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Why did Sanbornton hold 12 non-public meetings in last 3 months?

To The Daily Sun,

In a recent letter to the editor, Sanbornton resident Bill Whalen asked why the Sanbornton selectmen found it necessary to hold 11 non-public meetings in the last three months. Rather than give a simple response to a simple question, the selectmen "strongly urge" a local newspaper to print a "correction" to what they perceive is a libelous headline for the letter and that the selectmen "and our town lawyer" await your correction.

I wasn't particularly interested in the issue of non-public meetings until I read our selectmen's threat of legal action. Now I would like to add my voice to Mr. Whalen's and ask the same question, especially since a July 26 meeting at the firehouse increased the non-public sessions to a total of 12.

Also, I have a few questions to the selectmen of my own. Did you seek a legal opinion before you wrote your letter threatening a local newspaper with legal action? If so, who paid for the bill? Do you think that Sanbornton residents are going to remain mute while you run up legal bills for a perceived slight? On second thought, scratch the last question. I know the answer.

Roger Grey

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As County Commissioner, I voted in accordance with my beliefs

To The Daily Sun,

From 2013 to 2014, I was a state representative representing Gilmanton and Alton and served as a delegate to the Belknap County Convention.

The county was mired in a feud with the then-commissioners' budgetary authority wherein the commissioners asserted the right to move money around at will, and new jail plans which topped $42 million in expected costs were the chief sticking points. These former commissioners were largely absent and invested their power in the county finance office and the county administrator.

Those were long and difficult days and the effort for reform came from, among others, Colette Worsman and Bob Greemore. Colette prepared alternative budgets at her own expense since there was no cooperation from anyone on County Drive. The county finance director did all in his power to make working with various budgetary alternatives a nightmare. Pages went unnumbered and costs were sprinkled between departments, making it difficult to form a true total.

The commissioners were denied their colossus of a jail and I paid for the filing of a suit in Belknap Superior Court which settled that the state RSA meant exactly what it said: line item authority over the budget rests with the county convention.

Having battled long and hard with the cohort running County Drive, I determined to run against the sitting commissioner for District 2 which is comprised of Barnstead, Gilmanton, Belmont and Tilton. I won the office and looked forward to a constructive two years with new commissioners. What I did not foresee was the abandonment of important principles by the other new commissioners.

I want the public to know that I have voted in accordance with my beliefs and most of those votes have been in the majority. It is very true that I have dissented in those cases where I was in disagreement; I make no apology for that. My fellow commissioners have pursued personnel and fiscal policies which are odds with my convictions. It is well worth noting that my fellow commissioners have little support for their candidates in District 2 and District 3, which is comprised of Alton, Meredith, Gilford and Center Harbor. I know of no state representatives in these districts who supports Mr. DeVoy in the positions he outlined in his letter to the editor of July 27.

Mr. DeVoy does not tell you that fiscal policies professed by my opponents have been soundly defeated by the county convention. He would take credit for a tax reduction which he in fact vehemently opposed. Money that is being returned to taxpayers, he wished to retain in county coffers and suggested that the county knew better how to use the money than did the towns.

The county has seen line-item authority restored to the convention, plans for a Taj Mahal jail scrapped in favor of a much-less-expensive Community Corrections Center and a solid majority of state representatives favor the policies which I have endorsed.

My opponent in the Sept. 13 primary? 
None other than the former county finance director who vocally supported the status quo in 2013 and 2014. Mr. DeVoy thinks my friends and neighbors have a short memory but he will be proven wrong. The unanimity which he seeks on County Drive was certainly present in 2013 and 2014 and we should not return to that.

Dick Burchell


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