Manchester resident Jim Gaudet, who filed complaints against Manchester aldermen Ron Ludwig of Ward 2 and Normand Gamache of Ward 11 for violations of the city charter has filed another complaint with Mayor Ted Gatsas in light of revelations that at-Large School Committeewoman Nancy Tessier violated multiple charter sections and state laws. Gaudet is a retired police officer who spent more than a decade prosecuting cases in court.
Below is the content of the complaint Gaudet posted in a comment threat on the Girard at Large Facebook page. In posting the letter, he stated that the mayor’s office had acknowlede receipt of the complaint and referred it to City Solicitor Emily Gray Rice.
Honorable Theodore Gatsas
Mayor, City of Manchester
Manchester, NH 03101
October 11, 2017
Re.: Complaint against Nancy Tessier
Dear Mayor Gatsas:
By way of this letter, please consider this a formal complaint for violations of the City Charter as well as NH State law (RSAs 91-A and 42:1) by School Committee Woman Nancy Tessier.
Upon information and belief from public reports and City of Manchester School Board proceedings in the public domain, Committee Woman Tessier:
- Participated in a non-public session of the Board of School Committee discussing confidential personnel matters, and shortly after that meeting (on or about 11 September 2017) sent an email out discussing those proceedings and included persons in that email not entitled to disclosure and without legal authorization to do so;
- Vice Chairman Beaudry commissioned an investigation into this communication by Tessier and that investigation resulted in a finding that Tessier had in fact committed violations of RSA 91-A, and thus violated her oath of office and the City Charter provisions under Section 9.03[c] in disclosing confidential information.
- By so doing, she also violated her Oath of Office contained in the Charter;
- A report of findings in the form of a letter was sent to the Board of School Committee by Attorney James A. O’Shaughnessy detailing Tessier’s violations;
- Further, Tessier participated in the voting on the Motion before the Board of School Committee to receive and file the attorney’s letter – which directly impacted her at the 25 September 2017 session (see roll call vote). She also voted on Committeeman Girard’s Motion to Release the Attorney’s letter as well. These are further violations of the City Charter under Section 9.03 [e];
- Further, the Board of School Committee unlawfully entered non-public session or a so-called non-meeting with Attorney O’Shaughnessy to discuss Tessier’s violations as elected officials are exempt from the provisions of RSA 91-A:3, I [c] , and Tessier was allowed to be present.
I expect that you will forward this to the City Solicitor, as it is apparent from the public record that a review contemplated under Section 8.15 [c] would be futile.
As an adjunct to this complaint, I am also making a request pursuant to NH RSA 91-A:3, III for:
- the minutes of the non-public session or so-called non-meeting with Attorney O’Shaughnessy of 25 September 2017 – to include the attorney’s letter, report and/ or written findings and subject email sent by Tessier. As Attorney O’Shaughnessy himself admitted in public session on 25 September 2017, there was nothing contained in that letter that was confidential and that could not be disclosed. I would concede that any legal advice and the identity of the named employees in Tessier’s email can and should be redacted.
- A copy of the Motion to enter into non-public session or so-called non-meeting – including the specific citation of 91-A as required by law, and the required roll call vote;
- A copy of the Motion made to keep the minutes of the non-public session or non-meeting sealed or not disclosed– including the specific section cited under RSA 91-A to justify this action.
I would note that RSA 91-A:3, III specifically exempts members of the public body from being shielded from information adversely impacting their reputation, so the non-meeting or non-public session in which Committeewoman Tessier was present was also contrary to NH law as she was purportedly the subject of the discussion or meeting.
As the City has previously denied two Right to Know requests in this matter, please note that I understand the information exists, but that this is a specifically more narrow request which includes redacting any information which would violate privacy or constitute legal advice. If this request should be denied in whole or part, please cite the specific reason as contemplated in the statute upon which that decision relies.
Please acknowledge receipt of this letter via email (below) or US mail. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
James R. Gaudet
153 Roysan Street
Manchester NH 03103