Chip Albee Insists Amendment That He Voted For Didn’t Happen

Selectman Chip Albee is insisting that Town Meeting did not restrict the sale of tax-deeded properties to sealed bids only. “This discussion about whether or not [inudible] should only be put out for sealed bid, and not be auctioned, I think the question in my mind is not whether or not the town voted on that, because they didn’t.”

But we did.

“I’m not ready to preclude auctions, based on what I witnessed at Town Meeting,” Chip said at Monday’s board of selectmen’s meeting. Strange, since in fact Chip himself voted with the majority to remove the selectmen’s ability to sell the tax-deeded properties at auction. Hasn’t he reviewed the video of town meeting?

“To be perfectly honest I’m not interested in watching some video on YouTube,” he said Monday. He was referring to this YouTube video that I sent to the selectmen after their meeting last week:

The YouTube clip is an unedited segment of the full video of Town Meeting filmed by Joe Kowalski. It shows Warrant Article 9 being discussed, amended twice by voters, and then passed at Town Meeting. The original wording of the article was:

To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by Public Auction (or advertised sealed bid) or in such manner as determined by the Selectmen as justice may require. The law allows this authority to extend indefinitely until rescinded by a vote of Town Meeting.

However, it was passed as amended:

To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by advertised sealed bid.

Here is Chip voting for the amendment along with the majority of voters:

Click the image to watch the video. You can check the timestamp (19:55) to verify that Town Meeting was voting on the amendment to Article 9 proposed by Steve Snow, and to verify that Chip himself did indeed vote for it.

Before the final vote on Article 9, Dan Barnard, the town moderator, said, “Does everybody understand where we’re at? We’re voting now on Article Number 9. It has been amended to limit the selectmen’s prerogatives to sealed bid, and is constructed in such a way that the authority will expire at the end of one year.”

Dan then called a vote. Chip and all three selectmen (Lloyd Wood, Bill Marcussen, and the then-selectman Carolyn Sundquist) voted in favor of the twice-amended article:

Dan declared the article passed as amended by a show of hands; he did not call for a count.

It’s possible that Chip, Lloyd, and Bill forgot that Town Meeting voted to restrict the selectmen’s ability to sell tax-deeded properties by advertised sealed bids only. It’s also possible they forgot that all three of them voted for the twice-amended article.

What is perplexing is that the selectmen refuse to acknowledge this simple error. Not only did I send them the video of Article 9 being discussed and voted on at Town Meeting, but Guy Pike also provided them last week with the actual minutes, which he had downloaded from the town’s official website. Even with irrefutable evidence in front of him, Chip continues to insist that the draft minutes, which were incorrect, are, as he put it Monday, the “certified minutes.”

“I’m looking at the minutes here, that were given to us by the town clerk and the moderator, of the Town Meeting, and it’s pretty clear that we can do what ever we need to, to sell the property. So there may be some voices out there that are going to yell and scream, but the amendment read, quote, ‘To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by Public Auction (or advertised sealed bid) or in such manner as determined by the Selectmen as justice may require.’ ”

Chip later said: “That recorded vote that you can see on YouTube or on a recording isn’t the legal minutes of the meeting; these are.” He emphasized the last two words by tapping his fingers on the incorrect draft minutes.

He is simply wrong about what is in the minutes.

Here is the entirety of the actual Town Meeting minutes for Article 9, as written by the town clerk, Heather Cubeddu:

Article 9: To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by Public Auction (or advertised sealed bid) or in such manner as determined by the Selectmen as justice may require. The law allows this authority to extend indefinitely until rescinded by a vote of Town Meeting. This article recommended by the Selectmen.
(Majority vote required)

Selectman Carolyn Sundquist moved the article. Paul Thornton seconded the motion. Selectman Sundquist addressed the article informing voters that the article will allow the Selectmen to sell Town properties and get them back on the tax rolls. Some expressed concern about this process. Max Ledoux made a motion to amend the article by removing the last sentence. The motion to amend the article was seconded by Guy Pike. Selectman Sundquist asked if there could be language included giving the time of 1 year or until the next Town Meeting. Max Ledoux informed that this is included in the law and the Moderator did not feel the language needed to be added. A few others asked questions. The Moderator read the amended article and asked for a vote on the amended article which reads “To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by Public Auction (or advertised sealed bid) or in such manner as determined by the Selectmen as justice may require.” The amended article was declared passed with a vote of 67 Yes and 57 No.

Guy Pike and Steve Hunter expressed concern about using the Town’s attorney as the auctioneer and felt the article should state that the sale will be by advertised public auction and/or sealed bid. Steve Snow made a motion to amend the amended article. Steve Brinser seconded the motion stating it would eliminate the money going to an auctioneer. The proposed amendment to the amended article is “To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by advertised sealed bid.” Sue Weeks was still concerned about public input on properties which the Town would put up for sale. Barry Ennis felt the article needs to be voted down until it can be clearer. No further discussion. The Moderator asked for a show of hands to vote on the amendment to the amended article. The amended article was declared passed.

The 2017 Town Meeting minutes are available at Tuftonboro’s official website, tuftonboro.org. I have also preserved the minutes as of May 10, 2017, here.

Selectmen’s chair Lloyd Wood said he had not yet reviewed the video of Town Meeting. But Lloyd also said:

I left the Town Meeting clear in my mind that by three votes the Town Meeting said ‘We do not want Rick Sager to be the auctioneer; go by closed, by sealed bid.’ … In my mind, it was clear that when I left that Town Meeting, the properties, we got authority to do sealed bid, and nothing else. I mean, I’m going to have to listen to the tape. And I go one step further, unlike you guys, warrant article, the people who write the checks, make the decisions. And in past years, they’ve made decisions, about not paving Sawyer Road, and not doing a public safety building, and I’ve listened to what they’ve said. I don’t, I’ve got to say, they’re short-sighted, but, and that’s my comment, but I try to follow both the letter and the spirit of the law.

Elissa Paquette told the selectmen during public comment at the end of the meeting that she had questioned town officials about the language in Article 9 as passed by the voters: “I spoke to Dan Barnard, and he said he and Heather agree with Max.”

Published in Board of Selectmen
Max Ledoux

Author: Max Ledoux

I've lived in Tuftonboro since 2014. I grew up in Lisbon Falls, Maine (the Moxie capital of the world). I run tuftonboro.net. If you'd like your own blog here, click the "Get Free Blog" link in the menu at the top of the page. Everyone is welcome to write about anything they like.

6 thoughts on “Chip Albee Insists Amendment That He Voted For Didn’t Happen”

  1. Too bad Chip has a memory problem and he isn’t interested in viewing the video recording that will help to jog his memory!

  2. I think once he has had a chance to reflect and search the facts he will come forward and stand corrected.

  3. That’s what I thought, too, Rick. But I sent him the video on May 1, and Guy showed him the real minutes also on May 1. And he had the opportunity to reflect and search the facts and still came back a week later on May 8 and insisted that the article had not been amended!

    I am going to go put the real minutes in his mailbox!

  4. Chip was sitting next to Steve Snow an old friend so of course he’s going to go along. Once he’s away from that he’s going to do what he wants to do. The guy is a Hack

  5. Chip has easy access to experienced legal advice so I wonder what is actually happening here?

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