Published DateTo the editor,
When there is a problem, the best idea is to go back and read the directions. In the United States, the "directions" for all government are in our Constitutions.
The "directions" in the N.H. Constitution, Part I, Article 1', say, "all government of right originates from the people,". Any one who has spent time in government has seen examples where those in government have violated "all government of right originates from the people". For example, in Part II, Article 6a, the Constitution says that gas taxes are to go to construction and maintenance of highways, or part II, Article 6b, lottery funds are to go to education, or Part I, Article 21, jurors are "to be fully compensated"; (but currently, jurors are paid at the rate of $2.50 an hour — with a possible penalty of being jailed if they object), etc.
Therefore any claim the County Commissioners may be making about their governmental abilities, must be able to be found in the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, which, if you were to read it, you would find, while it mentions other county officers, the Constitution does not mention County Commissioners.
Part I in the N.H. Constitution is followed by Part II. In Part II, Article 2 says; "The supreme legislative power within this state shall be vested in the Senate and House of Representatives". The County Delegation of every county, Belknap County included, is composed of representatives. And in N.H. it is the representatives who, per the N.H. Constitution hold the "supreme legislative powers". The County Commissioners are not mentioned in the N.H. Constitution. The County Commissioners have no powers of a legislative nature. Therefore the County Commissioners cannot lawfully reapportion money in the county budget in any manner that is different from that set by the County Delegation.
Oh yes, essentially all purely governmental activities of those in office are to be public, nothing with a governmental content that the County Commissioners do, that applies only to themselves, is to be "confidential". The governmental activities of the County Commissioners are not private. If they wish to keep a report of their hired attorneys "confidential" then they can do that only if they pay for such "confidential" services out of their own pocket and do not use such "confidential" information in any way that affects the County Delegation or of anything they might do in county government.