In an article in The Laconia Daily Sun on May 16th — "Pass the Hat: Commission Refuses to Pay Convention's Legal Bill" — the reporter, Roger Amsden, states, "The issue Tardif raised was apparently resolved when the convention held a new election at which votes for the convention officers were made in public."
The case has NOT been Resolved. On April 1st, Chief Justice Tina L. Nadeau issued this order, "The Justice regularly assigned to the Belknap County Superior Court having recused himself from this case, the case is hereby transferred to the Grafton County Superior Court."
Belknap County Convention's habitude for ignoring the Right-to-Know law is not excusable; a) The county convention has violated RSA 91-A regarding the appointment of an elected officer. b) The convention chair and an employee also violated RSA 91-A. c) Belknap County is the first county to incur a default budget for failing to follow the appropriation laws.
The circumstances of the secret paper ballots arose out of the public's need for scrutiny. It is critical since there is no other manner in which the public could determine how their representatives voted, holding their representatives accountable.
The court has the discretion to invalidate the convention's use of secret paper ballots and resulting 2013/2014 Convention failure to notice the public hearing regarding the proposed annual budget, neither of which can be nullified by the multiple parry selections:
1. 10 December 2012, the vote to use Secret Ballot;
2. 10 December 2012, the implementation of secret paper ballots for the First Election of Convention Officer;
3. 10 December 2012, the implementation of secret paper ballots for the First Election of Executive Committee at-large Officer;
4. 04 February 2013, First Election of Executive Committee Officer;
5. 08 February 2013, Petition filed with Belknap County Superior Court;
6. 19 February 2013 Second Elections, re-affirmation of the 12/10/12 votes, in open session;
7. 07 March 2013, Motion for Clarification regarding the Appearance of Paul T. Fitzgerald;
8. 19 March 2013, Third Election of Convention Officers;
9. 01 April 2013, Petitioners filed its Motion for Summary Judgment;
10. 01 April 2013, Belknap Court Transferred the case to Grafton County Superior Court;
11. 08 April 2013, Executive Committee second election of officers;
12. 30 April 2013, Respondents Objection to Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross Motion;
13. 17 May 2013, Grafton County SS, Answer — Clarification of representation is MOOT;
14. 18 May 2013, Petitioner's Motion for reconsideration as to MOOT Point regarding Defendant's Representation.
Under RSA 91-A:8, II, "The court must invalidate an action of a public body or agency taken at a meeting held in violation of the provisions of the Right-to-Know. The circumstances justify such invalidation." State v. Lambert, 147 N.H. 295, 296 (2001)
The actions by the convention's attempts to fend off a court ordered resolution with multiple re-votes, should not have reached a different result absence secret paper ballots. However, after several re-votes, the outcome of the elections of convention officers and Executive Committee officers changed the makeup of both public bodies, proving the petitioner's action was necessary and the actions of the delegation's organizational structure is fatally flawed.
The fact is, the Tardif and Gammon v Belknap County Convention suit has not been resolved. "The courts shall give proceedings under this chapter high priority on the court calendar". February to May, and counting gives rise to why the case, which affects every county's situation on every even numbered year, has not even been scheduled for a hearing? Nor has either court issued an order in a timely manner?
David Gammon & Thomas A. Tardif