Saying that they had met with Carolyn Sundquist “at this table” in a “series of meetings,” Dr. Ted Steinman and his wife, Carol, accompanied by their attorney, Jeremy Eggleton of the law firm Orr & Reno, described to the board of selectmen (left to right: Chip Albee, Bill Marcussen, Lloyd Wood) on Monday, April 24, how last year they had sought and “followed directly the town’s directions” when placing boulders along the edge of Brown Road on their property in order to block access to Lower Beech Pond from boat trailers and bob houses.
Carolyn Sundquist’s emails concerning Brown Road were obtained by Guy Pike through a Right to Know request last December. In one email to Road Agent Jim Bean dated August 25, 2016, Carolyn Sundquist wrote “I advised the Steinmans to go ahead with placing boulders in front of the access.”
Resident Betsy Frago has made a Right to Know request under RSA 91-A to inspect the invoices from Richard Sager to the board of selectmen from August, 2016, to the present. Sager is the board’s attorney. The selectmen, however, have not been completely forthcoming.
Betsy met with the selectmen at their meeting on Monday, April 24, to find out why they have not provided her access to the records yet.
Betsy has already obtained the town check register for that period and determined that Richard Sager was paid $13,961.40 in taxpayer money during that period. She would like to know what that money was spent for.
An analysis of the check register shows that since the selectmen launched a lawsuit against Bob McWhirter and me in early December of last year Tuftonboro taxpayers have paid Richard Sager $11,113.30.
Sager’s March payment, funded by taxes, was $4,244.18. Sager’s payment in the month before the selectmen sued Bob and me was for $70. In the three months before the lawsuit, Sager received on average $218 each month. Since the lawsuit, taxpayers have written Sager checks for on average of $2,778.33 each month (December – March).
The selectmen are suing me because they are attempting to illegally charge me $6.50 to inspect government records even though RSA 91-A specifically forbids them from charging a fee for the inspection of a governmental record.
Time stamps are approximate:
0:01 Pledge of Allegiance
0:25 Library update
Christy doesn’t like Trump’s proposed budget that cuts federal funding to libraries
Friends of the Library to donate another $10k. $40k+ over last… ten years.
new fiction book club starting
5:20 NarCan training at library on May 5
7:00 Bill asks Christy to attend emergency management debriefing on Friday
8:10 Roads department update
$5,000 over cleanup budget already
45 road events this year (29 last year)
Dame, New, and Brown Roads are in particularly tough shape
12:15 Selectmen discuss planned emergency management debriefing
13:15 Review and approve minutes
19:18 Signature file
Public employee salary adjustment for RETROACTIVE PAY RAISES
21:00 written permission to send information to auditors
23:20 copier agreement: $.13 per page (Lloyd misread: fee is actual 1.5 cents per page!)
Chip: that gives us a basis for charging for copies
25:10 Veteran’s credit for property taxes two properties
first approved, second denied — application by surviving spouse who moved to NH after the veteran died. credit only available to resident veterans and surviving spouses
31:08 tax levy gravel pit
32:00 notice to excavate
33:55 Continued Business
Board meeting schedule
40:00 Brown Road
Chip: Carolyn Sundquist told Steinmens they could put the boulders in place.
45:25 Lloyd asks for public comment
Bob & Sue both said just remove the rocks
Chip: The rocks were placed there because one selectman made a decision so we need to make a decision as a board
Max: Aren’t the rock the Steinman’s property? If the town removes them, might the Steinmans retaliate legally?
Jim: Just wants to be sure so that if we move the rocks we don’t have to do it again
52:00 Town copy policy
53:40 Bill: clear that “actual cost” not intended to cover labor!
54:45 Chip: We’re not in it for profit
55:05 Lloyd NH supreme court accepted Merrimack county Superior Court decision (Kelley v. Hooksett Assessing Office, Case No. 11-CV-266): you can’t charge for labor.
57:00 Chip: spending $275/hr for an attorney to argue about cost of copy. (Chip probably misspoke: Sager’s last known fee was $175/hour)
57:50 Chip motion to change copy fee to $.15 per page. Motion passes 3-0.
58:50 Police cruiser
59:09 Lang Pond
Review checklist (Jim Bean)
1:11:25 Jack Parsons
1:11:55 Update town contact list (?)
1:12:30 Lake Road boat ramp proposal
1:13:45 Selectmen’s update
old homes days committee will meet April 18 (open meeting)
Master plan update. Zoning in town.
Lloyd: Multitown roundtable April 11 at 6:30 at the fire station in Tuftonboro
1:21:00 Lloyd is recusing himself from fire department-related issues since he’s on the department
1:21:40 Brown Road correspondence
1:23:25 Lloyd wants to send $100 from the town to special olympics in honor of Steve Honeycutt (his obit. requests such donations in lieu of flowers)
1:24:50 RTK response to Ed Comeau
1:32:00 Chip felt Sager’s response was trying to pick a fight and Chip wants to avoid that.
1:34:09 Continue with other correspondence
1:42:13 Other Business
Court case continued. No hearing on April 18.
1:44:00 Public Input
1:44:20 Bob McWhirter asked about emergency management debriefing scheduled for Friday.
1:46:33 Max Ledoux asked the board to investigate using a payroll company to process employee paychecks
Joe Kowalski: Is there a fee for bringing in your own scanner to make copies of public records (No)
1:48:00 Guy Pike: Municipal estoppel (re Brown Road)
1:49:40 motion to adjourn
In the video at the 3:13 mark Selectman Bill Marcussen says, “When you look at what has gone on through various cases that have gone to court it’s clear that the intent is that the costs of the copies to the public cover the actual cost and it’s not intended to cover the time of the town employees that’s involved.”
Yet the selectmen’s lawsuit against Bob McWhirter and me goes into great detail about the amount of labor that would be involved in responding to Bob’s Right to Know request.
The selectmen seek to charge us a fee to inspect governmental records. We have not asked for the selectmen to provide us with copies. Instead we have said that we would use our own equipment to make copies. And yet the selectmen tried to charge us anyway, even though in the video at the 8:42 mark they concede that they cannot charge a fee for someone to use their own equipment to make copies of governmental records.
The selectmen will meet on April 14, 2017, at 10AM at the Central Fire Station to conduct an emergency management debriefing. It is a public meeting.
The hearing in the lawsuit that the selectmen filed against Bob McWhirter and me has been rescheduled once more. The new hearing date is April 18 at 2PM. This time it was postponed by the judge, and only by one day.
The selectmen are dragging us into court in any attempt to avoid their responsibilities under RSA 91-A, the Right to Know law.
1:15 First appointment: Gerry Hammer / Jack Parsons
5:00 Intent to excavate permits: discussion of ordinances in light of new articles passed at Town Meeting
5:10 — Jack Parsons
7:00 — Chris Sawyer, PB chairman weighs in
12:30 Review of pending intent to excavate paperwork
14:00 — motion to approve with provisions that selectmen can rescind. 3-0
15:00 — Signing paperwork
15:50 Jack Parson Building department update (the only damage to town property from Storm Stella was a few shingles blew off town house roof)
16:35 Ben Ladd — Mirror Lake boat ramp grant that was passed by Town Meeting. Discussion of contractor bids.
21:45 Chip would like to set a policy for putting contracts out for bid in the future, but not for this project since it’s already in process.
23:50 motion approval of project. passed 3-0 and Lloyd signed the paperwork
25:30 Clay Gallagher Transfer Station update & household hazardous waste collection update (july 29 & august 5). Pamphlets at transfer station.
44:15 Transfer station workers would like to work half day on Easter. They would receive holiday pay + half day.
50:30 Chip raises issue of different rates for contractors at transfer station
51:25 Review of 3-27-17 meeting minutes
53:00 Continued business
53:10 — Board committee assignments
Chip: Budget, welfare, Parks & Recreation
Bill: Planning, Old Homes, Energy, CIP Joint loss, milfoil, Planning
Lloyd: emergency planning, conservation, TACC, watershed
57:12 Board meeting schedule. Bill doesn’t want more meetings. Chip says if there aren’t more meetings, then the meetings have to be better organized. Chip doesn’t like relying on attorney client privilege as a way to subvert open meeting requirement to respond to RTK. Lloyd is ok with meeting every Monday. That way the meetings will be shorter, too. Lloyd suggests meeting once a month at 7PM. Also at different locations around town. Next meeting Friday at NINE AM.
1:06:45 Brown Road
Chip “I don’t know how you got into; well, I do know how you got into this mess.” Says to direct Road Agent to remove the rocks.
Bill: rocks clearly within right of way.
Chip: problem I have with this is it was all done without a vote.
Chip: enormous amount of legal bills in this town, and this is one of the reasons why.
Lloyd asks for input from public
1:17:20 Sandy Knoll Road
1:23:30 Selectmen’s update
1:23:40 Chip looked at the tree on Union Wharf Road. Chip says it’s not on town property, but is in town right of way. Chip thinks it’s health and not a danger.
1:25:12 Bill went to workshop on town roads. If someone wants to build on a property on Sandy Knoll Road, they’ll still have to get a building permit, and the governing body doesn’t have to approve it. Noted with sadness the passing of Steve Honeycutt, town Sextant.
1:33:00 Lloyd met with Mark Howard and others to tour three areas of concern in town on state roads: Tuftonboro Corner, 109/109A, and Mirror Lake narrows.
1:42:50 Appointments to Agricultural Commission. Approved.
1:44:35 Motion to appeal all yield taxes. Perchanski. Bob Wood. Alan Blazek. 3-0
1:47:23 Intent to cut. Blazek. Perchanski. 3-0
1:48:42 Request for change in employment compensation. (RETROACTIVE to January 1, 2017.) Tabled.
1:51:30 Other business
1:52:00 Right to Know from Ed Comeau
1:58:15 Chip “I don’t know what Comeau’s after.”
1:59:30 in past Tuftonboro had a former employee who was still covered.
2:07:45 Chip says they need to set a price per copy policy at a market rate.
2:09:45 Chip need to respond to Comeau saying the board will working on the request.
2:10:40 public input
2:10:50 Elissa Paquette question about intent to excavate and the board wanting to have an addendum allowing the to revoke permit.
2:15:06 Charlotte Allen: NarCan training opportunities
2:16:32 Carla Lootens: Wanted to make sure town won’t give anything to Comeau unless the selectmen’s attorney, Richard Sager, has looked at it.
2:17:05 Gordon Hunt: Was happy selectmen were not giving in to Comeau just because he has an attorney.
2:17:35 Steven : follow up Brown Road. Why did property owners place rocks?
Max Ledoux: To clarify, Carolyn Sundquist told Steinmans it was ok.
Elissa Paquette jumped to Carolyn’s defense.
More info on Brown Road:
0:40 Pledge of Allegiance
1:14 Election of officers
2:05 Mark Howard
9:35 review minutes
11:45 Chip says non public minutes aren’t in compliance with 91-A
14:25 Chip questions nonpublic sessions with attorney. Makes motion to unseal minutes. Motion passes 3-0.
16:30 chip wants to unseal nonpublic minutes from last year.
17:20 Fire department update
26:45 Chip not impressed with road agent
27:15 update emergency management plan?
32:30 list of people who might need help was out of date.
39:00 police chief Andy Shagoury
DWI accident caused power outage Friday night
43:25 drug take back scheduled April 29 10-2 at transfer station
01:30 signature file
11:58 veteran’s tax credit applications
Kerry and Andrea Long
15:00 yield tax levy
17:30 NH the Beautiful
18:10 gravel tax
19:25 supplemental Warrant (extra taxes from Zadede Lane residents)
20:40 letter to students at middle school
21:40 intent to cut: Brad Hunter (rt 171)
22:30 188 middle road gravel pit
27:50 mirror lake boat launch
31:40 lake road boat ramp
33:45 Right to Know
Lloyd asked Karen to compile how much time is used to respond to RTK. Chip says who cares. It’s part of the deal.
40:00 Selectmen’s update
Bill attending seminar about town owned roads.
Need new planning board members.
Also for energy committee.
48:23 Chip about 91-A
Need more meetings
Nonpublic meeting minutes should be released on regular schedule
52:00 Brown Road: there’s a lawsuit?
There was no vote on Steinman rock situation
More meetings specific agenda shorter length
Part 3 (Public Comments)