To The Daily Sun,
Thank you Dave Schwotzer for having the courage to speak the truth about the operation of our county government. You hit the nail right on the head saying they now have someone looking over their shoulder, and I think a lot more scrutiny is in order. I have done some digging of my own and have found out some interesting things.
Concerning the position of county administrator, I learned that not all counties are operated in the same manner. While they are all similar with the elected commissioners, there are three counties in New Hampshire — Rockingham, Carroll, and Sullivan — which do not have the position of county administrator. The various department heads report directly to the commissioners. It seems they have decided that this level of management is redundant and unnecessary.
The salary of our county administrator is in the neighborhood of $105,000 per year, plus perks and benefits and with those factored in this position cost the taxpayers around $150,000. We all remember last winter when this budget dispute was being discussed that Ms. Shackett's salary was cut $20,000 as a cost savings measure, but I recently found out that our commissioners have decided to restore her full salary after some changes were made in the nursing home to save some money. Those changes caused the nursing home to lose two highly skilled professionals on the nursing staff. Collectively these women had 50 years experience in geriatric nursing.
The salary for the position of county administrator is set commensurate with the requirements of the job description. It states "MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: Bachelor's Degree as specified in NH RSA 151-A5 from an accredited university and five years of progressively responsible experience or any combination of education, training and experience which provides the knowledge, skill and abilities required for the job."
As far as I could ascertain, Ms. Shackett has no advanced degree whatsoever, not even a 2-year degree in Underwater Basket Weaving, let alone anything relevant. As for her experience, as far as I could ascertain, she was assistant administrator for two towns prior to her being awarded the position of county administrator. In my opinion this all smacks of nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, whatever ism you want to call it — something smells.
I think an investigation is in order for ethics violations and misuse of taxpayers' funds. Also a committee should be formed to look into making some changes in how our county government is organized. If we need to make cuts it seems that we should make those cuts in the management staff not the nursing staff.
The county commissioners and the management like to pat themselves on the back and tout the good record of the nursing home but the truth is they had nothing to do with it. Like Dave said that was done by the hardworking staff of the facility, and they do it in a working environment that has been described to me as a pressure cooker, and despite poor management and bad decision making they carry on. Clearly changes need to be made.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 01:10
To The Daily Sun,
Republican insiders, like Karl Rove, are once again lining up to help support Barack Obama's agenda, while ignoring the voices of grassroots, principled Republicans who are building up steam among other like-minded congressional Republicans to stop funding for Obamacare. This should be easy because since Senator Shaheen was elected there has not been a budget. The Republican House and REAL Senate Republicans can stop Obamacare dead. Over 50 percent of citizens don't want Obama care — even the IRS that is supposed to enforce it wants a waiver.
Karl Rove's Crossroads group commissioned a poll designed to manipulate the results. The poll asked whether voters want the GOP to block "health care reform." Well, no one wants to bock "health care reform." That's not the right question. This is another establishment Republican move to preside over an orderly destruction of the GOP.
Karl Rove's look alike "good ol' boys" in New Hampshire are furiously looking for a Senate candidate who will lead the eulogy after the next election. We can't afford this. We have to stop Rove's Republican Pall Bearers and nominate strong, principled and most importantly, trustworthy, grassroots leaders.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 01:00
When I ran for the New Hampshire Senate, I wanted to bring common-sense business principles to Concord. To me, that means working with both parties to solve problems, being careful with taxpayers' money, and focusing on things people really care about, such as economic growth and job creation, instead of getting caught in tired partisan battles.
After six months on the job, I am happy to report that we have made progress. Real change has come to Concord. I have been happy to see compromise, with legislators from different parties working together, and to be a part of passing meaningful legislation that moves New Hampshire forward.
For example, in this session, I worked with Republicans to modernize New Hampshire's corporate law, making it easier to create businesses and spur job growth. I also partnered with my Republican colleagues to double and make permanent the Research and Development Tax Credit program. With strong bipartisan support, I co-sponsored a bill to protect restaurants and other service-industry enterprises from higher taxes on tipped wages — taxes that they can't afford and which could hurt employment, especially in our tourism-supported industries. I also worked with a Republican colleague to streamline complex regulations by combining several different permits into one, thus saving time and expense for businesses, while keeping all of the same environmental protections in place.
These steps forward which create jobs and make businesses more competitive were possible only because both parties worked together.
To help the Lakes Region, I successfully worked to ensure that boating fees, intended solely for promoting water safety, will not be raided by the Legislature. The tourism that is so important to the economy of our region needs support like this. Again, I was happy to work with both sides to help everyone see the importance of promoting a thriving economy on our lakes.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment was the two-year budget that Governor Hassan just signed into law. By articulating clear goals, listening to both sides, and compromising, we generated a budget plan that does almost everything the governor set out to do and gives everyone something to be proud of.
This budget is balanced. It creates no new taxes or fees. It keeps tax cuts for businesses. And it spends wisely on high priorities: ending the developmental disability waitlist; increasing support for education; stabilizing funding for community mental heath organizations; restoring the program for children in need of services; and supporting innovation in the private sector.
Does it do everything that everyone wanted? No. But by giving a little bit, both sides achieved the majority of their goals, and most important, the people and businesses of the state will be better off. And that is what compromise is all about.
Clearly, more work lies ahead. We need to find a way to invest more in roads and bridges to keep our state competitive in the global marketplace and lower costs for drivers. We need to leverage Medicaid expansion so 58,000 hardworking, tax-paying Granite Staters are covered, creating 5,100 jobs, and expanding our economy by $2 billion. In all of this we must continue to look for ways to streamline government functions and continue to create an economic environment where New Hampshire businesses can thrive.
I am encouraged by the cooperation and progress that I have seen so far, and I have been glad to help get Concord back to working together on solving problems and moving our state forward again.
(Senator Andrew Hosmer of Laconia is the state senator from District 7, serving the towns of Andover, Belmont, Boscawen, Canterbury, Gilford, Northfield, Salisbury, Webster and the cities of Franklin and Laconia.)
Last Updated on Saturday, 27 July 2013 01:57
To The Daily Sun,
Opechee Garden Club has many to thank for the tremendous success of its "Awesome Blossoms" Garden Tour held July 13. Making the tour possible and offering a variety of lovely gardens despite challenging summer weather were homeowners Sally and Dennis Doten, Russ and Sundee Dumais, Bev Farber and Harvey Moses, David and Karen Gingrich, Elaine Muller and Robert King, Peg Selig, and Brenda Stowe's Sunnybrook Farm. The gardens and views provided inspiration for members of The Artists' Loft, and new this year were the imaginative fairy houses created by the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region adding whimsy to the gardens.
Congratulations with sincere appreciation go to our Tour Co-Chairmen Sandy Hickok and Helen Murphy for their tireless leadership along with their many committee chairmen and the dedication of all members, from the kitchen crew, boutique ladies and hostesses to those creating lovely table settings, affording visitors a wonderful day in the Lakes Region.
The club is grateful to the Gilford Community Church for the perfect venue for the luncheon, Sheilah's Boutique, plant sale and raffle. After shopping the expanded boutique and unique vendors of gourds to cupcakes, visitors enjoyed a delicious new luncheon menu with music of Jane Ellis creating a relaxing atmosphere. Ably assisting at the luncheon were members of Junior Girl Scout Troop #10304. An overflowing Potting Shed offered herbs to perennials for visitors to expand their own gardens.
Raffle winners were: Maurine Bastille, Terrarium created by Donna Vernon; Evelyn Millar, Fairy Garden Books; Annette Hutchings, Floral pillow donated by Florence Merrill; Irene Fournier, Rooster Mailbox donated by Marnie Schultz; Carolyn Temmallo, Framed Iris Pastel created by Annette Hutchins; Carolyn Ames, Scarf handmade by Sandy Hickok; Mary Jane Hoey, The Well Tended Perennial Garden; and Nancy Wright took home the garden quilt handmade by OGC members.
We are most grateful to the following for their invaluable involvement and donations to our event: the generous sponsorship of Bank of New Hampshire, Belknap Landscape Co., the Gilford Public Library, Laconia Public Library, Kitchen Cravings, Sawyer's Dairy Bar, Appletree Nursery, Beans and Greens, Gator Signs, Lakeshore Park Association, Quik Laundry, Moulton Farms, Petal Pushers, Cackleberries, Hannaford's, Sam's Club Concord, Shaw's Gilford and Tilton, and Vista Foods.
The club acknowledges outstanding coverage of area media, including The Daily Sun, vital to this event. Not forgotten are our understanding spouses and family members who helped in so many ways.
Opechee Garden Club appreciates the local and broader community who attended our tour, the proceeds from which will be evident in scholarships given through the club's EverGreen Award, the Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation, support to other nonprofits, community gardens and betterment projects.
Sandy Gove, Judy Robertson
Opechee Garden Club
Last Updated on Friday, 26 July 2013 09:53
To The Daily Sun,
I had the displeasure of reading a recent article in your paper written about County Commissioner Philpot. He must be feeling pretty desperate to have to point fingers and make generalized uneducated statements about "The Republican leaders are out to do bad things".
Really? I recall this last budget cycle the conservative Republicans asking the commissioners to hold the line on spending on behalf of ALL TAXPAYERS, as everyone across the board is struggling to pay for all the spending the commissioners have been approving over the years. I was at those public hearings and witnessed Philpot's deplorable behavior, when he walked out during one particularly important hearing. He forgets he was elected to represent the people and his behavior was as low as it gets. I see through Philpot's ruse of pointing fingers away from himself. I believe he is squirming because a decision to determine who controls the county spending is about to be made and the fact that he and the other commissioners have been working very quietly for the last two years to have a new state-of-the-art prison built at the taxpayers' expense. This prison will be an unfair financial burden on Belknap County residents and he knows it. $43 million dollars just for construction, then add on maintenance costs each year, payroll with benefits, administration costs, heat, electric, food, and all the other bells and whistles that the commissioners can dream up.
The prison costs come to ALL OF US, on top of record unemployment, increased local and state taxes, and the start of paying for Obamcare in 2014. Philpot has forgotten he represents the PEOPLE of Belknap County and not his own agenda. It's no wonder he is spouting off the way he is, after all, that's what desperate people do when they think they cannot fool the people into agreeing with their schemes. What do you think his motivation is, considering how he turns his back on his constituents, how he behaves in public, and how he points fingers?
Last Updated on Friday, 26 July 2013 09:49