To The Daily Sun,
I thank the lady from Laconia, Ms. Lawrence, for expressing her outrage as to her interpretations of the behavior of one of OUR town employees here in Gilford, who was recently forced out of their job by two selectmen. She is certainly entitled to "her" outrage but we are left a bit perplexed as to whether she or someone in her social or business associate's hierarchy will be some how benefited from this recent course of events? I believe she has made some erroneous assertions in her recent letter. Perhaps she owns a business in Gilford that she pays property taxes on?
She has asserted that, "Adultery... is not a crime anymore" ... "Just because it is not on the books anymore..." This is just not factual as the NH RSA-645 statues on Public Indecency, do in fact define this as a crime. It is a misdemeanor in fact. "The other officer ... has not been raked over the coals,.." Well, I would strongly disagree with that as Ms Lawrence is in fact in her letter raking this person over the coals over a very private matter in a local newspaper.
I occasionally attend the public meetings as held for the conducting of the public's business both for town and county. At the beginning of each meeting I risk being ejected for taking what I call, only the "Catholic" version of the pledge of allegiance to the flag. I simply do not believe we have as yet established, "liberty and justice for all". I do remove my hat in deference and recite the earlier part I hold to be of the greatest merit.
In the case of the forced resignation of Gilford's police chief, I applaud Ms. Lawrence's last statement as to the condemnation of "hypocrites". In my humble opinion, the two selectmen who forced this matter to this as yet to be concluded unsavory end indeed acted as hypocrites by first taking the full pledge of allegiance and then acting capriciously and then with as yet to determined in court, possible commissions to violations of New Hampshire and/or U.S. law.
I am not an attorney, yet I have five reasons to put forward as to how and why they acted improperly. #1 - The primary reason for seeking the resignation seems to have been the citing of NH law RSA 645. They have so far not sought the resignation of the second police officer who has as explained may also been possibly established as having had committed a misdemeanor as well under the same statute. The chief of police is then singled out for forfeiture of his job but not the other "perp". #2 - The Selectmen did not act in a unanimous vote or sentiment on the seeking of the chief's resignation. This is troubling as to the reason for one to have dissented and as to whether he may have felt the Selectboard was perhaps engaging in some action that was neither reasonable or customary in such a situation as was to their unanimous discontent. "No cruel or unusual punishments inflicted" as per the possible violation of the chief's 8th amendment rights. #3 - The Constitution provides no specific rights to privacy but our law continues to evolve so as to establish at least some rules of common decency. It has been reported that there may have been some contact with the marriage counselor of the chief of police and his wife, by one of the selectmen seeking the chief's removal. Perhaps it is a stretch to imagine this as a violation of HIPPA rules but the HIPPA rules and doctor, lawyer to patient, client rules for privacy in the law do establish what is reasonable and customary and why there is a need for these legal protections. #4 - The town seems not to have had in effect any clear regulations prohibiting internal fraternizations and romantic liaisons with warnings that such would be a basis for dismissal. As the results at our nation's U.S. military academies show where rape has been rampant with out Congress taking any effective measures to resolve that, we find that anti-fraternization policies may be better relaxed and educational programs to promote social responsibility and to educate people on what it means to be socially responsible may be more effective? #5 - There has been no establishment of the chief being in any way insubordinate in the conducting of his official professional duties other than this tawdry personal situation which should never have gotten to this point, an outrageous seeking of retribution against him, that could also be a violation of the Gilford taxpayer's right to have a CLEAR separation of church and state.
Here we are in the season acknowledging how long the world was left in sin and error pinning. I consider myself a Christian. We were married in the "ONE TRUE Church" as it was taught to us, but now subscribe to a different denomination. I truly believe in the one wife for life plan as a natural order for mankind. I love the parable of the good seed equally as to the one of the vineyard owner. I love the amendments to our Constitution that define our rights as citizens, equally as well. For years Gilford taxpayers were tortured by a certain pest at our beach. For years the complaints went unheeded. That seems finally to have been resolved? Sometimes employees need to be removed for cause. Generally though they are first offered an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves before such egregious sanctions as dismissal are sought against them, their families and careers. I indeed think it is hypocritical for anyone on the Selectboard to claim that they have the higher clearer vision to see what is morally right in a society we continue to define and most love as a secular one.
In this matter I as a taxpayer of GILFORD am the MOST CONCERNED with what this capricious action by the Selectboard will have in what is ultimately and perhaps what in court will be determined as a properly enhanced severance package for the chief of police. The bard has counseled that ambition can be a very grievous fault and that we may if found to be truly ambitious, be made to pay for that in a grievous manner. The Gilford Budget Committee is currently in session reviewing the many requests from department heads and the school district for things our town is in dire or approximate need of. We are contemplating after a proper period of demonstrated need and with recognized cost abatement proposals a bond for the renovation and retro fit expansion of our police station. There are many good projects that may end as delayed or even cancelled if the costs to the town for the removal of the chief of police rise to be a substantial sum. A letter of reprimand and a period of leave without pay may in the end prove to have been a lot more cost effective to our taxpayers pocket books than this very ambitious change in personnel in our police department. For disclosure purposes, an officer of the Gilford Police Department is within feet of being one of my abutters. Otherwise, I have no social or business relationships I am aware of with anyone in the department. I do feel my neighborhood is a safer one given who lives here.