To The Daily Sun,
On Monday, Oct. 27, at 5 p.m., the county Commissioners will go before the Executive Committee of the Belknap County Convention for budget transfers. The county convention has sued the commissioners over the question of "Department Budget or Line Item Budget" and the judge who will issue the ruling, will do so in March 2015.
The county is on a calendar year budget, so the judge has asked the commissioners to stay within the "line item budget" until his decision is made. The judge also said if the commissioners need to transfer monies they can request transfers from the executive committee of the county convention, who will consider the request "in good faith."
What does this mean? It means, in the middle of this political turmoil is the county employee. Belknap County has loyal, dedicated employees. With all that you read in the newspapers, the county employee has received a lot of negative publicity and with the newest budget issue, and the emotional stress is taking its toll. We (the county employees) are taxpayers, too. We have mortgages, rent, heating cost, and families to care for. We shop in the area, and our monies go back into the communities we live in.
It's my hope at this meeting on Monday, Oct 27, that the executive committee of the county convention considers the commissioners' request and "in good faith — do the right thing." However, following the county convention's current track record, it's probably not going to happen. The county employees will take more cuts and layoffs to stay within the budget line item. How many more cuts are left until we lose the Nursing Home or Corrections Dept.? Are we the taxpayer ready to lose these two establishments? The funds are already in the budget, so Mr. Tilton, chair and members of the executive committee, in good faith — will you do the right thing and transfer those monies back into the appropriate lines — 230 employees are waiting.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 09:23
To The Daily Sun,
The Executive Committee of the Belknap County Delegation will hold a meeting on Monday, Oct. 27, at 5 p.m. at the Belknap County complex. At this meeting, the commissioners will request budget transfers that require the executive committee's approval. This process is based on the court order that was put in place by the judge since the end of August.
A major issue that affects every employee in every department of the county, is the possibility of having to come up with a large amount of money over the next eight weeks in order to fulfill the county's budgetary requirements for funding their health insurance plan to the end of 2014. Employees became aware of this potential financial shortfall on Oct. 16. To say the least, this will impose a financial hardship for county employees who continually find themselves caught in the turmoil of the micromanagement and political environment that has been created at Belknap County.
Employees have been made out to be bad, awful, untrustworthy people who want something for nothing. I know when I come to work every day, I come willing to earn my paycheck, and there are 200-plus employees just like me. The commissioners will request the transfers to be able to move the money, which is already appropriated in the budget. The money is there. It just needs to be moved from one line item to another line item within the respective department's budget.
Similar to moving money from your savings account into your checking account to pay your bills. You've already saved the money; it is in your budget. You just need to move it to the right account to pay the bill. The county has operated like this for years until this court order was imposed.
For the sake of all county employees, who come to work every day and do their jobs which serve the citizens of Belknap County, I for one am asking for the Executive Committee to approve the transfers needed to cover the costs of the health insurance.
Angela A. Bovill
Belknap County Employee
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 09:19
To The Daily Sun,
New Hampshire RSA 664:14 "Political Advertising" (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXIII/664/664-14.htm) requires that all mail, signs, broadcasts, etc. contain both the names and the physical addresses of the candidates, parties or other entities distributing or posting material or messages. The law intends to make candidates and other advertisers identifiable, accountable and accessible to the electorate.
With one exception this season, all mail received to date from candidates, parties and advocates have clearly printed names and physical addresses, i.e. street, number, city, state, zip code. The exception is Sam Cataldo (State Senate District 6 — Alton, Barnstead, Farmington, Gilmanton, New Durham and Rochester) who recently mass-mailed what I considered venomous attack advertising against his opponent, Richard Leonard. The senator's name was on it in miniscule letters, but without a return address. Why? It was not for lack of space. I wonder what motivates or entitles a state senator to skirt election laws? On this, the Attorney General should not have to wait for a citizen's complaint.
New Hampshire's RSA 664:14 also applies to signage. Last week, I photographed the signage of many candidates in this district. With one exception — Peter Bolster, candidate for Belknap District 8 state representative (Alton, Barnstead, Gilmanton) — none of them, from state to national office, has an identifying address. Again, why? Even when the law permits the substitution of a website, provided name and address appears "immediately and prominently," none of them do so. Not to my eyes.
Republicans and Democrats alike, big ones and small ones, are avoiding accountability and access. I think the penalty should be 10 percent of their advertising budgets.
But voters should also hold the Secretary of State and the Attorney General accountable for enforcement. First, on filing to run, all candidates should immediately receive a boldfaced copy of New Hampshire's election laws. This takes care of the ignorance factor.
Second, before every campaign season, the state should send similar copies for posting in all town and city halls, libraries and post offices.
Third, similar copies should be sent to every major printer and audio-visual production house, radio and television station and mailing company. These vendors, who together make millions during campaign season, should be on notice that no material goes out the door or on the air without the full required identification.
Fourth, the state should require all candidates to file a sample or accurate image of every advertising item with the Attorney General's office. Fifth, election investigators should spot-check signage, mailings and broadcasts across the state and throughout the campaign season. If candidate Bolster is elected, I'll expect him to introduce these five measures as soon as possible.
Democracy is not served by governing New Hampshire on a complaint basis, nor should its officials be paid to sit around and wait for complaints. I think the violations are so obvious and widespread they are laughable.
Where New Hampshire's election laws are concerned, the difference between ignorance and impunity seems to be about 36 inches, the width of a plastic yard sign. I welcome and will consider voting for all candidates who abide by the laws, and I respect all officials who proactively implement and monitor their compliance.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:44
To The Daily Sun,
Ed Allard of Laconia writes glowingly of his support for Tom Dawson running for state representative. If, as Ed suggests, "experience" equates to best qualifications for office, why are Democrats tripping over themselves trying to remove highly experienced Republicans from their elected positions who have been there for years.
If Ed is suggesting he knows the difference between "good experience" and bad then he does Houdini a one-up. If anyone looks honestly and objectively about what the underlying issues are in education that cause costs to continually rise and quality to stagnate or decline one needs to look no further than teachers' unions that have been in control of education for decades. Teachers' unions sit at the pinnacle of educations slow death spiral in cost and quality.
Look first to the mission statement of any teachers' union. It is not what you find there that is of most concern, it is what is not found there. There is no written commitment by the teachers' union to the highest level of academic achievement above all else. There is no written commitment where teachers are committed and dedicated to cost containment and productivity improvements. There is no written commitment they seek to be held accountable for the quality of their work. In fact teachers and their unions have obstructed anything and everything that improves educations quality while mitigating costs. Unions everywhere oppose productivity improvements because improving work output reduces teacher head count. The only issues unions are focused on is increased wages/benefits and stone-walling. Any activity that might cause their job to be at risk while reducing costs to taxpayers and students is rebelled against.
Dozens of teachers have been caught numerous times — including in Atlanta — in major cheating scandals, changing students test scores in order to maintain wage increases. Many have been charged and hauled into court and convicted. Teachers unions are for one thing and only one thing: That is teachers' best interests.
So if Ed Allard's genuine concerns are about the best interest of the kids he would not be supporting a big, liberal, tax-and-spend guy like Tom Dawson. In fact if the kids were his first and only concern, Ed would be screaming to tear down teachers' unions that underpin educations basic failure every where. He would even be doing his best to remove tenure which keeps tens of thousands of lousy teachers in front of students for a lifetime as the California Supreme Court recently agreed.
The irony is, the far left, union-hugging beliefs of people like Ed Allard and Tom Dawson are exactly the reasons education is in the failed state it is today. Ed and Tom will be the first people to back wage increases and benefit hikes for teachers/professors. Then shout as Ed does, "Kids have too much debt."
It is hypocrisy by no other name. What these people really want is tax subsidies and handouts from the state where the true cost and inefficiency of education is obfuscated. Where one person gets a service at a price far less than its real value because some taxpayer is saddled with the bill. Let's be clear. Ed can't be for higher wages and huge benefit increases for teachers, then scream kids have record debt. Let the public understand, Ed and Tom put that record debt on them with their union hugging, never saw a wage increase they couldn't love, liberal beliefs.
I call it Swiss cheese logic. Obama designed it, in fact he put all the holes in it.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:37
To The Daily Sun,
As a candidate for state representative, I expect to have people debate and discuss the issues, even when we disagree. It's quite unfortunate that people who don't even know me would try to disparage me through the use of meaningless labels and fear-mongering. But if you must use a label, I prefer Granite Stater.
Most folks around here consider themselves to be independent-minded politically. In New Hampshire, more people are registered to vote as independent/unaffiliated than either Republican or Democrat. So readers of this newspaper do not respond well to name-calling and scare tactics. Labels such as "tea party" and "right wing" have all but lost any significance for most people.
For my part, I prefer to speak about guiding principles, such as a preference for government that protects people's rights. Or one that lives within its means, by reducing spending on unnecessary bureaucracy. Or a state Legislature that honors constituents and taxpayers by adhering to the Constitution and promoting private charity, property rights, and the concept of personal responsibility.
My wife, Marie, and I, along with our two Labs, Lola and Raven, moved to New Hampshire from New Jersey (can you blame me?) after visiting and exploring the state for a number of years to make sure we were making the right decision. Our state is a destination for people who appreciate and understand the benefits of freedom. More than 60 percent of New Hampshire residents were born outside the state. Twenty-five percent moved here from Massachusetts. Unlike those who want to change it by passing ever-more restrictions on our freedoms, I simply want to help protect the "Live Free or Die" tradition and keep New Hampshire awesome.
As a member of the Central New Hampshire Amateur Radio Club I've enjoyed meeting many of our neighbors while volunteering at public service and charity events like the Laconia Sled Dog Derby, Meredith Book-It! Road Race and the upcoming Meredith Bay Trick or Trot 5K, and by organizing regular litter pick-up outings along Route 3 in Belmont from the Mosquito Bridge to the Laconia town line.
Leadership should be by example, not by trying to knock down those with whom you disagree politically. If elected to the state House, I'll do my best to follow the above principles and to represent your interests in Concord. Thank you in advance for your vote on Nov. 4.
Candidate for State Representative – Gilford and Meredith
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:31