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No interim reports to explain deterioration at jail is serious matter

To The Daily Sun,

In response to Commissioner Philpot's letter to the editor of November 12, the ad hoc jail planning committee wishes to make the following points:

1. The commission has been told by many, including the Laconia City Council, that, while they may feel that the Ricci Greene jail project can be built for less than originally estimated, they should look for a solution which is more affordable to the citizenry. Appealing to buzzwords such as "value engineering" does little to gainsay the fact that the county cannot afford this outsized proposal.

2. As recently as this past Spring, the commissioners identified as stakeholders only those working within the system. When this was pointed out in a letter to the editor the language was removed from the county website and after opposition to the Ricci Greene proposal became apparent, the commissioners then formed a second jail committee. This committee has doubled down on the proposal despite the questionable assumptions and lack of metrics in the Bennett report on which the Ricci Greene
plans are based.

3. The 30:12-B section of state law which requires timely filing of reports related to the jail is not a suggestion but a mandate and the failure of the commissioners to comply is a serious matter. We plan to ask the Attorney General's office to investigate this non-compliance with the law. That conditions were described as satisfactory in 2009 and as dire in 2013, with no interim reports to explain the deterioration, is a serious matter.

4. The commissioners determined advocacy for Ricci Greene excludes the consideration of other possibilities. While seeking to pressure the delegation into acceptance of Ricci Greene, an open dialogue between the two elected bodies has never been attempted. Bullying and accusatory tactics on the part of the commission have been the order of the day.

5. The statement that the informal committee, which was set up because of concern that the commissioners were not making progress in preparing an alternate and affordable solution to the jail, is insufficiently knowledgeable is belied by our study of Bennett's report, Ricci Greene's plans and by visits not only to the Belknap jail but to jails in other counties. The official commission-led meetings have Bennett as a point of embarkation and Ricci Greene as a terminus; one need not ride on this railroad
to understand what is happening on County Drive.

Rep. Robert Greemore, Meredith

Rep. Mike Sylvia, Belmont

George Hurt, Gilford

Dave DeVoy, Sanbornton

Rep. Richard B. Burchell, Gilmanton

 
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