To The Daily Sun,
On Sept. 15, before the Gilmanton ZBA, Selectman Marshall Bishop was granted a special exception to operate his restaurant in a rural zone. The decision of four ZBA members was biased, based on personal feelings, and had little or nothing to do with the zoning ordinance as it was written and intended.
Four people, friendly and sympathetic to Mr. Bishop, and likely influenced by his position as selectman, in my opinion, made a mockery of the functions and responsibilities inherent to members of any and all ZBA boards.
There was, however, one dissenter on the board — one clear voice against allowing Selectman Bishop a special exception where one was not allowed. A voice, when spoken, shot down the good-ol'-boy cronyism that Gilmanton has been suffering under all year, and which objected strongly to a decision that clearly contradicted the ordinance. A voice, which came to many in Gilmanton as a breath of fresh air to a town whose government has been stifled by inept incompetence and driven by a single-minded and self-serving agenda. That voice, was the voice of Mr. Mike Teunessen. It is his voice, that Marshall Bishop, using his influence as selectman, is now attempting to silence.
On Sept. 23, Selectman Bishop wrote and sent an email, now released to the public, to ZBA Chair Elizabeth Hackett. The email stated that Mr. Teunessen was clearly not fit to perform his duties as a ZBA member, and that he should step down, or be removed. The email was not only written and sent using Mr. Bishop's selectman's email, but was further fielded through Town Administrator Paul Branscombe.
This was nothing more than an act of revenge, and for Selectman Bishop to attempt to use his position and influence as a selectman, and the resources of the town to initiate his personal vendetta, is beyond contempt.
Further, in that email, in a jaw-dropping, sickening display of contrived righteousness, he claims his only motive for suggesting Mr. Teunessen's removal, is that, as a taxpayer, he believes Mr. Teunessen to somehow be a danger to the best interests of the town, and that he is not working for the taxpayer. It was laughable. Anyone that knows Mr. Teunessen, knows that isn't true. Including, it would seem, ZBA Chair Hackett, when she praised Mr. Teunessen's character in her letter of rejection to Bishop's request.
He then went on further, in his email, to slander Mr. Teunessen, by suggesting that Mr. Teunessen deliberately released statements to The Daily Sun regarding his reasons for voting against the special exception. Which he, of course, never did. By initiating this attempt to remove Mr. Teunessen, Mr. Bishop has shamed his position as a selectman, and he has shamed himself. But worse, he has not only trampled the integrity, dignity and values of his office, but has also compromised his own.
Clearly, it is not Mr. Teunessen who should step down, but Selectman Marshall Bishop. At a time where the national and local focus is on the values inherent in our national government, it would be a mistake to ignore our own local governments, and how they conduct themselves ethically. Can anyone in Gilmanton truly turn a blind eye, and be sympathetic to what Selectman Bishop has attempted to do?
I certainly hope not.
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