The New Hampshire Republican State Committee yesterday asked the New Hampshire Department of Justice to review Governess Margaret Wood Hassan’s attempt to pressure state agencies into ignoring the Right to Know Law. The party also submitted its own request with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services for information regarding its government efficiency proposals.
Hassan has refused to either release or allow state departments to release information regarding budget proposals made by departments to her which she decided not to include in her budget. She’s argued “executive privilege” entitles her to shield whatever information she sees fit to retain and that the proposals were merely drafts not subject to the law anyway.
Not so says our Right to Know Watchdog Harriet Cady. A former Right to Know Commissioner, Cady asserted in an interview on Girard at Large yesterday, that once a draft leaves a department and makes its way to the governor, it is a public document subject to the Right to Know Law, which she emphatically stated in an interview yesterday applies to the governor. Hassan has directed all departments to forward Right to Know Requests regarding government efficiency proposals to her office to thwart their release.
The plot thickens on the “can you believe its controversial?” proposal to convert Manchester’s nine thousand street lights to L E D fixtures. Girard at Large discovered yesterday that District Eighteen State Senator Donna Soucy, Democrat from Manchester, was in the gallery of the Aldermanic Chambers Tuesday night as were members of I B E W Local 4 9 0 to monitor the debate over whether or not the Board of Mayor and Aldermen would award the contract to its sponsor Siemens or its competitor Philips. “This was a show of force to keep their votes in line,” said one observer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Yesterday, Girard at Large reviewed financial filings from the two thousand thirteen city elections, which revealed that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers contributed more money to candidates for office than every private sector union and all but one public employee union. The Manchester Professional Firefighters Union was by far the number one contributor to city candidates, dumping more than twelve thousand dollars into the process. The I B E W poured over seven thousand dollars into campaign coffers, almost all of it into mayoral candidate Patrick Arnold’s campaign. Clearly, they have it out for Mayor Ted Gatsas, who favors the bid from Philips Lighting North America, which employes more Manchester residents and saves taxpayers more money according to documents provided by Public Works officials.
Publisher’s note: Ward 3 Alderman Patrick Long called in to dispute our report that members of IBEW Local 490 were present in the Aldermanic Chamber at teh meeting. We are awaiting a return call from our source to confirm this information. We will post our findings immediately, once known.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Groups opposed to the Smarter Balanced Assessment will rally this morning in advance of today’s meeting of the NH House Education Committee. The committee is considering legislation that would require local school districts to notify parents of impending standardized tests and allow them to refuse their child’s participation. The debate has raged in recent days as Bedford State Representative Terry Wolf successfully amended the amend the bill to make it harder for parents to refuse their children’s participation. This has drawn a lot of attention in town given she’s also chairman of the Bedford School Board and seems to be arguing against requiring districts to be responsive to parents.
There are a lot of moving parts on this one and Anne Marie Banfield of Cornerstone Action will be in the house this morning to give us all the details. Those interested in showing their support for parental rights can join this morning’s event, dubbed The Great NH Opt Out, by going to the Legislative Office Building for their press conference at eight thirty. Organizers urge those who want to tell the state Department of Education they will not be denied parental rights to join them for their event and, if possible, attend the subsequent committee hearings. We’ve linked to the information they’ve posted on social media with additional details.
In a follow up to a story we broke yesterday, we’re still trying to figure out why some of the legal costs identified by the Timberlane Regional School District as being caused by School Board Member Donna Green were attributed to her. Green, who will be in court Friday prosecuting a lawsuit she’s filed against the district for violations of the state’s Right to Know Law, has replied to our inquiries on the matter, but before we draw any conclusions, we still need input from the school district officials who’ve assigned those costs to her.
While reviewing the documents, we found it interesting to see that the request of School Board Member Rob Collins for the information was provided while Business Administrator George Stokinger was said to be on vacation. Funny thing is, when Green requested the same information, she was told she would have to wait for Stokinger to come back from vacation because nobody knew where the invoices were filed. You just can’t make this stuff up. LOVE that place!
That’s news from our own backyard Girard at Large hour ___ is next