"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Saturday, August 16, 2014

ABC History

With the discussion of the ABC in recent days, it is timely I think to revisit how they got here in the first place.The ABC began it's journey at the 2007 Town Meeting with the following warrant article seeking to form a statutory budget committee: ( from 2007 Town Meeting Minutes)
 To see if the Town shall establish an elected municipal budget committee in accordance with NH 
RSA – Title 32, Chapter 3. The budget committee shall consist of five (5) members elected at-large, one (1) member of the governing body of the municipality and one (1) member of the school board. If adopted, the Moderator shall appoint members to serve until the next annual meeting, as provided in RSA 669:17. (The vote on this Article shall be by paper ballot; the Polls shall remain open and ballots accepted for at least one hour.) 
(By Petition) 
A motion was made by Chris Shipp and seconded by Richard Plaisted. 
 After discussion a motion was made by Richard Buckler and seconded by Kathy Erving to amend the article to read: 
 To see if the moderator will appoint 5 registered voters to a committee to study the effects of a  municipal budget committee on the Town of Moultonborough. The committee shall report to the Board of  Selectmen by November 1, 2007. The selectmen shall make the report public and available to all residents. 
The amendment was voted in the affirmative by a hand vote. 
 Yes 200 No 126
The article as amended was voted on in the affirmative by a majority voice vote. "
The amended article that was finally approved led to a study process and the Budget Committee Study Group submitted it's report to the BoS in September 2007 recommending an advisory budget committee.
A contentious pubic hearing was held in January 2008 with a decision to move forward with a committee until at least 2009 Town meeting at which time the work of the ABC would be evaluated to determine if it would continue.
In June of 2008, a working group comprised of BoS and School Board members  Ed Charest, Jim Gray, Laurie Whitley,  Kathy Garry ,Town Administrator Carter Terenzini and School Superintendent Mike Lancor presented the frame work of the Advisory Budget Committee (ABC). The Committee was to be  made up of five residents, one from the Board of Selectmen, one from the School Board, and three members appointed at large by the Selectmen and School Board.
The ABC held it's first meeting on September 4th, 2008.


Fair Shake said...

It comes as no surprise the Recreation Director did not want her department's budget scrutinized by a budget committee. She preferred to fly under the radar. Below is the comment she made during a Public Hearing, per the January 2008 minutes.

"Donna Kuethe stated that as a Town Department Head, she has the most experience working with Selectmen on her department's budget and it has been her experience that they understand the needs of the community, the departments and go over each budget with attention to detail. She expressed her hope that members of an Advisory Committee will maintain a high level of professionalism. Donna concluded by stating that she lives in a town with a Budget Committee and finds it less than favorable."

Before the ABC and CIPC were formed, the philosophy was, ask and you shall receive. The public sector should be held to the same standards as private sector. Department Heads should be able to justify and defend their requests.

As a taxpayer who has lived in this town many years, I too say thank you to not only the ABC but the CIPC. Both these committees devote hours of unpaid time to insure those of us footing the bill are getting a fair shake.

Examples... said...

Fair Sake wrote a wonderful document reminding us of the " system " and how some think that the Town Administrator is the final word. As he becomes more entrennched, we see this more and more. Last week it was a T A speil to Conservation that they should not heir a consultant regarding a land purchase. He assured them he had procured over 100 pieces of land in his career, and he was the expert. Control? Wow.
This week it showed in last nights RAB meeting, where our Rec Director has to go to the T A to discuss a minutes correction in the RAB minutes. These are both good examples of what we are up against.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks, both the TA and the ABC tend to overstep their positions too often. The "administrator" thinks he's a Manager/Mayor and the ABC, while we should appreciate their efforts, and I do, they should keep efforts focused on what we voted for; "Budget", instead of making recommendations on/for department functions, etc.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

Might be time to start thinking about 2015 town meeting!

RE: MoBo, and the following NH Municipal Association URL ... you know ... town lawyers (those with JD's)


p. 7,59,60,61, is ABC Official or advisory (acknowledging legislative body approved)

p.21, 24, might be "budgetary" not governance ... anything can be budgetary.

p.82 wrec center (sic)

p.26 maybe the ABC should finalize the budget

p.34 are warrant budget committee recommendations supposed to be made by "Official" or "Advisory" budget committees.

p.57,58 "no means no"

June 26, 2008 Selectmen's meeting:

"Within 45
days after Town Meetings, the ABC will review the past year’s budget cycle and make
any recommendations regarding the process, suggested revisions to the ABC, charge and
composition for the upcoming year, and participate in any work group convened by both
Selectmen School Board and Library Trustees to modify, extend or reformat this Charge
and Composition. For the next year the question still remains whether to appoint new
members or elect them at Town Meeting. The members of the ABC will meet at least
four times and become involved and ... develop an understanding of their Board."

Looks like the ABC's mission was/is to be a check on the BoS ... you know ...those guys!

What a great idea!

Let's have an "advisory" committee be a "check & balance" on the BoS, who have supervisory responsibility over the ABC?

What a country!