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.
Video provided by Joe Kowalski.
We’ve had to file a counterclaim with Carroll County Superior Court because the selectmen were absurdly claiming in their Objection to our Answer that because they were suing us that the court shouldn’t view the lawsuit as a Right to Know case. (Never mind that their own stated reason for suing town residents is that they’re asking the court to “clarify” the Right to Know law.)
So for procedural reasons we have had to officially counter-sue the selectmen. Practically speaking, the only difference is that we had to pay a filing fee. That’s it. But it will allow the Court to narrow its focus to the issue at hand: whether the selectmen can charge a fee for the inspection of governmental records even though the law clearly states that they can not. In our counterclaim we’re also requesting that the Court hold the selectmen personally financially responsible for paying our attorney’s fees and also for paying for their own remedial Right to Know training.
Here’s our “Assented to Motion for Leave to File Counterclaim.”
0:00 Pledge of Allegiance
0:35 start William Marsh
21:12 Chief Shagoury
19:30 drug and alcohol policy
— Table and send to department head
31:30 Review minutes
36:12 signature file
45:55 finalize estimated revenue
47:52 Selectmen’s update
– 48:03 Carolyn
– 49:51 Lloyd
— Lang’s Pond Road project
– 53:05 Bill
— Brown Road / Lower Beech Pond (Sager still investigating)
— Culvert inventory
58:55 DRA approved warrant articles
— Lot Subdivision
— Red list bridges from state
— DMV closed while installing computer system
— US Census (2020)
— Wetlands permit
— Estimate for new computer server — $2350; can wait 2018.
1:10:30 public comment
— 1:10:38 Elissa Paquette: clarify tax numbers.
— 1:11:29 Sue Weeks: Drug Policy, performance review Friday 2/10
— 1:12:18 Max Ledoux: Inform board HB 178 has been amended, petition warrant article for selectmen’s meeting times
— 1:15:02 Joe Kowalski: Hazardous waste reimbursement