A Belated Update

No Trespass Order Disappears

Thanks to the efforts of my lawyer, Richard J. Lehmann in Concord, the district has “clarified” its position with respect to my free entry into the SAU Building.  Here is an excerpt from Diane Gorrow’s letter, written to my attorney on Sept. 25, 2014, responding to our complaints.  This section responds to our questions concerning my access to the SAU offices:

The Superintendent asks all School Board members who want information to perform their duties to call ahead so that the information is available when they come into the office.  In light of the police investigation of the July 24, 2014 incident between Mrs. Green and Cathy Belcher, the School Board Chair Nancy Steenson and the Superintendent felt it was best to have Mrs. Green obtain written permission from the Superintendent before coming to the SAU office.  That process was established not to prevent Mrs. Green from conducting her duties, but to avoid any future problems between Mrs. Green and SAU staff, and for the protection of Mrs. Green and staff.

Mrs. Green does not have a no trespass order against her.  She is free to enter the SAU office at any time.  Until the police investigation is concluded, the Superintendent would still prefer that Mrs. Green let him know before coming to the office.

Although I’d like to push this into the past to get on with the important business that should be at hand, my credibility requires a response to Ms. Gorrow’s statements.

Here is the email Nancy Steenson sent to me as few days after the so-called “incident.”

nancysteenson <nancysteenson@comcast.net>

Jul 28
to me, trsb

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

And just to show that advance notice was not the issue, here is an email showing me being denied entry at a time of my convenience:

Donna Green <donnagre@gmail.com>

Aug 6

to Catherine, Earl
 DR, Metzler:
 
I intend to view the invoices and the cheques tomorrow at 10 a.m.   Please provide written permission by 9 a.m. to this effect.
 
Thank you,
Donna Green

Belcher, Catherine <Catherine.Belcher@timberlane.net>

AttachmentsAug 6

to me
Hello Donna,This office is in receipt of your request for permission to enter the SAU office to review the check registers tomorrow morning.  Unfortunately, Dr. Metzler is not currently in the office (nor will he be here tomorrow) to provide his written permission.  Is there another day next week that would work for you?I look forward to hearing from you,
Cathy[cid:image001.png@01CFB1A3.5C42EFF0]
Cathy Belcher
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
and Assistant Superintendent of Schools
(603) 382-6119 ext. 2217
catherine.belcher@timberlane.net<mailto:catherine.belcher@timberlane.net>
Now let’s hope these churlish attacks are a thing of the past so we can all concentrate of issues of substance in our district. Apologies for not posting this sooner. Things have been moving fast especially with my guest contributor postings. (When one needs an excuse, a husband is a handy thing.)

6 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

6 responses to “A Belated Update

  1. Cathy

    So TRSD SB/SAU has incurred legal fees, at the tax payer expense, yet again:
    • Legal “opinion” in order to violate RSA 198:20-b
    • A CYA response regarding their attempt to bar you from fulfilling your elected duties
    No wonder they feel need to hire a PR firm – at the tax payers expense.
    Cathy

    • Diane Gorrow’s reply was part of a larger letter responding to my lawyer’s letter. Let’s not forget all the legal fees incurred when the district forwards Right to Know requests to the district’s lawyer, Ms. Gorrow, instead of just handing over the information. I don’t know how often they do this or what percentage of RTK requests get vetted by the lawyer, but I’d certainly like to know how many requests ultimately get denied based on the advice. Very few would be my guess…

      I was, in fact, barred from the SAU building. They can say what they like, but there is no question that I was not permitted in the SAU office outside of meetings without prior written permission from the superintendent.

      The SAU has proposed a tripling of their legal budget line in their budget (from $500 to 1500). I expect the district budget will include more money for legal expenses, too.

      • Cathy

        I did not realize they sought legal advice regarding RTK requests. There is an issue in this district when it comes to basic understanding of statutes. If one would prefer to believe that an educated person can read and comprehend, one must conclude they prefer not to be transparent and are willing to spend the tax payers money to seek “opinions” that support withholding information from the tax payer.

  2. It’s a shame that you should suffer for the interests of your community of taxpayers, and would be even more unfortunate if action against the school district to recover your costs meant more use the public’s hard-earned money beyond its intent. Perhaps these hacks can be made personally liable? Worth a little research. Although it’s likely they’ll claim insulation afforded by their official office.

    On that note, consider a statute titled “Abuse of Office”. It’s really a wonderful bit of criminal law in New Hampshire, if only it were applied more vigorously. Given what you’ve revealed so far, it appears to fit. A subsection states:

    ” 643:1 Official Oppression. – A public servant, as defined in RSA 640:2, II, is guilty of a misdemeanor if, with a purpose to benefit himself or another *or to harm another*, he *knowingly commits an unauthorized act which purports to be an act of his office*; or knowingly refrains from performing a duty imposed on him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office. ”

    Emphasis mine.

    The definition of “Public Servant”? Title LXII Section 640:2 states:

    ” (a) “Public servant” means any officer or employee of the state or any political subdivision thereof, including judges, legislators, consultants, jurors, and *persons otherwise performing a governmental function*. A person is considered a public servant upon his election, *appointment or other designation as such*, although he may not yet officially occupy that position. A person is a candidate for electoral office upon his public announcement of his candidacy. ”

    Emphasis mine.

    Knowingly accusing someone of wrongdoing, when such is false, and using public facilities (a school system) under the letterhead of an official of that system, seems to fit well into the above.

    I think your “Dr.” Metzler had better come up with his facts concerning “you are communicating with district staff members to obtain free professional services for personal reasons.” and, “It is his understanding this is not the first time you have done so.”, right quick, or perhaps your attorney can prepare a nice case and send it off to the Attorney General.

    Of course, given that this ugly threat was issued by a minion, not directly, puts this creep one staff member behind his inept action. Staff member note: you’ve been used.

    Whether he’s fully insulated is worthy of discovery.

    I think those of us with free cash (and I wish I were among these) might raise some money to offset your expenses. Not to take your system off the financial hook, but to assist you in further revealing the ineptitude and corruption in which you’re currently immersed, and then to clean it out.

    Perhaps some of your readers will be so inclined?

    PayPal is perhaps the easiest to use. Others include gofundme.com

    Such work deserves our full support!

    PS: As you are a skilled accountant and auditor, perhaps an ongoing revelation of legal expenses and the cost of time wasted harassing you (“staff” and facilities) might be posted as an ongoing running total? Let the public know how much is wasted in your board’s failing endeavour to cover their own tracks.

    • Arthur and I now do have legal expenses but we are not at the point to ask for assistance, though the thought is very much appreciated. It does pain us that the district has to also incur legal expenses but my fight has to be fought for the benefit of those who will come next. Like Len Mullen fought to have a blog while on the budget committee and to get the budget committee meetings televised and recorded. Each person stands on the victories of the previous fighter and elected representatives at the school district get closer to gaining their full measure of authority to represent the people.

      Also, please know that I am not an accountant or an auditor. Many years ago I was licensed to sell securities in Canada which required me to learn about financial reports. I retained my securities license while becoming a personal financial planner in Canada which required a good understanding of the Canadian tax system. In the US, I’m nothing more than a bulldog.

  3. sue sherman

    Mrs. Geen I really agree with these two quotes from your blog!
    !. “I’d like to push this into the past to get on with the important business that should be at hand” , ..
    2..”concentrate of issues of substance in our district.”
    Let’s get back to work on the important issues: kids and offering a great education!!

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