A Pattern of Intimidation Using Your Money

Every power needs a counterbalancing power. That is the foundation of our republic and a profound observation about human nature. Below you will find a series of correspondence (in chronological order), authorized in one way or another by Superintendent Metzler. I guarantee you that you will find these communications riveting – even if you don’t know the pernicious politics of the Timberlane Regional School District and SAU 55. You will see patterns. You will see strategy. You will see untruths. Most of all, you will see legal services completely unrelated to education.

You can draw your own conclusions about the character of the people making decisions about your children, and spending your tax dollars.  Faithful readers may have read some of the communications below, but almost certainly not all. Remember while you read these that every year your superintendent has received hefty salary raises, maximum or near maximum bonuses and lavish praise from the SAU board.

1) July 24, 2014

Metzler Imposes Restrictions on Sandown Representative to the Timberlane Regional School Board Via Email

(6:14 pm)
Mrs Green – Today it was reported to me that you were both disrespectful and harassing to several employees. Of course I will investigate this report and if validated I will need to limit your access to the SAU. This is both disturbing and unfortunate. I will also be consulting with both the Plaistow Police Department and district council.
Respectfully,
Dr. Earl F. Metzler II
_________________________________________
July 28   4:55 pm

Mrs. Green,

It has been reported to me that an investigation is being conducted by the Superintendent’s office concerning your interactions with an SAU staff member on July 24, 2014.  Until such time as the investigation is complete, you are hereby barred from entering upon the SAU #55 premises without the expressed written permission of the Superintendent of Schools.  Dr. Metzler will make appropriate arrangements for you to conduct your duties as a school board member.

Nancy

[Nancy Steenson, Chiarman Timberlane Regional School Board]

Readers, SAU 55 was completely disgraced in this tangle with me, thanks to the assistance of my lawyer, Richard Lehmann, and a kind reader who did some software magic to make the security video playable on my blog. See: Do you see any harassment? See also: Green pushes back with legal letter

2)   June 20, 2015

Metzler Sends Ominous but Unspecific Email to Three Journalists Suggesting He Would Launch a Countersuit.

From: “Metzler, Earl” <Earl.Metzler@timberlane.net>
Date: June 20, 2015 at 7:11:38 PM EDT
To: “matt_rittenhouse@yahoo.com” <matt_rittenhouse@yahoo.com>, Niedzinski <JNiedzinski@gloucestertimes.com>, Penny Williams <penwil1@ix.netcom.com>
Subject: Fwd: Counter lawsuit
Dr. Earl F. Metzler II
Begin forwarded message:
From: <Earl.Metzler@timberlane.net>
Date: June 20, 2015 at 7:09:31 PM EDT
To: [redacted]
Cc: “nancysteenson@comcast.net” <nancysteenson@comcast.net>, Rob Collins <robcollins89@gmail.com>, Peter Bealo <pbealo@comcast.net>
Subject: Counter lawsuit
Ms. [redacted] – Please don’t forget the counter lawsuit…misrepresenting facts and defamation of one’s character are certainly going to be a factor. Personally and Professionally we will be represented by the best attorneys…locally and nationally. I hope that taxpayers understand what that means. I am all in!
Respectfully,
Dr. Earl F. Metzler II 

Readers, I tried to get a meeting called to discuss this email by the superintendent, but only Stefanie Dube would support this. Three members are necessary to require a special meeting.  

3)  July 2, 2015

Drummond Woodsum letter to Donna Green, Fiscal Conservative Elected School Board Representative from Sandown:

DW July 2 2015 A

DW July 2 2015 B

 

For the cuious, but not necessary to the trajectory of this blog post, here is my reply to the false statements in this letter: Your Tax Dollars at Work.

4)  January 20, 2016

Jorge-Mesa Tejada, Hampstead Fiscal Conservative Budget Committee member, receives “No Trespass” letter:

SAU55 Jan 20 2016

Mr. Mesa-Tejada is a veteran and a respected and long-serving elected official in Hampstead. He is also 80 years old.  His threat is only to those in the administration who repeatedly ask Hampstead taxpayers for an unnecessary school addition.  His efforts have repeatedly thwarted a successful bond vote.

5)  June 12, 2016

Drummond Wilson Sends Yet Another Letter to Jorge Mesa-Tejada:

Dinola letter

Readers, who is doing the harassing here? 

6)  January 1, 2018

Timberlane’s Lawyer Writes Belligerent Email to the NH Commission of Education:

O'Shaughnessy letter to Commissioner.JPG

O'Shaughnessy letter to Commission II.JPG

7)  February 2, 2018

Timberlane’s lawyer Makes Unnecessary Right to Know Request of Department of Education:

From: James A. O’Shaughnessy [mailto:JOShaughnessy@dwmlaw.com]
Sent: Friday, February 2, 2018 2:27 PM
To: Edelblut, Louis (Frank)
Cc: Fenton, Diana; SAU 55
Subject: Green v. SAU 55, Case No. SB-FY-18-10-007

Good afternoon Commissioner Edelblut:

I am writing to request a copy of the minutes of the State Board meeting held on January 11, 2018, whether they are in draft or final/approved form in accordance with RSA 91-A:2, II (requiring all minutes to be promptly recorded and open to inspection within 5 business days after the meeting). Said minutes are not currently posted online. Please include all minutes of non-public meetings, including the minutes of the deliberations in the above-referenced matter. If you cannot provide the minutes requested, please provide an explanation of the reason thereof.

Additionally, please provide copies of an any all communications or documents, in electronic form or otherwise, regarding the above-referenced matter, including but not limited to communications between, to, and/or involving the Commissioner, Frank Edelblut and/or any employee of the Department of Education, the Chair of the State Board of Education, Drew Cline, the Petitioner, Donna Green, and/or any other member of the State Board of Education. This request includes any communications/documents which may reside in personal devices, email accounts, or servers to the extent they are responsive to this request. If the Department believes such documents contain confidential information, please identify the confidential information and provide a redacted copy of such records or documents.

Please provide these documents in electronic if available, and make these documents available for inspection as soon as they are available, rather than when they are all complete, and please notify me immediately when they are available in either electronic form or in hard copy for inspection.

Sincerely,
James A. O’Shaughnessy
Attorney
603.716.2895 ext. 223
joshaughnessy@dwmlaw.com
1001 Elm Street, Suite 303, Manchester, NH 03101-1845
800.727.1941 | 603.716.2899 Fax | dwmlaw.com

Readers may want to see my comments on this waste of tax dollars at Runaway legal Activity at SAU 55

8)   February 3, 2018   

Metzler Restricts Access to Schools by Maxann Dobson, Fiscal Conservative Plaistow Candidate for Timberlane Regional School Board:

Dobson email from Louiselle

Ms. Dobson was an outspoken critic of Timberlane’s budget.  The “investigation” concluded just before the election finding no grounds for restricting her access, but the damage to Ms. Dobson’s candidacy was done. 

August 2018   Drummond Woodsum Writes Another Letter … more on that coming soon.

Readers should know these are not the only letters sent out to elected or formerly elected representatives of which I am aware.  These are only the ones I have been given to publish. Taxpayers should know that not one of these communications was given the blessing of a board vote or a board discussion before being sent.

 

 

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A Four Year Old Legal Letter Reveals Tyranny at Timberlane

Below is a masterfully written letter by Attorney Richard Lehmann on issues at Timberlane way back in 2014.  I am sad to say that not much has changed. Unpopular school board members must continue to make Right to Know requests to see public information pertaining to their duties. Ask Dr. Kim Farah, representative for Danville. Then the SAU administration enjoys leaving a reply to the end of the statutory 5 day deadline, something my lawyer correctly objects to on the basis of law. One thing has changed, however. Rather than involving a friendly police officer in intimidating elected officials as with me, the game has become more sophisticated and now involves Timberlane’s  lawyer writing letters to them or their former colleagues.  This may make me sad, but it should make taxpayers angry.

Here is a most instructive blast from the past.  Tomorrow I shall post many more contemporary examples of Timberlane tyranny of the legal sort.

Lehmann letter 1

Lehmann 2

Lehmann 3

Lehmann 4

Lehmann 5

Lehmann 6.JPG

Lehmann 7.JPG

Lehmann 8.JPG

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Golfers: Your Chance to Support the Cause

This coming Saturday, golfers among my readership have a chance to support The School District Governance Association of NH. So hope you can! SDGANH is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empowers elected school district officials to be responsive to their electorate instead of towing the line of SAU administrators. SDGANH was founded two years ago by a dedicated group of former and current school board and school budget committee members who saw a desperate need for education in responsible governance and budgeting among elected school district officials.

On Saturday, the SDGANH is holding its first ever fund raiser. Registering to play at the event, bringing some friends or sponsoring a hole would help a great cause and be a morning of good fun.

Saturday, August 18, 2018
Stonebridge Country Club, Goffstown
8 a.m. to noon.
Breakfast and lunch included.
$79 per golfer, $20 for non-golfers
Registration and more information: http://tinyurl.com/y9j2j2vh

Golf Tournament Flyer

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Goodbye Sandown!

In the rush of ordinary life, it is rare indeed to step outside to gaze upon the stars on a summer night. What a sky there was last night! Countless stars vying for attention like lustful fireflies, and there I was in my bare feet watching them.

It seems impossible that two people could have so much beauty and natural history to themselves. Our almost 4 acres has been magical – wild lady slippers, countless varieties of creatures, trees of infinite seasonal interest and the woodpeckers who work them, restless sounds of still unseen life – not least of which is the call of the Barred owl wondering “Who’ll cook for me?” Hardly a day goes by when our cat doesn’t dispatch a mouse or a chipmunk, keeping us safe from ticks. Trying to catch a porcupine with salted apple slices yesterday, I captured an unfortunate adolescent ground hog who may have learned her lesson to stay away. Perhaps it was she who dug up the turtle eggs sequestered at the sunny edge of our driveway.

In 9 days Arthur and I must move to his job in Florida. It is a wrenching move that leaves me with only heavy wistfulness. We know we will never again achieve what we have found in Sandown – the warm friends,the purposefulness of our activities, the utter joy of our surroundings, even a town government we respect. To our astonishment, Arthur calculated that neither of us, in our collective lives, have lived in one place longer than we have lived on Cranberry Meadow Rd.

Two things in Sandown are left undone. We are deeply disappointed that Sandown voters did not see the wisdom and necessity of withdrawing from the Timberlane Regional School District. Timberlane is currently under unprofessional administration with the regional school board enabling what would otherwise be unacceptable administrative behavior. Sandown and its children deserve much better and could do much better on their own. I’m confident of that and regret voters did not have a similar confidence.

On a more prosaic note, I regret leaving beautiful Fremont Road to the ravishes of so many people who ignorantly litter. Litter is practically unknown in many parts of the world, yet in New Hampshire, blessed with so much natural beauty, many citizens think nothing of dumping their trash out the car window. In my short stretch of Fremont alone, one man throws out 3 nips and two cans of Coors every workday on his way home to his wife. Another neighbor regularly throws his empty Marlboro packs onto the street. Dunkin’ drinks seem to have a life cycle of going from mouth to car to ditch. There are others who regularly pick up litter, and I hope they will extend their range to Fremont in our absence. Thank you!

Sandown, I shall miss you!
The train depot, town hall and the lovely ladies within it, the fire station – our local heroes!- the library, the rec trail, town forests, Lily Pond, the bridges over the Exeter River in all seasons, the Christmas tree lighting, Kevin Major’s Memorial Day services, Deliberative Sessions, voting and the patriotic bunting, seeing the garden at town hall mature (thanks, Garden Club!), Chub’s fries, (not the macaroons, sorry!,the many good people I’ve been privileged to work with in local government – and irreplaceable, generous friends.

This blog is going to be slowing down. My complaint to the Board of Education concerning the circumstances and procedures around the hiring of Thomas Geary by SAU 55 is still ongoing. If and when that gets resolved, you will be the first to know. Thanks for following me for the past 6 years. Together, we’ve helped to open some eyes as to the doings at SAU 55 and Timberlane’s incompetent board. Knowledge is power, but only when it is acted upon.

Goodbye, Sandown! Au revoir, New Hampshire! It is hard to leave.

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Timberlane Taxpayers Abused Once Again

Too bad there isn’t a taxpayer protection agency in New Hampshire.  If there were, Sandown, Danville, Plaistow and Atkinson would be under state protection right now. The latest instance of taxpayer abuse by SAU 55, with the willing cooperation of our own elected representatives, is worthy of front page headlines.

In an illegal non-public, the Timberlane School Board voted unanimously (8-0) to use $20,000 of Timberlane’s surplus money to dig SAU 55 out of its accounting hole of shame. A damning audit revealed the need for remedial work in the keeping-track-of-our -money department at SAU 55.  The solution?  Hire a consultant!

Funny how things work in education.  Failing schools get lavished with money.  Failing SAUs like SAU 55 also get lavished with money when what they need is a swift kick in the butt (metaphorically speaking) and major personnel changes (literally). The sad thing is that the elected officials who should be administering the harsh discipline are spineless jellyfish who float on the tide of infinite tax revenue. The jellyfish pulse to the tide of your diminishing income, while SAU employees, who should be unemployed, continue needing a bailout.

How Many Ways is this WRONG?

  1. Timberlane taxpayers should NOT be bailing out the SAU’s incompetence.  The SAU board should be dipping into the SAU’s own  budget to fix what needs fixing.  If they were to do this, the superintendent might not have  $18,000 for conferences in vacation destinations next year.  Oh dear.  The Cop Sync program money, appropriated despite the company being bankrupt and defunct, would have had to be applied to fix this problem, instead of redirected for other purposes unknown to the SAU board.
  2. The Timberlane board should not have gone into nonpublic to discuss audit/accounting/bookkeeping problems.  That is not an allowable exemption from  the open meeting laws of this state.  The “reputation” exception is meant for employee performance/disciplinary matters, not to shield the administration from owning up to management shortcomings and financial problems.
  3. The Timberlane board should not have voted in nonpublic to spend public money. That is always and ever a public concern and should never be hidden behind the cloak of nonpublic meetings – even when deliberations are legitimately non-public. From the draft minutes of TRSB meeting of June 21, 2018:  “Madam Chair Sherman announced that during nonpublic session Mr.  Guide motioned to expend up to $20k from the 2018 budget surplus fund to employ a consultant to assist with Timberlane bookkeeping which was seconded by Mr. Dube.  The motioned passed 8-0-0.”
  4. The Timberlane board should not have been silent about this action until someone made a Right to Know request for the public minutes of the meeting wherein the nonpublic was conducted.

The nonpublic discussion of accounting inadequacies in SAU 55, the decision to spend $20,000 of TIMBERLANE tax dollars to hire a consultant for an SAU issue, and the silence from ALL the board members about this business is outrageous.  Kim Farah from Danville was absent from this meeting. Every other one of your elected officials failed you profoundly, stupendously, and inexcusably.

Timberlane should divorce itself from SAU 55, which has shown itself to be mendacious, secretive, litigious, and now utterly incompetent. You can continue to throw money into thin air like trash from a speeding truck on the way to the dump, or you can sign the petition to withdraw from  SAU 55.  And while you are at it, get yourself some new representatives.  The ones at the table now want to protect a uesless SAU more than they want to protect your tax dollars.  SAU 55 should be made to fix its own problems with its own budget – and make sacrifices to do so. That’s called consequences.

The petition for Timberlane to withdraw from SAU 55 can be found on SpeakoutTimberlane Facebook page. It is being circulated by former Danville school board rep, Stefanie Dube (no relation to Sandown’s Lee Dube who voted in favor of spending your money on an SAU problem).

Note: SAU55 is overseen by a board that  consists of all the members of both the Timberlane Regional School District and the Hampstead School District. Hampstead and Timberlane share the costs of SAU 55.  SAU 55 has its own budget independent of both school districts.

 

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SAU 55 Board Knew of Audit Issues last year

The Timberlane Regional School District has received an audit for 2016-2017 with a material weakness and a significant deficiency. In audit-speak, that’s a big deal.

The material weakness :  “Numerous instances were identified where reconciliations were not being performed in a timely manner, if at all. ”

The significant deficiency:  “During our review of adjusting journal entries, we noted there is no review process for adjusting journal entries once they are posted to the general ledger. ”

This should come as no surprise to anyone.  Both these issues and more were revealed in the SAU’s own audit of 2015-2016 – and I have the video to prove it (below).

In October of 2016, driven entirely by my questioning of SAU 55’s audit, the SAU board was told that the untimely posting of bank reconciliations for SAU 55 was corrected for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.  Was this true?

Timberlane’s treasurer was also SAU 55’s treasurer.  We have learned today, with the release of Timberlane’s 2016-17 audit, that Timberlane’s treasurer did not reconcile Timberlane’s bank statements for all of 2016-2017:  “We noted that bank statements for the School District’s various accounts were not reconciled to the general ledger by the
School District Treasurer. We are aware the former Treasurer passed away during the fiscal year under audit, however it appears that the lack of bank statement reconciliations to the general ledger was an issue for all twelve months of the fiscal year
audited, and continued to be an issue for the first nine months of the subsequent fiscal year. ”

Timberlane’s auditor also addressed the fact that one person was changing the general ledger.  Listen to what Mr. Stokinger had to say about that to the SAU board way back in October of 2016. He said Mr. Dowd would be signing off on his (SAU) general ledger changes, yet Timberlane’s audit pointed out that there was no second party checking changes with respect to Timberlane’s ledger.

If SAU 55 did correct the issues the auditor addressed in SAU 55’s audit last year, why would Timberlane’s procedures not be similarly changed?

Do you think SAU 55 has different accounting and internal control practices for themselves and much laxer ones for Timberlane? We shall see when SAU 55’s audit comes out.  If the SAU continues to have the same issues, then that tells us something profound. So far, SAU 55’s audit has not been released to the public and most likely won’t be until October.  Surprised?

 

If you watched this short video to the end, you will see discussion about developing a policy on compensatory time. For those curious souls who would like to see the “policy” the SAU board developed, here it is.  To call it a joke would be an insult to comedians. Of course, I argued strenuously and voted against accepting this mind-dead policy.  That’s another video, some other time.

COMPENSATORY TIME
The employees of School Administration Unit No. 55 can earn compensatory time for working weekends and holidays.
The Superintendent or designee will develop and implement a procedure of internal controls for earning, use, and payout of compensatory time.


My advice to Timberlane taxpayers?  Protect yourselves from the zombie apocalypse:  they’ve already taken over the SAU board.

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Runaway Legal Activity at SAU 55

You might think superintendents would be completely absorbed advancing the education and welfare of their charges.  Not our superintendent.  He’s all in spending  money on needless legal action with his bat phone to Drummond Woodsum – with an open charge card called “Timberlane Tax Dollars.”

On February 2, 2018 Metzler authorized Attorney James O’Shughnessy to send a Right to Know letter to the Department of Education asking for communications between various persons at the DOE and the state Board of Education concerning my complaint against SAU 55.  Why on earth would such a thing be of interest to our superintendent? Does it advance the education and welfare of Timberlane students?  No. Yet he spent your money on legal services.

Read Mr. O’Shughnessy’s letter to see if you can fathom why our superintendent would think his time and our tax dollars should be expended so. (I’ll give you a hint at the end.)

From: James A. O’Shaughnessy [mailto:JOShaughnessy@dwmlaw.com]
Sent: Friday, February 2, 2018 2:27 PM
To: Edelblut, Louis (Frank)
Cc: Fenton, Diana; SAU 55
Subject: Green v. SAU 55, Case No. SB-FY-18-10-007

Good afternoon Commissioner Edelblut:

I am writing to request a copy of the minutes of the State Board meeting held on January 11, 2018, whether they are in draft or final/approved form in accordance with RSA 91-A:2, II (requiring all minutes to be promptly recorded and open to inspection within 5 business days after the meeting). Said minutes are not currently posted online. Please include all minutes of non-public meetings, including the minutes of the deliberations in the above-referenced matter. If you cannot provide the minutes requested, please provide an explanation of the reason thereof.

Additionally, please provide copies of an any all communications or documents, in electronic form or otherwise, regarding the above-referenced matter, including but not limited to communications between, to, and/or involving the Commissioner, Frank Edelblut and/or any employee of the Department of Education, the Chair of the State Board of Education, Drew Cline, the Petitioner, Donna Green, and/or any other member of the State Board of Education. This request includes any communications/documents which may reside in personal devices, email accounts, or servers to the extent they are responsive to this request. If the Department believes such documents contain confidential information, please identify the confidential information and provide a redacted copy of such records or documents.

Please provide these documents in electronic if available, and make these documents available for inspection as soon as they are available, rather than when they are all complete, and please notify me immediately when they are available in either electronic form or in hard copy for inspection.

Sincerely,
James A. O’Shaughnessy
Attorney
603.716.2895 ext. 223
joshaughnessy@dwmlaw.com
1001 Elm Street, Suite 303, Manchester, NH 03101-1845
800.727.1941 | 603.716.2899 Fax | dwmlaw.com


The motivation for this letter is this: Dr. Metzler, via his lawyer, who you are lavishing with tax dollars, wanted to get info to fight me in court should I prevail against SAU 55 at the state Board of Education. I maintain that SAU 55’s salary setting practices violate state law. (My complaint is currently being investigated by the Department of Education.)

Thank you to Stefanie Dube for obtaining this Right to Know request from the Department of Education. She became aware of it through an email exchange with the superintendent.

Neither SAU 55’s board, nor the Timberlane board, care one iota about this waste of money, my complaint, or much of anything else. They continue to give the superintendent completely unlimited access to legal services.  They continue to allow him to play politics with the reputations of elected officials, or prospective district officials.  SAU 55’s board is as close to comatose as you are likely to see outside the zombie apocalypse.

 

 

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