Belknap County is keeping the State Attorney Generals office quite busy lately with two very similar cases. Dick Burchell, a Belknap County Commissioner , has been accused by his fellow commissioner's of leaking information disclosed in a non-public session where the commissioners had sealed the minutes. In Commissioner Burchell's case, he is now twice accused of this violation. The first time he was censured by the remaining two commissioners, but after the second, the County and State Attorney Generals were asked to investigate.
Over in Gilmanton, it is the Selectmen dealing with a similar issue. Who leaked the information that the former Police Chief was planning to retire? ( The full story is here in the Citizen.) Planning Board Chairman Wayne Ogni told selectmen at their June 30th meeting that he heard this information from a couple of selectmen. It gets a bit more interesting at the July 7th BoS meeting. Selectman Stephen McCormack admitted to speaking with former Selectman Brett Currier about the Police Chiefs retirement. Brett Currier's son Matt Currier is a Gilmanton Police Sgt and will be promoted to Police Chief when the current Chief Collins retires at the end of 2015.
Non-public meetings are allowed under the Right to Know law for very specific circumstances and minutes of those meetings can be sealed. Board members have the responsibility to protect that sealed information so that everyone involved in a particular situation can be assured that whatever transpires will not be made public. It is a sacred trust, and breaching it is a dereliction of duty which can cause removal from office. If any of the officials mentioned above breached that trust, they should not remain in office.