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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Another Dust-up Between Carroll County Commissioners and Some Members of the Delegation Over Assisted Living Study

The Carroll County Delegation Chair wrote a letter recently to the Conway Daily Sun, wherein he made certain accusations toward the Carroll County Commissioners, especially Commissioner David Babson.
Commissioner Babson wrote a response letter the next day.
The Carroll County Delegation is made up of the 15 NH House Representatives for Carroll County. Mark McConkey is the current chair of the Delegation.
At the heart of the matter is a proposal to fund an assisted living feasibility study for the elderly the funding of which was the cause of contention between the Commissioners and the Delegation. Carroll County has the oldest population in New Hampshire and one of the oldest populations in the country. The Commissioners encumbered $10K of 2017 funds for the feasibility study and issued a Request for Qualifications.
McConkey wrote that at the April 4th Commissioners meeting "Commissioner Babson is angered that the county legislative delegation removed their request for a second $10,000 appropriation to fund an elderly housing study, referring to the delegation as nasty, cruel, insensitive and irresponsible." He further wrote that at the same meeting he heard"Commissioner Babson disparage Rep. Frank McCarthy’s character."
After viewing the portions of the meeting McConkey referenced in his letter, Commissioner Babson did not say any of the things he was accused of saying. He did refer to Rep. McCarthy in what appears to me to be a pun as Commissioner Bevard spoke of RSA'S and he asked her if she was now Representative McCarthy, who has a tendency to often quote RSA's. Hardly disparaging McCarthy's character. 
The important piece in all this is that the Commissioners are not walking away from the Assisted Living Study. They are still seeking an RFP with the $10K they have already encumbered from 2017. 
In the oldest county in New Hampshire where affordable senior housing and the future of the county nursing home is at stake, the majority of the Delegation walked away from the needs of the citizens of Carroll County. An additional $10k was not included in the budget for 2018 by the Delegation, not the Commissioners. It is unfortunate that McConkey and some members of the Delegation did not put citizens of their county ahead of petty politics. 


JoeCormier said...

I'm posting again, and feeling lonely! Would be nice to hear other opinions.

For the record, I'm politically, an "Independent" ... can ya tell!

Being sensitive to Paul's concern about "spam" (and rightfully so)about not posting URL's to the blog, I'd suggest going to youtube to view the meetings in question. Rep.Comeau's site, that the Delegation Chair mentions in his letter, posts to youtube,as well.

From the Delegation Chair's letter:

" ... “go to XXXXXXXX to view the commissioners meeting on April 4. Navigate to 2 hours, 30 min and 22 seconds to hear Commissioner Babson speak against the delegation’s position on the feasibility study and then (2 hours, 44 minutes, 45 seconds) listen to Commissioner Babson disparage Rep. Frank McCarthy’s character. Also view the March 1 delegation meeting, same website (37.01 minutes) to gain a better understanding of the delegation’s position, why we did not move to fund the feasibility study. “

Bear with me if there is too much guidance. Not all, are familiar with youtube.

Google "youtube"
Click on the youtube site
In the search box, write-in the following:
Carroll County NH Commissioners Meeting April 4, 2018

Click on the search icon, on the right
Click on the April 4, 2018 meeting
Drag the red dot to the right, to about 2:28:00

View the March 1 delegation meeting the same way on youtube, except substitute the following in the youtube search box:
Carroll County NH Delegation 3/1/18

Mark Hounsell said...

I appreciate Pauls publishing the facts that offsets the flagrant misrepresentation made by the chairman of the delegation. Something insidious is at play behind the scenes. The actions of certain delegation members suggest what I have long suspected as going on.
The private behind the scenes conversations (plotting) have caused McConkey and company to flex their imaginary political muscles in the hopes that the public will be sufficiently confused as to support their lies instead of the commissioners truth.
What is disheartening is that there is no delegation member even willing to discuss the needs of our county senior citizens. 2018 elections promises to be a great opportunity to deal with these troubling tendencies that put partisan politics and distortions above seeking solutions to very real problems.
Mark Hounsell

William M Marsh said...

Mark, I seriously object to your statement: "What is disheartening is that there is no delegation member even willing to discuss the needs of our county senior citizens."

You know perfectly well I have supported this both at meetings and in the press. Such broad accusations only make this problem worse.

Paul, your piece is not quite accurate either: "An additional $10k was not included in the budget for 2018 by the Delegation, not the Commissioners."

The Delegation did not cut this out of the 2018 budget; the Commissioners never asked for it in the first place. The reporter from the Sun asked about this at the end during the public comment section of the 1st budget meeting this spring -- I am sorry for not recalling the date. The reason of course was they don't need to ask for money they have already encumbered.

Of course failing to address the disagreement about the encumbrance before moving on to the budget has only made matters worse.

My opinion is the highly dysfunctional relationship between the Delegation and the Commissioners now seems to have a life of its own. It seems to be a holdover from prior years, and did not seem to be improved despite 2 new Commissioners and 3 new Delegation members in the last 2 years. Perhaps we all need mediation and communication skills, or at least the discipline to keep public statements factual, and to resolve one issue before moving on to the next.

Mark Hounsell said...

Representative Marsh The $10K was most certainly in the commissioners estimate. Check with your sub-committee chairman and review the minutes.
I realize you have said you supported a study. But when given the opportunity to fight for it you were as silent as a lamb. I understand the pressure to get along with your chairman, but please give us break, it is not the commissioners obstructing the study.
Believe me when I tell you the commissioners are going forward with finding the best way to assist our elders. Apparently, without the help or support of ANY delegation member and that to this point includes you Dr. Marsh.
You supported spending $26K to look into the past with the unnecessary Performance Critique (some call it an audit) but you have not once voted to allocate a dime towards a glance towards the future. This promises to be an interesting summer and fall as the voters will have to consider all of this as they sort things out. I can tell you one thing I am hoping for some changes to the membership of our county delegation. This is all so very ridiculous.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

It seems to me that Comm. Hounsel and Rep. Marsh agree on the need for a feasibility study and both have been strong proponents.
The backroom politics that derailed the work of the subcommittee that recommended the study last fall was shameful and politically driven. Both Comm. Hounsel and Rep. Marsh strongly disagreed with tabling it.
I think you both have the best interests of the county at heart and I believe that you will find a way forward collaboratively. You agree on a lot more than you disagree with. Don't let petty politics derail this vital issue being properly studied and solutions put forward before it becomes a crisis.
Thank you both for your service.

Mark Hounsell said...

Reprsenatative William Marsh is one of the good guys. His positions are well thought out and he is the lest partisan member of the delegation. With one term under his belt Bill is poised in his step up more should he get reelected and I hope he is.
Having said that, I understand that when the legislature is in session it is very difficult to stay on top of county affairs. There should be more trust AND COMMUNICATION between delegation members and commissioners. This delegation is depending on their chairman to keep them informed. His attempts fall far short on accuracy and he never gives credit to where credit is due.
The commissioners returned over $1 million from the 2017 budget. There are many highlights of accomplishments that should be acknowledge - but they are not.
Rep. Marsh it is time for you to begin trusting the commissioners. If we do something objectionable call us out on it. But please, evidence should follow the accusation. Your Chairman is not accurate in his comments regarding the commissioners.

Joe Cormier said...

Thanks again to the blogger (Paul), for providing a platform for healthy debate. It's unfortunate, towns, all of which have cable TV, and most, with good broadband access, don't provide for a platform to allow citizen debate, among citizens, not just with town officials.

I'll add comment to the study regarding "assisted living" and the county property. I can recall attending a meeting at the Moultonborough town library where the subject was brought-up ... yours truly commenting. It was a meeting of the County Land Advisory Committee, and revolved, especially around farms, till someone, guess who, brought up a different view.

Go to youtube and type in the search box: carroll county NH 9/23/17
Click the search icon

Click on: Carroll County NH Land Advisory Committee 9/23/17

Go to 1:14:00 minutes

Studies are needed (not too many) ... of overall issues ... and then focus on plans, when consensus is reached.

Look at what is going on in MoBo with the Taylor property, and the former Lions property. Some facts should be obvious, without contemplating the navel.

William M Marsh said...

Thank you Mark for calling me one of the good guys. Lack of good information can lead to bad decisions; we need better communication so that there are more "good guys."

At this point I would say based on recent experience I don't trust anyone as a reliable conduit of information. But I believe most people would agree that if the Commissioners wish to communicate with the Delegation, then they need at a minimum to attend Delegation meetings so that discussion can take place. And we need to make sure decision makers have sufficient relevant information prior to voting on various issues so that they can make an informed decision, recognizing that without relevant information, if forced to make a decision, they will have to make one based on ideology.

Jerry Knirk and I have been discussing what we can do to address this obviously dysfunctional relationship, and I anticipate a forthcoming proposal.

Mark Hounsell said...

Rep. Marsh, you wrote, "But I believe most people would agree that if the Commissioners wish to communicate with the Delegation, then they need at a minimum to attend Delegation meetings so that discussion can take place." I would agree if the atmosphere at the delegation meetings were not so unwelcoming and one-sided. Call me old school, but I would think the "minimum" needed for better communication would be picking up the phone and talking. In my first 15 1/2 months as a commissioner the only two delegation members who have had one on one discussions with me regarding the feasibility study are yourself and Rep. Knirk.
The last time I attended a delegation meeting (not counting the one where the delegation voted to adopt the 2018 budget) I had to tolerate Re. Cordelli literally beating his fist on the table Nikita Khrushchev style blasting me for not doing a good job. That is all well and good except Chairman McConkey refused me the opportunity to respond to Cordelli's over the top assault on my integrity.
I will not be used as a prop at the delegation meetings in order to accommodate the continual offensive political posturing from Cordelli, McConkey and McCarthy. Until such time as the delegation is respectful to the elected office of the commissioners it is best for all concerned that I stay away.
So while Jerry Knirk and you try to remedy this "dysfunctional relationship" I remain available to talk to ANY delegation members if any of them wish to confer. My number is 603-832-8371.

Mark Hounsell said...

Check that. Rep. Karen Umberger and I had a discussion on Valley Vision Channel 3 in the Mt. Was Valley this past fall. She was gracious to allow our discussion to be in the public eye. I commend her for that.
On that show she said that she would support appropriating $10K for a feasibility study in the 2018 county appropriation. I believe Karen supports spending $10K for the purpose of a feasibility study this year. My belief is based on the knowledge and personal experience with Karen, who is an Honorable person who backs up her words with action. She has not personally inquired of me or expressed her position to me. I do not believe her recent votes are reflective of her actual position. If so it is for some unexplained reason?

William M Marsh said...

Mark, you (and Paul) know I have been a Moderator for years, and I am not going to defend a Chairman's failure to maintain order at a meeting.

As far as direct contact outside of meetings, it is my understanding that the Delegation was told to go through Chairman McKonkey for information requests -- I believe Ken asked for this due to an excessive number of requests. I would contend that is a bad policy if sufficient information is not being passed along.

I have not discussed the feasibility study with Rep. Umberger since last fall, but I would agree with your observations about her character.

Joe Cormier said...

"Check that. Rep. Karen Umberger and I had a discussion on Valley Vision Channel 3 in the Mt. Was Valley this past fall. She was gracious to allow our discussion to be in the public eye. I commend her for that."

I remember watching some of that discussion. You can find it here: