A short, but entertaining meeting of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen last night.  After lengthy discussion, the board unanimously adopted a resolution offered by Ward 3 Alderman Patrick Long asking the state to immediately allocate part of the it’s surplus from the last budget to restore mental health funding in light of the two recent tragedies involving mental health patients.  Alderman at Large Joe Kelly Levasseur questioned the need for the resolution noting that the recent issue involving Fern Ornelas didn’t have anything to do with the state’s lack of involuntary beds for mental health patients, but his inability to pay for his medication after being laid off.  The board tabled a committee report looking to establish a committee that will work with the city’s new economic development director to establish a five year plan for the Economic Development Office.  Mayor Ted Gatsas asked that the board give Director William Craig an opportunity to finish cleaning up the office, which is in shambles, and get his bearings straight before embarking on the project.  Aldermen Joyce Craig, Garth Corriveau ad Dan O’Neil were opposed.  Alderman Patrick Arnold was absent.  The aldermen also attempted to order an audit of the Manchester Dog Park Association, which is led by Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo, after a citizen lambasted the association during the public participation session.  Oddly enough, Joe Kelly Levasseur was prepared with documents and questions to initiate the move, which Assistant City Solicitor Tom Arnold said the city had no contractual or legal authority to do.  Before Levasseur’s motion, Greazzo addressed the charges raised against the group, including that they were a bunch of “Tea Partiers,” by saying the association was financially fine, that any member of the board could see the organization’s bank statements and that the necessary insurance documents were on file with the city.  After the meeting, he said he’d be fine with an audit as they had nothing to hide.  The matter was referred to the Accounts Committee.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Girard at Large has confirmed that Ward 10 aldermanic candidate Bill Barry failed to obtain the permits needed to significantly increase the size of a deck in his backyard.  We learned of the accusation last week and inquired with the city’s Department of Planning and Community Development about the matter.  Director Leon LaFreniere said an inspector had reviewed the permits and inspected the property but found nothing amiss.  Barry, he said, told the inspector the deck was there when he bought the property.  When we shared that information with our sources, they clarified that he’d expanded his deck, not built it and suggested we check on the original dimensions and get updated ones.  We did that and city records showed a twelve by twelve deck.  Upon re-inspection, the deck was found to be twelve by twenty and in violation of the city’s setback rules, meaning it needed a variance to be that big.  LaFreniere also reported that Barry admitted to expanding the deck when confronted with the measurements and said he originally was going to just have the deck repaired, but one thing led to another and it became significantly larger.  Coincidentally, LaFreniere said that an anonymous complaint was filed with the department against me for paving my driveway, which is really kind of odd, because anonymous complaints were also made to the department against Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo and his campaign manager Tammy Simmons all on the same day.  Oh, and an inspector from the city’s Fire Department paid a call on me Monday.  Weird, huh?  We’ll have more on all this right after the news.

Campaign finance reports are trickling into City Hall as the third of four reporting periods is underway.  The city’s employee unions continue to spend heavily in this cycle and we’ve posted the details.  For the first time in memory, the Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association actually filed the pre-election finance report.  They gave another three grand to mayoral candidate Patrick Arnold, who missed all but 15 minutes of last night’s meeting because he was at a campaign event in Ward 12 with aldermanic candidate Roger Beauchamp, who got two fifty from the firefighters union, and school board candidate Connie Van Houten.  Alderman at-Large Dan O’Neil got another two grand, Ward 6 Alderman Garth Corriveau received another five hundred dollars and the aforementioned Bill Barry got anther two fifty also.  Pac Man Barry, who has yet to file his finance reports, took in another two hundred bucks from the Teamsters as did several others, including Corriveau, Beauchamp, Ward 2 Alderman Ron Ludwig and Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw.  They gave O’Neil four hundred bucks and Arnold a thousand.  Here are the reports:  Granite State Teamsters Drive 10 days before general 2013Professional Firefighters Association 10 days before general 2013

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead.