If you don't like what commissioners are doing, vote them out

To The Daily Sun,

Yesterday, a good friend of mine told me that he could not vote for me for county commissioner. "It's too ugly," he said. "Do you really want to work in such a toxic environment?" He was reacting to a particularly venomous letter to the editor that accused our county commissioners of illegal activity and questioned their personal integrity.

The budget argument between the commissioners and the executive committee of the delegation (state reps elected from Belknap County) is over the authority to move money from account to account as budgetary needs change during the year. For years, these commissioners have transferred up to $10,000 between departmental accounts (sometimes called line items) without asking for permission from the executive committee of the delegation. For amounts of $10,000 and over, they did ask. Each month, the commissioners compared their actual expenses against budget predictions and transferred money from accounts with extra funds to those without so they can pay their (our) bills. This has been standard operating procedure for decades.

In December 2012, the Republican majority of the delegation began requiring the commissioners to ask for permission from the executive committee, made up of only Republicans, for every transfer reducing the limit from $10,000 to zero. (They have since raised that limit up to $300.) Since then, the commissioners have been requesting authorization for all transfers between departments but felt, based on a legal opinion from the county's attorney, that they had the managerial right to continue to transfer money within departments. The executive committee disagreed.

The commissioners requested a copy of the legal authority on which the executive committee was relying but no answer was provided. Instead, two members of the executive committee authored bills in the Statehouse to give them that authority but a bi-partisan committee of reps unanimously declined to allow either bill to be considered. Then, those same two committee members filed a lawsuit to have the matter resolved. The judge issued a temporary injunction ruling that the committee members would probably win when the suit comes to trial.

However, the commissioners believe they will prevail when the matter goes to trial and have asked the judge to reconsider. In the meantime they are complying with his order.

The commissioners are not flouting the will of the voters. They were elected by the voters of Belknap County to manage the county (reps are mainly elected to represent our interests in Concord). One of the committee members who filed the suit ran against Ed Philpot in his first race for commissioner in 2008. Ed won that race and he was re-elected in 2012 over an ally of the committee members. There is no evidence that the commissioners are acting to benefit themselves financially. To suggest that their motivation is for personal gain without any evidence is irresponsible and uncalled for.

Remember, there are two Republicans and one Democrat on the commission, acting as checks and balances against financial shenanigans.

These commissioners have substantially improved the operation of county government, they have reorganized departments, improved efficiency, adopted a variety of best operating practices, eliminated 39 positions, and have reduced the county tax rate each year for the past five years. The fact is, the commissioners started reducing the tax rate three years before the current delegation leadership came to power. They deserve our appreciation for their efforts on our behalf.

If you don't like what the commissioners are doing, vote them out. There is absolutely no cause for the poisonous language. They are simply civil servants acting in good faith and using their best judgement to do what they were elected to do. Disagreement is fine. It's good, in fact. They aren't always right. Who is?

Don't we want good citizens to be eager to serve? It's time for the voters of Belknap County to say, "Enough." A vote for me is a vote for civility, respect, and a belief in the value of listening to and learning from differing opinions.

David Pollak

Candidate for Belknap County Commission


  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 260

Thanks for assistance with LHS Alumni Reunion; see you in '15

To The Daily Sun,

The Committee for the Laconia High School Alumni Reunion would like to express its gratitude to Laconia School Department administration, staff and, most importantly, the alumni who gave so wholeheartedly to ensure that the fourth annual Alumni Reunion was a success.

Specifically, we thank the Laconia School Board whose endorsement was so important, LHS Facilities Manager Steve Dalzell, Jack Aldrich and his students of the Meredith Village Savings Bank Culinary Arts Center, Jennifer Mitchell and Jeff Twombly – IT Department and the LHS janitorial staff for their support during the day and night of the event. Special thanks to Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation for setting up a great raffle and raising extra funds for the alumni scholarship that two LHS seniors receive each year.

We would also like to especially thank Krista Marrs from The Citizen, who was the driving force in making our third alumni publication a reality. We hope to build on this in the years to come to make it a wonderful keepsake of the event.

We thank the generations of alumni who came to Laconia High School to renew friendships, to exchange memories, especially the Class of 1954, and to show that we still remain Sachems in the most respected sense of unity for the blessings of our public education. Special thanks to Warren Mitchell, who organized the amazing parade of classic cars that seems to grow each year for our alumni to ride in. Gert Gilman, Class of 1933, was our senior alumni and we were thrilled to have her join us again this year in the celebration. We look forward to her attending next year when she will celebrate her 100th birthday. We think that alumni who attended had a great time reconnecting.

On behalf of the alumni, we thank our parents for their insight in supporting us when in school, thank our teachers who challenged us, taught us, and set out dreams and goals to be sought. We know full well that those buildings at 345 Union Avenue have long brought forth a group of citizens who, for some, gave the ultimate commitment so that public education would be available for generations to come, brought forth citizens who made a difference in their nation, their states, their communities, and in the neighbors, in their families, and, yes, in their school systems.

As an alumni committee, grateful and committed to public education, we thank you and hope that next year we can meet again.

Laconia High School Alumni Committee
James Carroll
Chris Guilmett
Joan Cormier
Dave Levesque
Stacie Sirois
Mandy Sliver
Janet Brough

  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 214

They're waging a fight against something they don't believe exists

To The Daily Sun,

In society there are those who feel our government is running well and even efficiently. So, they want to add additional areas of control to it, so we all live better lives through central planning, regulations and guidance. Recent examples are Affordable Care Act, school lunch program mandates, etc.

Just recently, I had an example of our prompt efficient government performance, the Social Security Administration. On Dec. 3, 2013 I sent a letter to the SSA asking for a paper copy of my current Social Security statement. The reason I asked for it is that I was unable to create an on-line account via their website, because the website would not accept my 10 digit phone number.

Numerous attempts all failed. Thus, a snail-mail letter was sent with all the necessary information to identify me, for a simple paper copy.

I just received the reply, Sept. 20th, 2014. The letter says, we no longer mail paper statements, so please create an on-line account to view your projected benefits. Over nine months to send a letter that ignores the original issue.

Great! I've since been able to get the data, but just wanted to share this example of government performance for those who are in doubt.

Gene Ronikier


  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 167

Combining business acumen with old-fashioned N.E. values

To The Daily Sun,
On Saturday, Sept. 13, I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening open house at Top Notch Auto in Gilmanton. Upon my arrival, I was immediately greeted by a sincere young man, Michael Hancock, the new owner. After enjoying a delicious homemade lunch compliments of the Top Notch Crew, I had a detailed tour of the business. I came away from this experience smiling.

Mr. Hancock has successfully combined business acumen with some of the good old-fashioned New England values that we all love. He has taken not much and has turned it into something — a vacant business is now a lovely property full of promise. Michael also invested in giving back to the community where he works. He explained that he is committed to supporting local charitable endeavors that improve our area. To that end, he offered that his business would happily volunteer to provide a venue for a fund-raising car wash.

Finally, he gives value and service the highest priority. Michael plans are being part of this community for a long time and speaks with pride about this.

I welcome Michael Hancock to our community — stop by to meet this industrious young man and do the same.

June Garen

  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 308

They're waging a fight against something they don't believe exists

To The Daily Sun,

This is in response to Mr. Valengavich's most recent letter in which he asks for a clarification of my statement about making an argument and not an enemy. In my view, speech is only "free" when it is not abridged, censored, or limited. Free speech can be good, bad, or ugly. My request for people to try and make an argument and not an enemy simply means that, while we may not agree, we should each try to respectfully challenge another's opinion . . . be that opinion good, bad, or ugly.

In his following paragraph, Mr. Valengavich asks for an example of "... how anyone is trying to deny others their religious beliefs?" I find it hard to believe that he is not aware of the ever-increasing attacks against Christianity but, since he asked, I will offer this website link, http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/atheist_successes.htm. It will bring him to the Freedom From Religion Foundation's (FFRF) website where, on its opening page, it lists a number of court challenges it has made, all intended to remove religion from the public eye. The FFRF proudly claims it, "Has brought nearly 30 First Amendment lawsuits since 1977, and keeps several Establishment law challenges in the courts at all times."

On a personal note regarding the FFRF and its challenges, isn't it odd that some of those who deny the existence of God, willingly wage a fight against something they don't believe exists?

Bob Meade


  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 147