county and City of Laconia in recent years.
• Last year, he filed a suit charging that the City Council violated the state Right-to-Know law (RSA 91-A) on two occasions in October 2014, when it discussed behind closed doors the possible purchase of the Belknap Mill and the course of unrelated pending litigation was denied by Justice Charles Temple of Carroll County Superior Court.
Originally filed in Belknap County Superior Court, the case was transferred to Carroll County when Justice James D. O'Neill III recused himself.
• The Belknap County Delegation in 2013 had to hold a second vote to elect its officers for 2013-2014 after Tardif and Dave Gammon charged that the original election in December 2012 by secret paper ballot violated the Right-to-Know law. Tardif and Gammon had brought suit against the convention in Belknap County Superior Court, arguing that there is no basis in New Hampshire law for conducting any secret ballot vote during a meeting of a public board and that, in fact, RSA 91-A, specially prohibits such a practice.
• Tardif and Lambert also challenged the Belknap County Delegation's vote when it hired Craig Wiggin as sheriff in 2007 to replace Dan Collis. They maintained that the vote to hire him was not taken in public and they won a state Supreme Court decision which forced the county to have recorded public votes by convention members.
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