The quagmire that Belknap County Convention Chair Colette Worsman has created for this county is unnecessary and counterproductive.
As chairs of the Belknap County and Lakes Region Democrats, we are calling for a cease fire in the ongoing battle between the majority of the delegation's Republican members and the county commissioners. Rather than spend taxpayer money on legal representation, Rep. Worsman should reconsider her position on the line item spending issue, cancel the "non-meeting" in Concord on May 8th, and come back to the table with consensus and civility as the goals.
By calling a "non-meeting" followed by a public meeting, Rep. Worsman is walking a very narrow line. Calling for the county delegation to meet in Concord is highly unusual and effectively cuts Belknap County residents out of the conversation. Moreover, by summarily dismissing the information provided by Belknap County administration regarding the supplemental nursing home appropriation, while simultaneously demanding even more information, Rep. Worsman is potentially denying the public access to rehabilitation services (which could generate up to $200 million in additional revenue for the county) as well as overstepping her role as chair. Perhaps if Rep. Worsman had allowed the subcommittees more time to learn about the operation of the Nursing Home, rather than ramming through her slash-and-burn county budget that only is only balanced on the backs of our county employees, we wouldn't be in this mess. Regardless, whether or not the information provided by the administration is adequate is a question to be put to the entire delegation as well as the public at large. Instead of finding ways to get around New Hampshire's public meeting laws, Rep. Worsman should conduct the delegation's fact finding in public and on the record.
This latest skirmish is simply another in the stand off between Rep. Worsman and the county commissioners which began as soon as she took office. She lobbied aggressively for the chairperson slot and, upon her election, set off immediately on what appears to be a witch hunt. Belknap County has seen its share of misdeeds and reprehensible behavior at the county level, but those days are long gone. The current commissioners have earned the respect of, and have been re-elected by, the communities they serve because of their careful stewardship not only of tax dollars but also of the institutions in their care, among them the county courthouse, the Department of Corrections and the county nursing home. It is now Rep. Worsman's behavior that is reprehensible.
This vitriol must stop. This is a vendetta; it is not leadership. The ground on which Rep. Worsman is attempting to stand is shaky. Will she and the majority of like-minded Republicans in the county delegation please take a step back, listen with an open mind to the testimony and suggestions of the commissioners, the staff and the other public and move forward on behalf of all Belknap County residents?
Laconia/Belknap County Democrats
Denise Doyle & Kate Miller
Meredith/Lakes Region Democrats