We publish the comments made by Manchester resident Jim Gaudet at the August 15, 2017 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen regarding his complaint against Ward 2 Alderman Ron Ludwig and Ward 11 Alderman Normand Gamache, which charged both with violating the city charter in voting for labor contracts covering immediate family members.  Assistant Manchester City Solicitor Thomas Arnold, Jr. issued an opinion advising the two aldermen, did in fact, violate the charter.

Public Input Statement

Your Honor Mayor Gatsas and Members of the Manchester Board of Aldermen:

My name is Jim Gaudet, of Roysan Street in Ward 8.  I have been a homeowner there for 27.5 years.  In June of this year, I filed an ethics complaint with the Mayor pursuant to the City Charter against Aldermen Gamache and Ludwig for their second violation of the Conflict of Interest section of the City Charter.  On August 8th, the Manchester City Solicitor’s Office completed its investigation and not surprisingly found that these two Aldermen had violated the charter [again]. The sheer brazenness of their actions demanded someone challenge their unethical and illegal behavior. The unbridled arrogance of their participation and voting in basically giving the middle finger to the citizens of this city has gone on far too long. It is indeed unfortunate that the complaint had to come from a citizen rather than elected officials sworn to uphold the Charter.

The citizens of this city – for whom you are elected to represent, support the City Charter and have seen fit not to eliminate the Conflict of Interest provisions since its adoption. They apply to you all equally Yet Mssr. Gamache and Ludwig have both deliberately and purposely violated these provisions – twice.  It is apparent that neither of the two Aldermen– despite the widespread public knowledge that they both violated their oaths of office, have the integrity to do the right thing and step down or resign.  Now it will be incumbent upon the Mayor and remaining Board members to make sure these illegal actions are addressed and punished – as all elected officials are required to see the provisions of the City Charter enforced under Section 8.15    That would include convening a hearing to remove both Aldermen forthwith and making sure that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen vote to refer this matter to the NH Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit for an investigation and prosecution under the provision of NH RSA 49-C.   The time for talking about their illegal and unethical actions is over; now it is time for you all to do your jobs and uphold your Oaths of Office.

The citizens of Manchester are now watching all of you – especially in this election season. Make no mistake…this is about more than myself and Lisa Gravel’s 127 signatures.  People are fed up and the City deserves moral leadership from this body.

Thank you.

Jim Gaudet

49-C:13 Removal of Mayor, Aldermen, and Councilors. – 
    I. The elected body may, on specific charges and after due notice and hearing, at any time remove the mayor or one of its own members for cause, including but not limited to prolonged absence from or other inattention to duties, crime or misconduct in office, or as specified in the charter. 
    II. Any vacancy occasioned by removal under this section shall be filled in the manner provided in the charter.

Source. 1991, 304:11, eff. Aug. 23, 1991.

49-C:30 Liability for Discharge. – The removal in accordance with this charter with or without cause of a person elected or appointed or otherwise chosen for a fixed term shall give no right or action for breach of contract.

Source. 1991, 304:11, eff. Aug. 23, 1991.

  49-C:31 Violations. – Any person who violates any provisions of the charter, unless otherwise provided, or violates any city ordinance for which no other punishment is provided, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, notwithstanding RSA 651:2, be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 90 days, or both.

Source. 1991, 304:11, eff. Aug. 23, 1991.