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Why did County Delegation sign Sheriff Department’s contract?

To The Daily Sun,

Here we go again. The Belknap County Commission signed the County Sheriff's Dept. union agreement/employment contract, to wit, the commission will bring to the Belknap County Delegation for approval. The question is why?

What's problematic is who has the final word regarding any employee agreement with unions: appointed administrator, department heads or sheriff deputies. What is clear is that the Delegation does not employ county employees. It's the commissioners of each county who shall employ such numbers of employee deem necessary. The Commissioners, however, do not have authority to interfere with the terms and conditions of Deputy Sheriffs' employment, so long as the Sheriff complies with the overall budget constraints relating to the deputy sheriffs.

Therefore, just exactly how did the Commission get involved with the elected sheriff's powers vested in the constitution? It is the sheriff who is the constitutional go-to person to negotiate wages and benefit of sheriff deputies. If the elected sheriff exceeds the department's annual appropriation then and only then can the commission exercise its administrative budgetary powers to affect the transfer necessary to abide by the labor agreement.

Accordingly, the Delegation adopts its annual budget resolution. Subsequently, the Commission administers the budget and seeks the approval of the Executive Committee to transfer unencumber appropriation line item amounts to other line items exceeding the estimated line item appropriation amounts.

Only, if or when, cost items associated with the wages and any benefit acquired through collective bargaining whose implementation results in exceeding the 2016 Fiscal Year's Grand Total Appropriation invokes a supplemental appropriation with the Delegation approval. In fact, the Delegation has no authority to alter the terms of any employment contractual agreements.

In the event of cost overruns of line item estimated appropriations involved with contract negotiation requiring additional revenues exceeding the Grand Total Annual Budget, the commissioners apply to the Delegation for a Supplemental Appropriation. In that event, the clerk of the convention shall deliver or mail to each member of the county convention (who will be in office on the date of the convention vote on the proposed supplemental appropriation) and to the chairperson of the board of selectmen in each town and the mayor of each city within the county and to the secretary of state a statement including the amount of the proposed supplemental appropriation and the objects for which the money is required.

Supplemental appropriations generally are made to cover emergencies, such as disaster relief, or other needs deemed too urgent to be postponed until the enactment of next year's regular appropriations act. The county is in its second half of the fiscal year.

Why the Delegation is involved is unknown regarding the deputy sheriffs' contract? What are the individual line-item appropriations impacted as a result of the contractual agreement known to have been anticipated by the sheriff's decision or the Commission's prior to signing of the employment agreement? Clearly, the Executive Committee is the authority to transfer funds as necessary to fund the Sheriff's Department union agreement, not the Delegation.

Thomas A. Tardif

  • Category: Letters
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It’s not enough to say ‘we will make America great again’

To The Daily Sun,

It is a mistake to embrace the conscious abandonment and neglect of the nation's founding principles. Today's politicians pose a false choice: Either we temporarily abandon our principles to save America or we preserve our principles and lose America. Even if we take drastic action, we should always do so within the constraints of the U.S. Constitution, precisely because to restore America's greatness, we must return to her founding principles.

It is wrong to believe that to resist socialism we must abandon our founding principles, our standards of decency, our aspirations for a noble, virtuous and civil society. Hillsdale College president Larry Arnn in an online lecture on Western civilization delivers a message that goes to the importance of studying Western civilization and how ignorance of our history and founding principles has contributed to the situation in which we now find ourselves.

To paraphrase Dr. Arnn: "We live in a time when a kind of blight has settled on the world because of doctrines adopted in America in the 19th and 20th centuries. We don't teach old and high things in school the way we used to. Ignorance of those things is everywhere and that is a threat to our freedom. We need to return to our commitment to the principles of our country, announced in the founding documents. Learning the right things is necessary to perpetuate our freedom and our justice in America."

It's not enough to say "we will make America great again." Controlling the borders is vital, but it's not the only thing that matters. There is angst toward the progressive establishment. There is deep concern about the current miserable condition of the nation. Constitutional conservatives have been fighting these foes for a long time. It's outrageous to lump constitutional conservatives in with the establishment merely because they are skeptical of the candidate du jour.

There are countless examples of Republicans caving to progressives on policy. There are countless examples of Republicans muzzling their own ideas. It is no wonder that young people gravitate toward the left. They do so not only due to cultural influences and educational indoctrination. They do so because we do not stand up for what we claim to believe in. We exhibit a lack of conviction in our own stated core beliefs. The next generation will not follow our lead if we do not demonstrate belief in our stated core beliefs.

We are in danger of sacrificing too much at the altar of winning. We cannot practice an endless willingness to forgive anything candidates do. It is admirable to combat political correctness, but it is not commendable to abandon decency in the name of fighting political correctness. In failure to do so we succumb to the notion that things are so bad that the only way to fix them is to do worse things ourselves. As mom used to say, two wrongs don't make a right.

We mustn't lose ourselves in the process. Progressives long ago adopted an ends-justify-the-means approach. They will say anything and do anything in support of their cause. They will sell their soul to win. If the opposition does likewise under the guise of saving America, we will have already lost our nation. Learning and aspiring to what is noble and virtuous is necessary to perpetuate our freedom and justice. Neglecting our founding principles imperils our liberties.

Marc Abear


  • Category: Letters
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