To The Daily Sun,

Sheila Shapleigh of Alton recently took me to task in a letter to the editor, which was published in The Laconia Daily Sun. Her letter concerned the Alton Board of Selectmen's meeting on Feb. 22, in which the Alton ambulance service was the major topic of discussion. This selectmen's meeting was chaired by Cydney Johnson-Shapleigh (I knew I had heard the name Shapleigh somewhere before).

Regardless, Sheila was right when she informed readers that the hearing concerning the town ambulance service was "a very important matter." However, this statement was about the only truthful aspect of Sheila's letter. However, that's where her facts end, and her mischaracterizations of what actually took place begin.

Sheila claimed in her letter "that there was an attempt to somehow trivialize the proceedings by a member of the audience (me), who apparently found it necessary to put his own agenda above the ambulance discussion." This is factually untrue.

While I am clearly my passionate about holding public officials accountable for their incompetencies and dishonesty while in the service of the public, I do not see this as a personal agenda. Rather, I believe this is the responsibility of every good citizen.

The only agenda I had at the meeting of February 22, concerning the ambulance issue, was to hold the selectmen accountable for the fact that there is no policy in the town concerning billing procedures currently being carried out by the ambulance service.

Currently, without any authority from the selectmen to do so, the fire chief in Alton is sending Alton residents to collections agencies for outstanding ambulance charges. This is wrong and clearly, demonstrates incompetent supervision of town services by the selectmen.

I will not respond to any of the other ridiculous assertions made by Shelia except to say they are untrue. I will, however, recommend to Sheila, and everyone else with an opinion on the suppression of free speech rights, and the abuse of power by public officials who would violate those rights, to locate and read Judge Carroll's previous reprimand to the Alton Board of Selectmen.

Jeffrey Thomas Clay


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