To Thwart Financial Oversight, TRSD Wastes Your Money

Kudos to Lee Dube, one of Sandown’s TRSD Budget Committee members.  At tonight’s Budget Committee meeting, he motioned to REQUIRE the TRSD to provide budget information to the committee in Excel format.  If you watched the meeting you would have heard Mr. Stokinger say that it would go to legal.

Legal?

The budcom demands a live spreadsheet to do their work and the district says they are going to run to their lawyer to see if they can prevent this?

In a nail biting vote, the motioned passed by just one vote: 4-3-2.*

The district’s legal line for the year ended in June was a very ample $70,000.  The district actually expended $79,000. Here’s why. They check with lawyers over Right to Know requests.  They threaten to sue elected officials (Josh Horns). They fight court cases all the way to the Supreme Court to prevent an elected  official (me) from receiving salary information in an electronic form. Now they are running to their lawyer to prevent the budget committee from getting the budget information in a useful spreadsheet. This is all your money being burned through like high-test gasoline.

You can be sure the district is going to refuse to provide the budget committee with the useful tools they are demanding to do their job. The paid officials will get their expensive lawyers to issue a carefully worded letter. Wanna bet what it’s going to say? You will be paying every which way – for the lawyers, and for an ineffectual budget committee.

As background, you should know that the budget committee already requested Excel format in a vote on March 26. They were told by paid officials of the district that the elected officials would not be getting a live spreadsheet. The paid officials believe that they need to give your representatives only what New Hampshire’s Right to Know law requires. In tonight’s meeting, Josh Horns correctly and saliently pointed out that the demand of the budget committee is not a Right to Know request and that the legislature requires the SAU to provide information that the budget committee demands. Thank you, Josh Horns.

Something is seriously wrong in Timberlane. This kind of insufferable obstructionism will inevitably go beyond hurting the taxpayer and affect the students.

*Tuck this away come election time. This was the vote:

4: Lee Dube (Sdn); Cathy Gorman (Sdn); Tony Cantone (Plaistow); Josh Horns (Danville)
3: Dennis Heffernan (Plaistow); Kate Delfino (Atkinson); Rick Blair (Plaistow)
2: Michelle O’Neil (Danville); Julie Hammond (Atkinson)

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12 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

12 responses to “To Thwart Financial Oversight, TRSD Wastes Your Money

  1. WDR

    Is there anywhere that John Q Public can find out how many times the TRSD has sought legal counsel and how much exactly is being spent? I’m not saying I want to know for what each consult is about because I know there are certain instances dealing with confidentiality issues but I certainly want to know how often and how much of my tax dollars are being spent for this. Let’s just say I am quite upset that the money that’s being poured into their coffers and lining the pockets of these lawyers doesn’t get used in a more fruitful and substantive way. It’s as though the district feels they have a bottomless money pile they can just arbitrarily jump into whenever they get challenged.

    • John Q. Public can file a Right to Know request to see all the legal invoices for the district and the SAU. They will redact what deals with student issues. You must be prepared to pay 50 cents a page. Each month’s bill is 3-4 pages long. Mr. Collins got this information for free when he posted on Facebook how much dealing with me has cost the district in legal fees – every single penny unnecessary, of course.
      Yes, it is a bottomless pit of money. What is even worse is that the school board does not approve pursuing legal action or requesting legal services. Whatever the superintendent feels like doing is just hunky dory with them. They have given the SAU an open check book for legal services and they don’t even bother to see what’s being written in it. The SB isn’t even informed of some legal action taken on the district’s behalf. I’m going into the SAU tomorrow to read legal letters addressed to the school board because I am permitted to see these only in supervised conditions with no notes allowed.

      • I paid for those documents.

        Please correct your statement.

      • Please show me the receipt and I will correct.

      • Mark Acciard

        Mr. Collins pissy misuse of the billing info to demean Ms. Green is deplorable given his active participation in the SB’s obfuscation. I would advise Mr. Collins that his focus is wrong. Ms. Green has only requested public info. This means, for the cheap seats, info she and anyone is legally entitled to. This means that the legal expenses engendered by the SB are THEIR FAULT AND RESPONSIBILITY SOLELY, NOT MRS. GREENS. They had the option of complying with the law without consulting attornies.

    • Mark Acciard

      One major problem here is the obfuscation. They hide any phone call or discussion with legal counsel under 91-A:3,II, E which LEGALLY, only allows non public sessions for legal discussions about active lawsuits, or lawsuits threatened in writing. every other phone call, or discussion about RTK requests and the like are BY LAW PUBLIC. Yet you must fight to get them. If at all.

      • This is not unique to our district. This is the way many towns work also and it is rooted in a willful and self-serving misinterpretation of the Right to Know law.

    • 4: Lee Dube (Sdn); Cathy Gorman (Sdn); Tony Cantone (Plaistow); Josh Horns (Danville)
      3: Dennis Heffernan (Plaistow); Kate Delfino (Atkinson); Rick Blair (Plaistow)
      2: Michelle O’Neil (Danville); Julie Hammond (Atkinson)

  2. Sheila Johannesen

    Donna I get the 4 is for the spreadsheet but what does the 3 and 2 ? If its abstention I wonder why one would vote that way

  3. Curt Springer

    I guess this was superseded by the subsequent announcement that they would release the stuff in excel format after all.

    Regarding consultation with “legal”, the legal entities would be the budget committee of TRSD vs. the SAU who is the employer of Metzler and Stokinger. It’s bad enough we have the towns and the district in court, hard to imagine spending tax dollars on both sides for the SAU to war against the district or would it be vice versa.

    As for payment of RTK copies Rob’s word is good enough for me.

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