04-08-2014 News

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas is in the hospital awaiting an undisclosed surgical procedure this morning.  Mayor Ted GatsasHe was admitted to Catholic Medical Center yesterday.  In a statement released by his office, Gatsas said the decision to have the procedure was arrived at in a meeting with his doctor last week.  It uncertain how long Gatsas will remain in the hospital, though the release said the mayor looked forward to his returning to City Hall in the coming weeks.  Looks like his hospital room or where ever he’ll spend time convalescing will serve as temporary a City Hall as the release states he will continue work with the aldermen and city staff through a coordinated effort and that business will continue as usual.  Gatsas is expected to make a full recovery.

O'Neil:  Will wield the gavel at City Hall.

O’Neil: Will wield the gavel at City Hall.

The show must go on in the absence of the mayor.  As Chairman of the Board of Aldermen, Alderman at-Large Dan O’Neil will preside over tonight’s meetings of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which includes the public hearing on the proposed budget.  The hearing starts at six.  The aldermen will take comments on the mayor’s proposed one hundred fifty nine point five million dollar school budget as well as the one hundred thirty seven point four million dollar city budget, in which Gatsas avoids layoffs by potentially short-funding the city’s heath care line item by three million dollars and eliminating another three million dollars in severance, contingency and other line items, leaving a possible six million hole the aldermen are looking to fill.  In proposing to spend more than four million dollars more than last year, the mayor’s budget meets the requirements imposed by the city’s caps on tax revenue and spending increases.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Parents in Bedford expressed their displeasure with a recent survey given to kids at the Ross Lurgio Middle School in which, as we reported last week, they were asked questions such as whether or not their gender was male, female, gay, lesbian or I don’t know and whether or not they’d sniffed glue and whether or not they were afraid of the adults in their home.  One woman questioned why she was not allowed to have a copy of the survey, which is her right under the state’s Right to Know Law.  She was told it was because the district was forbidden to copy it by the company they contract with to do the survey.  How about that?  A father in the audience questioned that asking whether not the district paid for the survey and therefore owned it.  Another mom, who sent us her testimony which we will post separately, said the children were violated by the questions, which she said were suggestive in nature and likely to cause some kids to develop a curiosity about some questioned items they might actually try now that they know they exist.  She demanded to know who was responsible for giving the survey and chided the district for overstepping parental boundaries.  Education advocate Ann Marie Banfield appeared before the board to ask why the survey was given in the first place, noting it didn’t seem to match Superintendent Tim Mayes‘ assertion it was to measure the districts effectiveness in meeting its stated mission.  What would be done with the data?  How has it been used to develop programs for the district?  Can the answers be trusted given the number of parents who’ve said their kids and or kid’s friends thought the questions were a joke and just filled in answers to be funny?  Mayes mentioned the Girard at Large Right to Know Request in reply to Banfield’s comments about a misleading release of information that was about one hundred questions shy of reality and missing the most controversial questions, saying he’d complied with our request which he believed was just about the elementary school test, which he provided after gaining permission from the testing company.  Girard at Large has been told that several parents left the meeting before it opened for public comment more than half an hour after its scheduled time on the agenda.  We’ll have something to say about this during this morning’s show.

Okay, so get this, after conceding during the court hearing that any emails he forwarded to a city department were public records subject to RSA 91-A the state’s Right to Know Law

Levasseur:  "Winning"

Levasseur: “Winning”

and the court dismissing that complaint, and after ruling that quote “the court is not persuaded that, because a communication does not constitute a ‘government record’ under RSA 91-A, it becomes a protected communication generally or as a result of the RSA 91-A exemptions,” and after saying quote “(a)bsent a valid claim of privilege or confidentiality, the city has the discretion to voluntarily disclose any non-governmental record in its possession or control pursuant to its own policies” and ruling that the emails in question were quote “within the city’s possession and control,” and after saying quote “the petitioner failed to articulate a convincing reason why the city is not able to disclose documents that do not fall under RSA 91-A,” and after carving out an exception for the bogus claim that some constituent emails were protected by attorney-client privilege and establishing a process to determine the validity of that claim, and after dismissing his demands that the court block the further transfer of requested information in reply to our Right to Know Request, and after dismissing his demand the court block the review and release of any information obtained, and after dismissing the request to order the return of any and all obtained materials, and after dismissing  the demand that fees be charged for the time spent to gather the contested Right to Know Requests, and after denying his request for any kind of injunction, Alderman at Large Joe Kelly Levasseur claimed, in a Facebook post we obtained last night, that he’d won a quote unquote “huge victory” in the lawsuit he filed against me and the city and figured I wasn’t blogging about the court’s ruling six days ago because it was  “big loss” for me.  All I have to say Joe is wait for tomorrow.  It will come.  You just can’t make this stuff up.  Here’s the court’s decision.

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