May 11, 2016
Dear Ms. Birdsell:
We have very much appreciated your support for open government in the past and have very much respected your record of public service. I am writing now to express my profound disappointment in learning that you are supporting Nancy Steenson for NH Senate.
I was a school board member under Ms. Steenson for the two years of her disastrous chairmanship of Timberlane Regional School district wherein two towns of our district sued the district and the SAU, a teacher sued the district and the SAU, and I, myself, successfully sued the district and the SAU. To my knowledge, no chairmanship in the history of our district saw so many lawsuits and so much discord within the district towns and very much for reasons competent leadership could have avoided.
Ms. Steenson was inadequate for school board chairmanship and placing her in higher authority is a menace to republican values. I have long experience with her in action, action which does not match her words.
Ms. Steenson’s actions in office include:
- stonewalling any calls for basic financial accountability by the SAU to district towns even to the extent of blocking agenda item requests concerning financial matters;
- repeatedly thwarting requests for basic information about district operations;
- ignoring violations of budget laws and school board policy governing spending of funds for purposes different from the appropriated budget;
- inappropriately signing a contract to renew the superintendent’s wife’s consulting contract (for 5 years) without an explicit board vote – a contract that should have gone to the voters;
- contemptuous treatment of residents who raised matters of importance such as the chairman of the Danville Board of Selectman.
As chairman, Ms. Steenson also was part and parcel in publicly censuring me in July 2014 for criticisms of her and the school board expressed on my blog, a blog that won a New Hampshire Press Association award that year.
In her capacity of chairman of the Timberlane Regional School Board, Ms. Steenson demonstrated disrespect for the law, disregard for fiscal accountability and responsibility, and contempt for those who criticized her. Her actions betrayed every Republican principle we hold dear though her words are very much otherwise.
Please reconsider your endorsement.