As members of our Large and Loyal Listening Audience know, Ward Six school board candidate Jon DiPietro filed a Right to Know request asking the Manchester School District to release the report detailing the findings of its attorney’s investigation into the release of non-public personnel information by at-Large School Committeewoman Nancy Tessier. The report found that Tessier violated policies of the board, provisions of the charter and laws of the state.
While the board discussed the findings is open session, its attorney, James O’Shaughnessy, said that the report was subject to attorney client privilege and would require a vote of the board to be released. Despite O’Shaughnessy telling the board the letter disclosed no non-public information and that its findings could be relayed, the board voted against releasing the letter and then voted to receive and file the item on the agenda.
DiPietro also asked the district to release the email Tessier sent to the board and employees of the district that violated personnel confidentiality.
In response to DiPietro’s request, the district’s attorney sent a letter again asserting the report was subject to attorney client privilege, noting that the board voted not to release it. As to Tessier’s email, they said it not only involved a personnel matter, which would be enough to prevent its release, but also had been added to the non-public minutes of the meeting, sealing its fate as a document that won’t see the light of day.
We expect the Union Leader received a similar letter denying its Right to Know request. We’ll see if either DiPietro or the city’s Gray Lady pursue it further. After all, it does document the actions of an elected public official which the Right to Know Law requires be made public.
Speaking of DiPietro, he spoke during the public participation session at last night’s meeting of the Board of School Committee. He made sure that everybody on the board, all of their opponents, any audience member in the gallery or any member of the public watching on TV knew they were invited to the Education Round Table he’d organized for next week. It was actually kind of funny to hear him say the invitation was open to all as many times as he did. It was like he was trying to make a point, or something.
Someone who did make a was Ward Seven resident Lisa Gravel. She hammered the board for voting to “broom” Tessier’s transgression in releasing non-public information. Gravel, who gained broad public support for a formal complaint she filed against Ward Two Alderman Ron Ludwig and Ward Eleven Alderman Normand Gamache for charter violations, chastised the school board for failing to release the report into Tessier’s info leak. She called it “unethical” and said that both Tessier and the board had put themselves “above the charter” by their actions.
On a related item, the board referred a policy proposed by at-Large member Rich Girard advising that violations of certain state laws, including one the district’s attorney said Tessier violated by her release of confidential information, could result in removal from office, to the Coordination Committee. Girard said in light of the board’s failure to release the investigative report on Tessier’s actions, the board needed to do something to start rebuilding the pubic’s trust.
In other business, that same Coordination Committee approved changes to the now infamous “cupcake policy” that would incorporate more permissive state regulations on “non-compliant bake sales.” The policy will come to the next meeting of the board for final approval. If adopted, schools will be able to have up to one “non-compliant bake sale,” meaning cupcakes and their evil cousin cookies will be allowed per month.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The town of Auburn’s annual Electronic “E-Waste” Collection Day will be held this Saturday, October 14th in the front parking lot of the Auburn Village School. From nine to two, residents may bring any appliance, T V, stereo, computer, printer, radio or other electronic device they want to dispose of. Anything that can be plugged in will be accepted. What won’t be accepted are batteries and florescent bulbs. There is no charge to dispose of your electronic devices.
New Hampshire has been recognized as the best liquor and wine control state in the country, by StateWays Magazine, the only nationwide magazine devoted to issues and subjects impacting the control state system. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission was recognized in the magazine’s Best Practices Awards. Record sales, warehouse innovation, commitment to offering unique and exclusive products and its ambitious effort to renovate and relocate its eighty New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets were all factors in the award. New Hampshire is one of just sixteen states that control the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol. Liquor Commission Chairman Joseph Mollica said the commission was quote “…extremely pleased to be selected…” In the press release announcing the award, commission said it has eleven million customers.
The town of Derry Fire Department will host an open house to celebrate Fire Prevention Week. On Saturday the twenty first from ten to two, residents can pop by Central Station for:
- Live Fire Extinguisher Training – for all ages
- Fire Apparatus Tours
- The Fire Safety Trailer
- Putting out the “Fire Prop” using a “real” fire hose
- Home Fire Safety Live Fire Demonstrations and
- Pizza provided by Papa Gino’s.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!