6-27-2013 News

The Union Leader got it wrong.  That’s what Manchester’s Assistant Police Chief Nick Willard said yesterday about a story the paper published involving cell phone use by Officer Nathan Linstad.  In the article, the paper reported that Linstad, who was on trial for domestic assault, testified he’d used his work cell phone to send texts, emails and photos in addition to making calls to hide his affairs from his wife and said it wasn’t against the rules.  The report had Alderman at Large Joe Kelley Levasseur asking the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to investigate the department’s cell phone policies and usage.  In an interview with Girard at Large, Willard said the department has listened to Linstad’s testimony and said that Linstad was clearly talking about phone calls, not texts, emails or photos.  Willard also said that Manchester police officers weren’t randomly questioning citizens about pawn shop activity; another charge leveled by Levasseur.  He had a lot to say on all of those topics and more.  His interview is in the archive at Girard at Large dot com.

The State Department of Education has scheduled a Breach of Contract hearing in response to Hooksett’s declaration against Manchester for July 12th at their offices in Concord.  While this appears to be bringing joy to that weird land of Hooksett, Manchester gets first crack at this on July first when its court petition to enjoin Hooksett’s waiving the requirement that its public high school students attend Manchester High Schools will be heard.

The Manchester School Board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee received the findings of the academic audit it recently commissioned.  In general, it complimented Manchester’s schools on the hard work done by its employees every day.  There were twenty findings in the report and ten recommendations.  A particular area of interest was the functioning of the board itself.  Dr. Birmingham, the lady who gave the presentation didn’t pull any punches in addressing the dysfunction.  She said the occasion has been very rare when she’s had to address how a board functions, but said when its behavior gets in the way of the district moving forward, it has to be addressed.  We’ll be discussing this during today’s show.  Our notes on the meeting are in the live blog section of Oh My BLOG! at Girard at Large dot com.

The news continues after this.

Rick Doherty of Care Plus Ambulance took issue with comments made by Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas in his weekly interview here on Girard at Large.   which we’ve posted with this news read at Girard at Large dot com, Doherty said the mayor’s comments about increasing the dispatch fee validated their hesitancy in complying with the requirement until they were able to justify the fee.  Doherty wrote that the dispatch fee requested is supposed to be based on THE COST of providing the Dispatch Service to the City and not a negotiation perk.  In an interview last week, Doherty said they intentionally left their commitment to pay the annual three hundred twenty five thousand dollar fee to cover dispatch services out of their bid, but agreed to pay the it during their interview after the expenses were justified.  Doherty wrote:  To allow companies to pay money in excess of the City’s COST raises huge questions and could be the basis of a Federal Anti-Kickback investigation.  I hope that the Mayor was not suggesting that the Dispatch Fee being requested was simply an arbitrary figure pulled out of a hat based on what the Mayor thought “he could get the bidding companies to pay”!  Fire Chief James Burkush said Care Plusses promise to pay the dispatch fee in their bid interview notwithstanding; their failure to include it in the bid was a disqualifier because it was a non-negotiable item.  Doherty has faulted the city for negotiating price reductions with AMR, the city’s current ambulance provider, to match the bid submitted by American Ambulance, without also talking to them about various items, like this dispatch fee, to enable them to improve their bid.  We’ll have more on this and other developments on this matter during the show.  (Note, we will post Mayor Gatsas’ response once received.  We forwarded the email this morning.)

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ continues right after this.