How the Selectmen have Obstructed the Public’s Right to Know So Far

From: Maxim Ledoux
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2016 10:50 AM
To: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Cc: Carolyn Sundquist; Lloyd Wood; Bill Marcussen

Dear Karen,

Please forward to me, electronically, all emails, and attachments to emails,

between

selectmen@tuftonboro.org

carolyn.sundquist@tuftonboro.org

lloydwood@tuftonboro.org

bill.marcussen@tuftonboro.org

adminasst@tuftonboro.org

and

elissapaquette1@gmail.com

tbeeler@salmonpress.com

vwillette@salmonpress.com

As well as any other email address ending in @salmonpress.com

From January 1, 2016 to today (November 17, 2016).

None of these potential emails can be construed to be confidential, so there will be no reason for you redact any information within the emails.

Kind Regards,
Max

 

From: Maxim Ledoux
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2016 12:41 PM
To: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Cc: Carolyn Sundquist;  Lloyd Wood; Bill Marcussen
Subject: Re: new RTK

Dear Karen,

These records fall under the category of “immediately available” under 91-A:4-IV. All you have to do is run a simple search, from each of the @tuftonboro.org email accounts, for the @salmonpress.com and elissapaquette1@gmail.com addresses. I can’t imagine that any correspondence between the town and the newspaper would contain sensitive information that needed to be redacted.

Please send these records to me today.

Kind Regards,
Max

From: Richard Sager [mailto:rick@sagerhaskell.com]
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2016 2:48 PM
To: Maxim Ledoux
Cc: Karen Koch
Subject: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

 

Dear Mr. Ledoux,

In regards to your emails to Ms. Koch today and November 17 (both reprinted below), I was asked to opine on whether your request is consistent with RSA Ch. 91-A.

You requested various emails between Salmon Press (essentially all emails ending in “@salmonpress”) and five specified emails ending in “@tuftonboro.org.” You also requested they be sent to you today (November 21, 2016) because you see no basis for delay, as “[n]one of these potential emails can be construed to be confidential.”

RSA 91-A:4, IV states, in pertinent part, “Each public body or agency shall, upon request for any governmental record reasonably described, make available for inspection and copying any such governmental record within its files when such records are immediately available for such release. If a public body or agency is unable to make a governmental record available for immediate inspection and copying, it shall, within 5 business days of request, make such record available, deny the request in writing with reasons, or furnish written acknowledgment of the receipt of the request and a statement of the time reasonably necessary to determine whether the request shall be granted or denied.” (Emphasis added)

Your interpretation of RSA 91-A:4, IV is inconsistent with NH law. See generally Brent v. Paquette, 132 N.H. 415 (1989), wherein the NH Supreme Court essentially concluded that any record is timely provided if done so within 5 days, regardless of whether your definition of “immediately available” takes into account that public employees have other duties besides complying with your 91-A requests (the court stating, “we hold that the trial court correctly concluded that Mr. Paquette complied with the statute when it found that the defendant sent the contracts within the statutory time period, after telling Mr. Brent he was too busy to retrieve them immediately.”). I have requested Ms. Koch provide you the records sought within 5 business days if possible. Given your initial request was made on November 17, and given the Thanksgiving holiday is the basis for the closure of the town offices on November 24 and 25, I calculate the expiration of the 5-day period is Monday, November 28.

Contrary to your assertion, if a record is not “confidential” does not mean there is no basis for reviewing and, if necessary, redacting information. For example, an email sent to or from an “@salmonpress” address to or from an “@tuftonboro.org” address may contain other personal email addresses and information which the Town is obligated to redact. Although you “can’t imagine that any correspondence between the town and the newspaper would contain sensitive information that needed to be redacted,” the town does not have the luxury of simply forwarding to you what you request without ensuring confidential AND personal information is appropriately redacted.

In summary, you can expect a response from the town no later than November 28 either providing you the emails in an unredacted form, or perhaps some or all of the emails in redacted form, or an explanation as to why the emails cannot be provided to you within the statutory 5 days.

Richard D. Sager
Tuftonboro Town Counsel

From: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2016 3:21 PM
To: Maxim Ledoux
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

 

Max,

Unfortunately I will not be able to send you the requested emails today.  I have an additional question for our attorney and he is not available today.  I should be able to respond to you tomorrow.

Karen

From: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:58 PM
To: Maxim Ledoux
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests
Per your 91-A Request, please see attached.

Diane forwarded her adminasst@tuftonboro.org email correspondence to me to include in this response.
She has one email in which the information within the body of the email will need to be redacted to protect personal information and can’t be sent electronically.  The attachments are not confidential.  Rather than ask that you pay for the whole email including the attachments, I have included the attachments with this response.

Email correspondence with selectmen@tuftonboro.org
There are 4 emails in which the information within the body of the email will need to be redacted to protect personal information and can’t be sent electronically but I have included the attachments that were part of those emails.

The Selectmen do not have any email correspondence to fit the criteria that you asked for .

In total, we have 18 emails/26 pages of emails that have redactions needed.  This will cost $6.50.

Karen
Attachments:
fw-tuftonboro-2016-annual-meeting-3-4-16-falcy-to-elissa
fw-tuftonboro-2016-annual-meeting-attachment-tuftonboro-propaganda
cemetery-warrant-articledept-updates-8-8-16dept-updates-9-13
kmbt20020160614212302
kmbt20020161017215506
kmbt20020161017215548
kmbt20020161017215915
kmbt20020161017220202
kmbt20020161017220247
kmbt20020161017220322
kmbt20020161017220410
kmbt20020161017220427
kmbt20020161017220457
kmbt20020161017220516
kmbt20020161017220543

From: Maxim Ledoux
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 11:05 AM
To: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Cc: Carolyn Sundquist;  Lloyd Wood; Bill Marcussen
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Dear Karen,

Thank you for forwarding me the records below.

Please let me know when the other records are ready for me to inspect at the town office. I will come in and make my own copies, using my own devices. The selectmen are not allowed, by law, to charge me for inspecting the records on-site, regardless of whether you make additional (in my opinion, unnecessary) copies for the purpose of making redactions on physical pages.

Kind Regards,
Max

From: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 11:16 AM
To: Maxim Ledoux
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests
Per your 91-A Request, please see attached.

Max,

I would need to print the emails in order for you to inspect them.  Therefore the charge of $0.25 per page would still be applicable.
Karen

From: Maxim Ledoux
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 12:44 PM
To: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Cc: Carolyn Sundquist;  Lloyd Wood; Bill Marcussen
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Dear Karen,

Unfortunately, the statement you made in your last email (“I would need to print the emails in order for you to inspect them.  Therefore the charge of $0.25 per page would still be applicable.”) is not legally permissible.

The law is very clear:

RSA 91-A:4 Every citizen during the regular or business hours of all public bodies or agencies, and on the regular business premises of such public bodies or agencies, has the right to inspect all governmental records in the possession, custody, or control of such public bodies or agencies, including minutes of meetings of the public bodies, and to copy and make memoranda or abstracts of the records or minutes so inspected…”

RSA 91-A:4 IV:  “No fee shall be charged for the inspection or delivery, without copying, of governmental records, whether in paper, electronic, or other form.”

If the selectmen insist on charging me to inspect a public record, in violation of the clear reading of the law, then I see no alternative than to file a lawsuit against them for flagrant and wanton violation of the law. Given the board’s previous multiple violations, as proven in Carroll County Superior Court, I will ask the judge to levy the maximum personal penalties against each board member, $2,000 per person. In addition I will ask the judge to hold the selectmen personally liable for any attorney’s fees that the town incurred as a result. They cannot claim this time that they did not know they were violating the law.

It is not acceptable that the board continues to try to throw roadblocks in front of my right to inspect these records. I have requested the records in the format that they currently exist: electronically. It is the selectmen who are insisting that the redactions must be made in a different format: on paper pages.

The law is clear. You cannot charge me for inspecting a public record. That you are printing the records for me to inspect is irrelevant. I have not asked you to print the records. I’d be happy to inspect the records on your computer.

It is not necessary for you to print the records. The Attorney General’s Memorandum on the Right to Know law (http://doj.nh.gov/civil/documents/right-to-know.pdf) makes it clear, on page 41-42, that electronic redaction using Adobe Acrobat (version 8 and above) is an option. It is punitive for the selectmen to insist on changing the format from electronic to paper, when I have not asked them to change the format, so that they can try to charge me a fee.

It is entirely possible, and legally permissible, for you to redact the records electronically using Adobe Acrobat 8. Here is a how-to video, one of thousands of such videos that are available on YouTube:

The selectmen are being unreasonable by insisting on creating unnecessarily-printed paper records. I believe I am being reasonable in saying that, given the selectmen’s intransigence, I will compromise and come in with my own scanner and scan the unnecessarily-printed pages to my computer. The goal, for me, is to inspect the records, despite the many obstacles the selectmen have repeatedly attempted to place in my way.

What is the selectmen’s goal? Why are they so intent on making it as hard as possible for me to inspect these records?

I would prefer not to go to court, but if the selectmen remain unreasonable, then what remedy is there? The only mechanism the legislature has provided for enforcing the law is through a lawsuit.

Previously this year the selectmen have violated state and federal law:

1. by usurping the cemetery trustees’ power to make decisions concerning the cemeteries,
2. by engaging in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by allowing Elissa Paquette to ask questions during their meetings while not allowing questions from anyone else, and
3. when Chairman Carolyn Sundquist unilaterally shut down all questions during meetings, without having been granted the authority to do so by a recorded vote in public session of a majority of the members of the board of selectmen.

In these three examples, the selectmen showed that they can be reasonable. When I pointed out their violations, they acknowledged they had broken the law and changed their behavior. I hope they will be reasonable this time, as well, and stop trying to illegally charge me punitive fees for inspecting public records.

Please let me know when will be a convenient time for me to inspect the records and to use my own devices to create copies. The rest of today is, in fact, not convenient for me, so the earliest convenient time for me would be tomorrow afternoon, if that’s convenient for you.

Kind Regards,
Max

From: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Sent: Thursday, December 1, 2016 8:27 AM
To: Maxim Ledoux
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Max,

I have been advised that you will have an answer regarding your request by the end of next week.

Karen

From: Maxim Ledoux
Sent: Thursday, December 1, 2016 11:29 PM
To: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Cc: Carolyn Sundquist;  Lloyd Wood; Bill Marcussen
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Dear Karen,

Who advised you? Why will it take 6 business days for the selectmen to comply with the law? Please tell me who and why.

That seems like an unreasonably long delay. Tomorrow (Friday) would be more convenient for me. If that is not convenient for you, then would Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning be convenient for you?

I am being as reasonable as possible, looking for a mutually convenient time for me to inspect the public records at the town offices, but the selectmen are seriously trying my patience. They have stalled, attempted to intimidate me with their attorney, and, apparently, instructed you to violate the law yesterday by illegally charging me to inspect public records.

Let me remind you, Karen, that you are just as responsible as the selectmen for complying with the law: “91-A:8 IV. If the court finds that an officer, employee, or other official of a public body or public agency has violated any provision of this chapter in bad faith, the court shall impose against such person a civil penalty of not less than $250 and not more than $2,000. Upon such finding, such person or persons may also be required to reimburse the public body or public agency for any attorney’s fees or costs it paid pursuant to paragraph I.”

Please confirm, today, a mutually convenient appointment for me to inspect the records, either tomorrow (Friday the 2nd of December) or Monday (December 5) afternoon or Tuesday (December 6) morning.

Kind Regards,
Max

From: Maxim Ledoux
Sent: Thursday, December 1, 2016 4:31 PM
To: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Cc: Carolyn Sundquist;  Lloyd Wood; Bill Marcussen
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Dear Karen,

It’s after 4PM, so you’ve now left work. I’m disappointed that you chose not to reply to me today. I hope that you will let me know tomorrow (Friday — when you’re reading this, I assume) when is a convenient time for you for me to come in and inspect the records. I have suggested three different days and times that would be convenient for me in an attempt to accommodate your schedule so that we can agree to a mutually convenient time. If none of the three times I’ve put forward are convenient for you, please suggest other times. If you suggest more than one possible time for an appointment, that will increase the odds that it will be convenient for me as well as for you.

Kind Regards,
Max

 

From: Maxim Ledoux
Sent: Friday, December 2, 2016 4:24 PM
To: Tuftonboro Selectmen
Cc: Carolyn Sundquist;  Lloyd Wood; Bill Marcussen
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Dear Karen,

You chose not to respond to my RSA 91-A request again today (Friday, December 2). You have [now] ignored for two days my reasonable suggestion of three different times when we could have an appointment for me to inspect the records. I first requested to review these records on November 17.

I know you were in the office today because I received the notice of the agenda for Monday. I am on the email distribution list for that.

Kind Regards,
Max

From: Richard Sager
Sent: Monday, December 5, 2016 9:44 AM
To: Maxim Ledoux
Cc: Karen Koch
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Dear Mr. Ledoux,

Your recent email sent December 1 (reprinted below) has been forwarded to me for response.

I understand you are seeking to review the Salmon Press/Elissa Paquette emails either in print or on the computer screen at the town hall. However, the problem of redaction still remains.

If you were entitled to review the requested emails on a town hall computer screen (I am not clear you have this right, but there remains a lot to resolved with regard to emails and the right-to-know law in New Hampshire), the emails would still need to be first reviewed, and then redacted to ensure all personal information is removed. If you are to review the emails in paper form, such is, to my understanding, a change in format under RSA 91-A:4 and thus the town is entitled to charge for the cost of the copy, but cannot charge for labor, etc. in making the copy available.

As I may have stated previously, neither the Town nor I are comfortable with simply amending personal information in an email by replacing it with asterisks or other characters, and then forwarding to you as is. This is because there is no way the Town or I can determine if the information that is replaced is somehow preserved as meta-data (or whatever the correct term would be), thereby exposing the town to liability for not properly redacting the personal information. Thus, the only way the Town can be assured personal information is to be properly redacted (in those emails that actually have been reviewed and confirmed to have personal information), is to (1) use Adobe Acrobat to remove the personal information, and then delete the meta-data (which of course requires a change in format), or (2) print the email, redact the personal information with a marker, and then photocopy the redacted email to ensure no “bleed through” of the redacted sections. I guess a combination of (1) and (2) is also a possibility. Regardless, the procedures outlined constitute a change in format, and the town remains entitled to charge the rather nominal 25 cents per page.

If this issue were only about a total charge of $6.50 for the requested Salmon Press/Elissa Paquette emails, I would pay for it myself just to be able to move onto something else. However, with the current pending request for approximately 11,000 emails, the Town and I are very guarded against setting any sort of precedent.

I hope you will reconsider your position, and instead provide the Town the rather nominal payment of $6.50 so as to allow the Town to provide you with the requested Salmon Press/Elissa Paquette emails. You may contact Karen Koch directly in order to make the arrangements.

Richard Sager
Tuftonboro Town Counsel

 

From: Richard Sager
Sent: Monday, December 5, 2016 9:58 AM
To: Maxim Ledoux
Cc: Karen Koch; Carolyn Sundquist; Bill Marcussen; Lloyd Wood
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Mr. Ledoux,

I forgot to also mention the Town’s desire that any further communication from you on this issue be directed to me. I assume if you choose to correspond with Karen or the selectmen directly, such correspondence will be forwarded to me for response.

Richard Sager
Tuftonboro Town Counsel.

Richard D. Sager, Esquire
Sager & Haskell, PLLC
5 Courthouse Square – PO Box 385
Ossipee, New Hampshire 03864
e-mail: rick@sagerhaskell.com

From: Maxim Ledoux
Sent: Monday, December 5, 2016 2:35 PM
To: Carolyn Sundquist; Bill Marcussen; Lloyd Wood
Subject: RE: November 17 & 21 91-A requests

Dear Carolyn, Bill, and Lloyd,
The law does not allow you to charge the public to inspect governmental records.

The law is very clear:

RSA 91-A:4 Every citizen during the regular or business hours of all public bodies or agencies, and on the regular business premises of such public bodies or agencies, has the right to inspect all governmental records in the possession, custody, or control of such public bodies or agencies, including minutes of meetings of the public bodies, and to copy and make memoranda or abstracts of the records or minutes so inspected…”

RSA 91-A:4 IV:  “No fee shall be charged for the inspection or delivery, without copying, of governmental records, whether in paper, electronic, or other form.”

Furthermore, RSA 91-A:4 III: “Each public body or agency shall keep and maintain all governmental records in its custody at its regular office or place of business in an accessible place and, if there is no such office or place of business, the governmental records pertaining to such public body or agency shall be kept in an office of the political subdivision in which such public body or agency is located or, in the case of a state agency, in an office designated by the secretary of state.”

By attempting to illegally charge the public to inspect governmental records, you are by definition making the governmental records inaccessible. If members of the public are forced to pay punitive charges amounting to hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars in order to inspect governmental records, then the governmental records are not accessible to the vast majority of the public, save for wealthy individuals.

To reiterate that you are clearly violating the law and should immediately stop doing so:

New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster issued a memorandum dated March 20, 2015, that states in part, on page 19: “During the regular or business hours of all public bodies and public agencies, the public has a right to inspect and copy all non-exempt governmental records in the possession, custody, or control of the body or agency. RSA 91-A:4, I. Public bodies and public agencies must maintain their public records in a way that makes them available to the public. NHCLU v. City of Manchester, 149 N.H. 437 (2003).”

The attorney general’s memorandum on page 41 also states, as I previously informed you in an email sent on November 30, 2016, at 12:44PM, that “Software programs, such as Adobe Acrobat version 8 or higher, provide an electronic redaction capability.” You could provide the records to me in electronic format, but you are choosing not to do so.

The attorney general is a higher authority than Rick Sager, who, as we are all aware, did not know the law about auctioning tax-deeded properties. Given this proven lapse in judgement on Sager’s part when it comes to the law, should you take his advice, or follow the guidelines published by the state’s attorney general?

You may not charge me to inspect a governmental record. You should therefore confirm with me a mutually convenient time for me to come to the office to inspect the governmental records that I have requested to inspect. I had previously suggested last Friday, today, and tomorrow morning as convenient times for me. Since two of those times have passed, I suggest tomorrow (Tuesday) between 11AM and Noon, Wednesday between 1PM and 2PM, or Thursday between 2PM and 3PM.

Please immediately confirm one of those times, or suggest alternate times.

As for directing all of my communication to your attorney: No.

Kind Regards,
Max

 


The selectmen continue to insist on illegally charging me to inspect records that they are required by law to maintain in a manner that is accessible to the public. They have refused to confirm an appointment with me to inspect governmental records during normal business hours.

The public’s right to access public documents is protected not only by RSA 91-A (Right to Know Law), but also in the New Hampshire Constitution in Part I, Article 8:

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.

The Right to Know Law:

RSA 91-A:4 Every citizen during the regular or business hours of all public bodies or agencies, and on the regular business premises of such public bodies or agencies, has the right to inspect all governmental records in the possession, custody, or control of such public bodies or agencies, including minutes of meetings of the public bodies, and to copy and make memoranda or abstracts of the records or minutes so inspected

RSA 91-A:4 IV:  No fee shall be charged for the inspection or delivery, without copying, of governmental records, whether in paper, electronic, or other form.

RSA 91-A:4 III. Each public body or agency shall keep and maintain all governmental records in its custody at its regular office or place of business in an accessible place and, if there is no such office or place of business, the governmental records pertaining to such public body or agency shall be kept in an office of the political subdivision in which such public body or agency is located or, in the case of a state agency, in an office designated by the secretary of state.

RSA 91-A:4 III-a. Governmental records created or maintained in electronic form shall be kept and maintained for the same retention or archival periods as their paper counterparts. Governmental records in electronic form kept and maintained beyond the applicable retention or archival period shall remain accessible and available in accordance with RSA 91-A:4, III. Methods that may be used to keep and maintain governmental records in electronic form may include, but are not limited to, copying to microfilm or paper or to durable electronic media using standard or common file formats. 

RSA 91-A:4 V. In the same manner as set forth in RSA 91-A:4, IV, any public body or agency which maintains governmental records in electronic format may, in lieu of providing original records, copy governmental records requested to electronic media using standard or common file formats in a manner that does not reveal information which is confidential under this chapter or any other law. If copying to electronic media is not reasonably practicable, or if the person or entity requesting access requests a different method, the public body or agency may provide a printout of governmental records requested, or may use any other means reasonably calculated to comply with the request in light of the purpose of this chapter as expressed in RSA 91-A:1.

Granite State News Refuses to Correct False Reporting

The Granite State News has repeatedly misreported the facts in recent weeks about a non-existent contract for maintenance work and the statutory responsibility for operating the cemeteries in Tuftonboro. After the paper misreported that there was an “ongoing contract,” I gave the paper’s reporter, Elissa Paquette, proof that there were no signatures on the 2010 document, and therefore it was not a contract. She then wrote, contrary to absolute fact, that there was a “contract signed in 2010.” The publicly available document that Selectmen Carolyn Sundquist originally thought was a contract was not signed by anyone (which I explicitly pointed out to Paquette), and even if it had been signed, it had an expiration date of April 15, 2011. It was never a valid contract. The Granite State News has knowingly attempted to mislead its readers and owes all of us a public retraction and correction. However, editor Tom Beeler insisted to me in an email that Ms. Paquette had reported what others had said. That is false. No one at the May 9 meeting said that there was a “contract signed in 2010.” To the contrary, Selectmen Sundquist stated that there was, in fact, no “paper contract.” See for yourself:

Despite this, Mr Beeler has refused to issue a correction. He did offer to print this letter without comment, however.

To the editor’s great credit, he has published almost every one of my letters over the past year, despite our obvious philosophical differences, and I do thank him for the opportunity for this public forum. I also thank him for reprinting my letter the other week that had been accidentally curtailed the week before. I accept his apology and say it is unnecessary because the abridgment of my letter was clearly unintentional.

The Tuftonboro selectmen acted quickly after I raised the concern on May 9 that they had unintentionally over-stepped their authority by exercising power that is by law the purview of the cemetery trustees. In a hastily scheduled non-regular meeting on Friday, May 13, the selectmen discussed written communication from the town’s attorney, Rick Sager, who advised them to “divorce themselves from the Cemetery Trustees in regards to clerical type responsibilities,” according to the meeting’s minutes. No doubt Mr. Sager’s advice was based on review of the applicable state laws.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t present for the May 13 meeting, and there is no video recording of the meeting for the public to review because the selectmen broke with their customary habit of sending an email with a meeting agenda to a mailing list (which you can sign up for at tuftonboro.org). To be clear, the New Hampshire Right to Know law requires only that they post a notice in two public places at least 24 hours before their meetings; they have no obligation to send out an email. They met the letter of the law for their May 13 meeting, but since the meeting was held on a non-regular day, and no email was sent out, no member of the public, including the videographer, was present, other than Paquette of the Granite State News. I asked Selectman Sundquist on June 6th if, since the meeting was not on the regular schedule, they had simply forgotten to send out the email notice. She replied that the meeting had been properly noticed. I asked if they had decided not to send out the email. She stated the meeting had been properly noticed.

On May 19 the Granite State News quoted Selectman Bill Marcussen as saying, at that impromptu meeting, “The cemetery trustees have clear authority.”

I thank the selectmen for acting so quickly to set the record straight about which public body is responsible for the maintenance of the cemeteries. The Granite State News characterized it as the selectmen “ceding” power to the cemetery trustees, but this is not entirely accurate since the selectmen never had the legal power to cede in the first place. The cemetery trustees have always had the “clear authority.” The selectmen usurped the trustees’ power, but now that they have acknowledged as much, I hope we can all move on.