Metzler Talks of “Countersuit,” My Call for Emergency Meeting: Oh Hum….

ON Sunday, June 21, the entire school board received the following forwarded email chain.  I have redacted the name of the parent to whom this was addressed:
Begin forwarded message:
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


Since receiving this email, I have been calling for an emergency meeting of the Timberlane School Board.  Is there, in fact, a countersuit planned against Mrs. Morse who is currently suing the district and Dr. Metzler?  My phone calls to individual members (3) and emails to a quorum of the board have been met with complete silence. (Only Mr. Collins replied with a denial and his usual personal insults.) Here’s my email to the board:


Sent on June 22, 2015:
Fellow Board Members:
I would like to call an emergency meeting before June 28th to discuss the possibility mentioned by Dr. Metzler below of a “countersuit” using taxpayer money which I believe may be against Carolyn Morse .  I also want to explore leaving Sandown Central in its current configuration for one more year.
Our by-laws require the chairman to call a meeting at the request of three school board members. Please ” reply all”  on this so I can know THREE members did in fact so request a meeting.  This meeting should be before June 28th, the deadline for the reply to Mrs. Morse’s suit which I believe is when the countersuit mentioned in this email below may be filed. 
As we do not have to vote on having an emergency meeting, there is no prohibition from “reply All” on the topic of anemergency meeting. Just write Yes or No in reply all.
The fact that Dr. Metzler is on vacation is not germane to these issues and his presence is not necessary for decisions on either matter. Failure to act before June 28th will almost certainly cost taxpayer money in legal fees that might possibly be avoided if we can discuss this issue immediately.
Thank you,
Donna Green

cc: Sandown Board of Selectmen


Here is an email I received this morning from the school board chairman after a short note last night saying once again that I wanted an emergency meeting:

Mrs. Green,

You are sounding like a recalcitrant child. There is no countersuit at this time. If there should be one, we will discuss it then. In addition, no one informed me that they were in favor of your request for a meeting – I’m guessing probably because it’s unnecessary.

[sentence redacted as the request of Mr. Collins.]

Nancy


I suspect Ms Steenson is saying that until a countersuit is filed with the court, it does not exist. Ms. Steenson conveniently overlooks my point:  if a countersuit is in the works, which she does not deny, we as a board should be authorizing the considerable expense of this. Defending against a lawsuit is one thing.  Launching a countersuit is quite another.  To be clear, I am not defending or trying to protect Mrs. Morse in my request for an emergency meeting. My sole concern is protecting taxpayer dollars and stopping a runaway legal spiral.

So far Rob Collins and Nancy Steenson have denied the existence of a countersuit. I sincerely hope they are not misinformed or misinforming me. We will find out on June 29th.* But one way or the other, you can be sure your board will react with complete indifference.

*CORRECTION:  The deadline for responding to federal lawsuits is more than the 30 days given for NH suits.  Mid-August is a more likely time frame.


Danville State Representative Betsy Sanders weighed in on this issue in an email sent on June 23, 2015 to Rob Collins:

Good morning, Rob,
As I happen to be a recipient of your e mail, I want to take the opportunity to respond as a voter, taxpayer, and a State Representative.  I have provided a copy of RSA 195:6 the powers and duties of cooperative school districts.  I believe that these powers and duties are exclusive to the school board who are elected to represent their constituents in the district.  The law includes “I. Each cooperative school district shall be a body corporate and politic with power to sue and be sued…”
Dr. Metzler has no legal authority to sue anyone on his own behalf using taxpayer funds, without school board approval.  The school board has no legal authority to delegate any of their authority to sue to a single person who has not been elected by the voters.
The Cooperative School Board should indeed have an emergency meeting to determine the person(s) to be sued, the anticipated cost of the suit, and the language of the suit.  Any board member who does not meet, is relinquishing their legal duty to the taxpayers.  It is the board that needs to approve or decline the participation in this suit of Dr. Metzlers.  If he wants to sue someone then it should be at his own expense, not taxpayers.
This situation needs to be discussed at a public noticed meeting so that the taxpayers are aware of the board’s decision and discussion.  Any board member who refuses to attend this emergency meeting is neglecting their duty to the people they represent.
I urge all cooperative school board members to respond with a “yes” and hold an emergency meeting before a possible unnecessary legal expense is used.  This is the people’s money to be used for a public purpose, not a private purpose and not for the benefit of a single employee.
Thank you for your consideration to this matter.  Please remember Article 8 of the New Hampshire Constitution:

[Art.] 8. [Accountability of Magistrates and Officers; Public’s Right to Know.]Edit

All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them. Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1976 by providing right of access to governmental proceedings and records.

Rep. Betsy Sanders, Danville
TITLE XV
EDUCATION
CHAPTER 195
COOPERATIVE SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Section 195:6

 195:6 Powers and Duties of Cooperative School Districts. – 
I. Each cooperative school district shall be a body corporate and politic with power to sue and be sued, to acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property for the use of schools therein, and to make necessary contracts in relation thereto, and have and possess all the powers and be subject to all the liabilities conferred and imposed upon school districts under the provisions of RSA 194.

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10 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

10 responses to “Metzler Talks of “Countersuit,” My Call for Emergency Meeting: Oh Hum….

  1. Michele

    Wow! This whole thing is out of control. The responding emails are awful and disrespectful. I am not sure who I voted in as a tax payer but I would have never tought I would vote this kind of administration in. Seems to me they are just ready and willing to use our money to benefit themselves. Just think all this extra money going to legal fees, raises (just curious how did that happen?), and jobs that are unnessasary could be used for so much more maybe even full time kindergarten with out the huge tuition fee….. I am ashamed that this is what our town calls a school board.

  2. Watching_SB_Response

    I believe that if anyone else had raised the issue, there would already have been a meeting.

    • I believe this poster says this in all earnestness and not out of offense to me, but frankly, I’m getting pretty tired of hearing things like this. The fact of the matter is that the board has jumped into a closet together, closed the door and refuses to deal with issues. I’m one person banging on the outside. It doesn’t matter who is doing the banging. They would still be huddled in the closet, ignoring the world and their responsibilities. As I have said over and over, what is going on is not an issue of personalities; it is an issue of fundamental disagreement far beyond the fact that we don’t like one another.

      • By the way, has anyone noticed how Shawn O’Neil, Kim Farah and Cindy Buco have all been shut down by the board? The Danville issues for the most part are not my issues. Their MO is based on not liking what people have to say, not who they are. Mother Theresa would be treated the same way if she challenged the superintendent’s authority and the board’s willingness to give him ever more authority.

  3. Michele

    Donna-
    Could you give us the context and why this was sent to the school board? The back and forth with the parent seems odd considering the subject.

    • I don’t have much context. Thank goodness the parent did forward to the entire school board, thus making it public and making me aware of it, but the reasons remain hers. I have not spoken to her.

      • Michele

        Ahhh Ok- she forwarded it. That piece I did not understand. This is very disturbing. Thank you for that explanation.

  4. Sleepless in Sandown

    The most disturbing aspect of this post is the inclusion of Ms. Steenson’s response to your inquiry–which I found to be extremely unprofessional.
    Keep up the good fight–good things will happen with time.

  5. Mark Acciard

    Ms. Sanders, Thank you. Evidently you and Ms. Green are the only two with the courage to follow the law in the face of Timberlane’s Neo Fascisti, Steenson, Collins, and Metzlers, willful ignorance of it.

  6. Will_not_hold_my_breath

    This email chain is alarming and the responses by some of your colleagues are downright shocking.

    Mrs. Steenson wrote that “You are sounding like a recalcitrant child”. To make it even worse, she knows that her words could well wind up posted and clearly does not care.

    Mr. Collins said that “This is another wild goose chase by Mrs. Green, nothing more.” His dismissive attitude does not reassure anyone.

    This revelation may make Dr Metzler reconsider filing a counter suit or he may find that he has absolutely no claim to file one. If he does go ahead and file one I hope that people remember what these two had to say and that they issue apologies.

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