To The Daily Sun,
Might we start to reach a ceasefire between your newspaper and the Gilford Budget Committee?
In the voting at the 2016 Town Meeting, the Town of Gilford widely rejected a warrant article to eliminate this committee. Most recognize that that warrant article was sponsored by a voter special interest group. Undaunted they are at it again with yet another petitioned article that again attacks the Budget Committee, this year. Lately, in the Dec. 11 edition, you published a letter that asserted that a supervisory union administrator had been asked to testify at a Budget Committee meeting under oath. This is just a typical prevarication as we continue to see employed by some of the same special interest group that tried to eliminate the Budget Committee. I addressed this issue in a previous letter and I again reiterate that the Gilford Budget committee never asked anyone at any of their recent meetings to testify under oath.
But the members of the committee that put their foot down to ensure that such hostile nonsense would not fly are now slandered by innuendo in this letter. It illustrates what these people will stoop to, to have their way with the taxpayers by attacking the very character of the people who are serving on this committee.
Further we have read of one of your reporters implying that there is some quid pro quo going on on the committee over repairs to the Town Hall versus the sizing of the school budget and default budget. But your reporter knows that the town now has a most recent estimate for the Town Hall electrical HVAC retrofits that is significantly lower than those previously objected to by some of the board members. Maybe that board member who disputed the cost of Town Hall retrofits was just trying to save the taxpayers some money, enlighten other members of the board, get a more reasonable appropriation, and not seeking to get something else of an implied personal agenda for endorsing the size of the appropriation.
In the Jan. 15 edition you ran a story that seemed to somewhat disparage the Gilford Budget Committee chairperson. That chair has earned the confidence of the board and been voted chair because of their attention to details, organizational skills, preparedness, knowledge of the statutes, and hard work applied to examining hundreds of items of town expenditures. Just as the special interests are trying to impugn the integrity of the Gilford Budget Committee the chair may have exaggerated his assessment of our education platforms. As far as performance measures go, some are skewed by what percentage of your student body is taking the performance testing. So Gilford may score a bit lower by testing a broader group of students including those with IEPs and others with issues requiring modifications to ensure that they also get a substantially equal and effective education. Taking those performance tests, being part of that inclusion and mainstreaming. Again one member's opinion may not be the general sense of the board on any particular single issue.
In my opinion the majority of the members of the Budget Committee are generally concerned with the quality of the town's total educational platforms. Your competitor publication has recently run a more balanced story delineating all the parts of that platform that support the curricular and extra curricular platforms that the School Board seems intent on gutting. All to provide for more of whichever budget for 2017-18 that is adopted at Town Meeting, to be transferred to employee compensations. The list is too long to be practical to list here.
According to that news story, "This accounts for a total of $191,500 in capital items that have been postponed."
Let us contemplate that we have four buildings in the SAU that need ongoing and ever more expensive preventative, planned and retrofit maintenance. The newest of those buildings is already 15 years old. Let us also keep in mind that monies spent on these costs do not compound themselves once we undertake to accomplish them. Is anyone on the Gilford Budget Committee seeking to reduce any School District employees' total wage and benefits cost package? Please write a story pointing that out. Is it really "all about the kids"?
Could the public please consider that the members of the Gilford Budget Committee are the people you elected and that most, if not all, of them are committed to performing on their oath to be fair and impartial in representing all the voters of Gilford, the other residents, and concerned for the children and young people as to continuing and enhancing the platforms we depend on to provide for their most diverse educational experience.
It is not my place to speak on these issues as in any way representing the Budget Committee's positions. "He jests at scars that never felt a wound." But I do feel wounded by people with a narrow-minded personal special interest or even news reporter's published allegations that are just complete falsehoods or twisting of the issues to create more salacious copy to sell advertising. The members of the committee sacrifice their personal time and forego some of their social life to become informed on the issues as they attend seemingly endless numbers of meetings. They receive no stipend or compensation other than the personal satisfaction of having given that time serving the town, rather than just shooting off their mouths.
Timothy Sullivan, Member
Gilford Budget Committee