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

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Additional Town Meeting Information

The February Talk of the Town on the Town website is about Town meeting and a review of the warrant with Moderator Jerry Hopkins and the proposed Zoning amendments with Town Planner Bruce Woodruff.
A few highlights on two items discussed with some additional background follow.

The recently ratified collective bargaining agreement between the Town and the Police Benevolent Association was discussed. It is a one year agreement and there are a number of relatively small changes. The contract calls for a 1.5% cost of living increase. That is the only cost item. In the video mentioned above, there was discussion that the Town will vote to approve the contract (Article 6), but that is incorrect. The Legislative body will be voting only on the cost items, which in this case is $8,250 for 2015 and  $11,000 for 2016.
If the cost items are not approved, Article 7 is asking for permission to hold a special meeting at a date to be determined to address the cost items only.
Of note and also mentioned in the video is that those newly employed by the Town after  January 1st 2015 will contribute 15% toward the cost of group health insurance. Current employees hired before that date will remain at a 10% contribution rate.

To endorse or not endorse the Village Vision Committeereport is the subject of Article 8. Semantics aside, it is important in my opinion that we go beyond just receiving the report. The final report is expected to be completed this coming week. I recognize the concerns of many that by using the word endorse, we are creating a mandate to get it done. Perhaps the wording can be amended on the floor to reflect that endorsement does not mean mandate. It is important though because decisions have to be made in a number of areas, the Taylor property, the Rt 25 traffic, sidewalks, intersections, etc. and it will be very helpful as we go forward to be able to say whether these things and others align with our vision or not. That is the real purpose of creating a vision in the first place.


Anonymous said...

I do hope the report comes out soon and is readable and not gobbledygook. We need clarity and I am always afraid the Town Administrator is biasing our views.

With language of Article 8, we need to carefully parse this report to make certain it is rational.

I also wish the Sidewalk advocates would wait for the report and withdraw their article if this report is accepted and endorsed at the Town Meeting.

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

Draft ... will probably not change much.


Eric Taussig said...

I would suggest watching this latest "Talk of the Town" video with Town Moderator Jerry Hopkins and Town Administrator Carter Terenzini discussing the Town Election and Town Warrant.


Each of the Warrant Articles is discussed in specific detail except for Article 29, which proposes to eliminate the Town Administrator's position.

Neither of the participants in this educational program even describes the content of the Article, much less reads it.

For those who don't want to watch the entire video, just watch from about 51 minutes into the video and you will hear the Town Moderator just read the recommended votes of the Select Board and Budget Committee (which he fails to quote correctly) and then states,

"i'll just leave that as far as my curiosity goes to those who want to read it."

I find this omission by the Town Moderator to be both troubling and disappointing.

This educational video fails the Town's voters who hopefully will be able to educate themselves.

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

Town moderator:
"Without the artful skills of the moderator, decisions to appropriate money, adopt or amend ordinances, or make governmental changes may have no legal effect."

"A moderator should understand the issues to be discussed but is most effective when he or she has done a thorough job of preparing for the meeting."

"And speaking of voters, an effective moderator recognizes the power that voters have. While the moderator is in charge of running the meeting and makes the procedural rules, the voters themselves have the authority to vote to overrule any decision the moderator makes."

"The moderator will be questioned. Voters will not always be pleased with his or her rulings, or with one another or with other local officials. Tempers flare from time to time."

"Town Moderator" comes up for election in 2016 ... as does one BoS member. I believe Mr. Hopkins has indicated he does not intend to run again. Thank you for your services.


It's the voter services that are paramount.




RSA 669:58 Counting. – When all votes have been cast, the moderator shall, in the open meeting, sort and count the votes. The selectmen and town clerk shall assist in sorting and counting the votes; but no other person shall in any manner interfere therewith. After the counting, the moderator shall make a public declaration of the number of ballots cast, with the name of every person voted for and the number of votes for each; and the town clerk shall make a fair record thereof in the books of the town. No ballot shall be received and counted after the votes have been declared.

Thank You said...

The first paragraph is taken from the minutes of the 2/12/15 Bos Workshop.

"Carter reported that he had received a request to place the upcoming Candidates Night on the Town’s website calendar. However, the Town Policy was that, “Postings on the site calendar shall be restricted to official Town activities or those which the Town has officially sponsored.” He asked that the Board, should it wish to place this on the calendar, instruct him it was a Town sponsored event. After a brief discussion occurred with Paul who asked why such a vote was needed and why the policy was not more flexible, then Russ expressed some frustration that the web site can’t be everything for everyone, and the need for policy to guide the staff; Paul Moved, Seconded by Joel to place the upcoming Candidates Night on the Town Calendar as a Town sponsored event. 3 in favor; 1 opposed (Russ)"

John Adams, 2nd president of the United States, wrote, “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know.” In other words, a healthy system of government is an open government that allows all who desire to know to find the information they are seeking.

If Candidate's Night is NOT an official town function it should be. The event is held at the Lion's Club, a town owned facility and hosted by Jerry Hopkins, the Town Moderator. The event is an opportunity for voters to meet, ask questions and listen to candidates speak on the issues that effect residents and the future of Moultonborough.

Thanks to the Selectmen who voted to post the event on the town calendar.

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

The Laconia Daily Sun
Feb. 18,2015
page 5
Josh Bartlett