To The Daily Sun,
Belknap County's Commission is a three-member board (as mandated by N.H, Statute RSA 28) comprised of part-time elected officials responsible for overall supervision, custody and care of all county departments, buildings and land, and have budgetary oversight of all county expenditures with approval of the Executive Committee of the Belknap County Convention.
Unlike the Convention/Delegation or its Executive Committee, no provision for a commission vice chair exists, nor does the law describe the duties of the vice chair.
Following the November General Election of a majority (2 of 3) of Belknap County Commission and the subsequent resignation of Commissioner Nedeau, at the commissions' first meeting of 2015, as mandated by law they chose "from their number a chairman and a clerk". Absent a resignation or removal by the court for misconduct of a member, no changes in the legally organized commission shall take place until the next election.
However, what took place was the election of Richard Burchell, chair of the commission and David DeVoy as "vice chair". The position of clerk, held by Mr. Nedeau, was not addressed.
What is problematic is that unlike the Convention/Delegation or its Executive Committee, no provisions for a "commission vice chair" exists, nor does the law describe the duties of the vice chair. Therefore, by default David DeVoy summarily is the clerk.
With the appointment of Hunter Taylor no election is allowed, as the makeup of the county is complete — chair, clerk and the third commissioner.
Until such time as a new member(s) of the County Convention is or are elected at a statewide election, no election shall take place amongst the three commissioners. The Legislature made no provision for conducting re-election regarding the makeup of the county commission for any non-election reason. If the courts would implement a free-for-all every time a two-out-of-three majority vote changed as to who was the chairperson and who is the clerk, based on personalities, political ideology or dislike, there would be no consistent administration structure of county government.
Accordingly, the county brouhaha is another black eye for Belknap County. Clearly the court will find that the composition of the commission, subject to a death, resignation or Superior Court removal for official misconduct, Richard Burchell is the chairman, David DeVoy is the default clerk and Hunter Taylor is simply commissioner.
Furthermore, the implementation of an all-day meeting of a public body regarding its annual budget, clearly results in a circumvention of the public's right to observe the actions of government.
Thomas A. Tardif