To The Daily Sun,
The newly elected Belknap County legislators, for some unexplained reason, are off to a bad start. By law, their first action shall be to organize as a political body/delegation as follows:
1. The 18 legislators shall elect a chair, vice-chair and clerk, which requires a "notice" of intent to assemble. This notice is not required to be posted in Belknap County because like all counties the assembly of representatives is noticed in the "HOUSE CALENDAR, Vol. 39 Concord, N.H. Friday, December 2, 2016 No. 1X".
ORGANIZATION OF COUNTY DELEGATIONS
Per RSA 24:9-a, the first meeting of each county convention must be held during the second week of December. Having consulted senior incumbent members, the clerk announces the following schedule of organizational meetings.
2. "The Belknap County Delegation Organizational Meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. at 34 County Drive, Laconia."
3. The First Meeting, the "organizational meeting" is posted on the HOUSE CALENDAR. (RSA -24:9-a) which Belknap County city and towns municipal officers or public at large have no knowledge of.
4. What is problematic is that this notice does not include a purpose, because it is "organizational" action is necessary to elect the Delegation's officers: chair, vice-chair and clerk. Also, once the quorum is established, at this meeting or subsequent meeting the Delegation, once organized, may elect its chairperson, vice-chairperson, and clerk, with other members, to the delegations Executive Committee.(RSA 24:2)
5. A simple public notice (absent distinguishing county seal) of the intended meeting of the newly elected 2017-2018 Belknap County Delegation was published in The Laconia Daily Sun, Thursday, Dec. 6 for a "Public Hearing – Dec. 12, 2016 at p.m.". The notice also includes two purposes:
— Presentation of the Commissioners recommended budget. (RSA 24:9-d)
— To hold a public hearing on the same. (RSA24:23)
6. These two notices are for meetings on the exact date, time and place taken by the House calendar's notice, but for different reasons. The notices are posted by two distinctive methods, governed by distinct applicable Laws that are in conflict, because they cannot both take place at the specific hour (6 p.m.).
7. Accordingly, one must take precedence over the other. Clearly, the Delegation shall first organize, then the newly elected body can schedule its first regular business meeting for the purpose; such as; "presentation" of the Commissioners recommended budget. (RSA 24:9-d) and to hold a "public hearing" on the same (RSA24:23) as posted in the newspaper.
8. Because the HOUSE CALENDAR has no distinct purpose, the notice is singular to organize.
9. The notice of Dec. 6 is mandated and lists the; time, place having two purposes of this further meeting at least seven days before the day of the meeting and shall cause to be published a like notice at least seven days before the day of the meeting in a newspaper of general circulation in the county.
10. What is problematic is RSA 24:9-d notice. The clerk of the convention, or his or her designee, shall mail to each member of the newly organized delegation/convention a notice mailing such notice is not required during any session of the general court, if the notice is printed for two legislative days in the journal of the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, that possible option was not exercise, which also voids the newspaper notice because the notice is only six days prior to the meeting, not the required seven days.
The result of the two distinct but conflicting notices is that; YES the organizational assembly was properly noticed. Once the delegation is organized the newly elected delegation can schedule its first regular business meeting. However, due to the failure to utilize the House calendar for the two purposes, and the failure to comply with the seven day meeting, if held as noticed, will be a premeditated violation of the seven day advance notice mandated by law. The law makers are not above the law. (RSA 24:9-d)
Thomas A. Tardif
- Category: Letters
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