Battle Brewing Over School Budget Seat?

On June 15, The SAU sent the following email to all the district towns following the appointment of Josh Horns to Danville’s Board of Selectman.  Mr. Horns also sits on the Timberlane Budget Committee representing Danville.

Hello District Town Offices, 
An items that continues to resurface year after year is incompatibility of officers as it relates to selectmen also serving on the school district budget committee.  Attached is a legal opinion on the matter we received back in 2010 that we’d like to share with your office. 
Have a good day,

[DG:  Attachment redacted due to concerns about privilege.  Readers should ask their SB reps for a copy – or their selectmen.]

On June, 25, the Danville Selectmen replied saying that the offices are not incompatible and suggesting that if the SAU wants Mr. Horns to resign, they will have to go through the court:

Dear Dr. Metzler and respective School Board members,

      Please find attached to this email the Danville Board of Selectmen’s position on this matter with supporting legal position. If you have any questions please contact me.
 Thank you,
Shawn O’Neil
Danville Board of Selectmen

Danville_TRSD_Horns_SBC_BOS (1)   [by permission of Mr. O’Neil]

Why is this important apart from demonstrating yet another conflict between a district town and the SAU?  Well, for years members of our district were under a misapprehension about who could qualify for district positions.  You can only imagine the number of highly qualified people who did not run for school budcom or school board because of this legal opinion.  This certainly did not serve the interests of our communities.



Filed under Sandown Issues

4 responses to “Battle Brewing Over School Budget Seat?

  1. Mark Acciard

    I never thought I would say these words, but Mr. O’Neill is correct. And the SAU is wrong.

    The RSA at issue here is as follows;

    ” 669:7 Incompatibility of Offices. –
    I. No person shall at the same time hold any 2 of the following offices: selectman, treasurer, moderator, trustee of trust funds, collector of taxes, auditor and highway agent. No person shall at the same time hold any 2 of the following offices: town treasurer, moderator, trustee of trust funds, selectman and head of the town’s police department on full-time duty. No person shall at the same time hold the offices of town treasurer and town clerk. No full-time town employee shall at the same time hold the office of selectman. No official handling funds of a town shall at the same time hold the office of auditor. No selectman, moderator, town clerk or inspector of elections shall at the same time serve as a supervisor of the checklist. No selectman, town manager, school board member except a cooperative school board member, full-time town, village district, school district except a cooperative school district, or other associated agency employee or village district commissioner shall at the same time serve as a budget committee member-at-large under RSA 32. ”

    NOTE that the LAW SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES, a “Cooperative School Board member”

    Can someone get and post a copy of this alleged legal opinion, without redaction. BTW, it IS a public document under RSA 91A.

    Perhaps someone can educate Mr. Metzler on the laws he is ignoring.

    • Mr. Acciard,
      Thank you for writing. I have a copy of the district’s legal letter. I’m not sure that just because they sent it to a quorum of a public body out of the district that it is therefore public. That’s why I have not published it. Legal letters are not necessarily subject to 91-A. If you could assure me that this letter is now a public document, I would happily publish it, believe me!

  2. Mark Acciard

    HEre are the legal exemptions for public documents;

    91-A:5 Exemptions. – The following governmental records are exempted from the provisions of this chapter:
    I. Records of grand and petit juries.
    I-a. The master jury list as defined in RSA 500-A:1, IV.
    II. Records of parole and pardon boards.
    III. Personal school records of pupils.
    IV. Records pertaining to internal personnel practices; confidential, commercial, or financial information; test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data used to administer a licensing examination, examination for employment, or academic examinations; and personnel, medical, welfare, library user, videotape sale or rental, and other files whose disclosure would constitute invasion of privacy. Without otherwise compromising the confidentiality of the files, nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit a public body or agency from releasing information relative to health or safety from investigative files on a limited basis to persons whose health or safety may be affected.
    V. Teacher certification records in the department of education, provided that the department shall make available teacher certification status information.
    VI. Records pertaining to matters relating to the preparation for and the carrying out of all emergency functions, including training to carry out such functions, developed by local or state safety officials that are directly intended to thwart a deliberate act that is intended to result in widespread or severe damage to property or widespread injury or loss of life.
    VII. Unique pupil identification information collected in accordance with RSA 193-E:5.
    VIII. Any notes or other materials made for personal use that do not have an official purpose, including but not limited to, notes and materials made prior to, during, or after a governmental proceeding.
    IX. Preliminary drafts, notes, and memoranda and other documents not in their final form and not disclosed, circulated, or available to a quorum or a majority of the members of a public body.

    NOW the lie most often promulgated to withhold info from the public is a willful misuse of RSA 91A:3 NON PUBLIC SESSIONS: Jack used to claim fictitious legal opinions all the time in Atkinson Selectmen meetings using this RSA until Paul Sullivan exposed his lies on camera.

    91-A:3 Nonpublic Sessions. –
    I. (a) Public bodies shall not meet in nonpublic session, except for one of the purposes set out in paragraph II. No session at which evidence, information, or testimony in any form is received shall be closed to the public, except as provided in paragraph II. No public body may enter nonpublic session, except pursuant to a motion properly made and seconded.

    II. Only the following matters shall be considered or acted upon in nonpublic session:

    (e) Consideration or negotiation of pending claims or litigation which has been threatened in writing or filed against the public body or any subdivision thereof, or against any member thereof because of his or her membership in such public body, until the claim or litigation has been fully adjudicated or otherwise settled. Any application filed for tax abatement, pursuant to law, with any body or board shall not constitute a threatened or filed litigation against any public body for the purposes of this subparagraph.

    As you can clearly see, spurious “legal opinions” where no case is pending or threatened in writing are public. Sorry Nancy, Rob, and Earl.

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