A Right to Know Commission has concluded its business and made its final report. The commission was established by the General Court specifically to study ways to reduce both the number and expense of resolving right-to know complaints. The commission brought forward three recommendations for the General Court to consider, suggesting:
- Legislation be intriduced in the next session to establish both an Ombudsman and Citizens’ Right-to-Know Appeals Commission to resolve grievances;
- The establishment of Right-to-know training for all public officials and employees subject to the Right to Know Law to increase awareness and compliance and minimize violations; and
- Minimizing costs and fees for all citizens to file and adjudicate their complaints.
In releasing the report, commission Chairman District Two Senator Bob Giuda, Republican from Warren, issued a statement praising the committee, saying, its work to study and improve the R S A 9 1-A law was essential to providing transparency. Quote:
“The final report adopted by the Commission today will serve as an outline for changes we hope to make to statute, ensuring that Right-to-Know requests made to municipalities or any elected or government body are addressed in an efficient manner that is compliant with the law.”
We’ve uploaded the report with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.
The investigation demanded by Manchester Ward Eleven School Committeewoman Kate Desrochers into whether or not at-Large Committeeman Rich Girard violated state wiretapping and Right to Know statutes has been completed. Desrochers accused Girard of illegal conduct after being told he recorded a non-public meeting on September eleventh. Girard had been asked by board Vice Chair Arthur Beaudry to keep minutes of the meeting in the absence of the board’s clerk.
Despite knowing this, Desrochers demanded an investigation into whether or not Girard was guilty of either a Class B Felony or misdemeanor for recording board members without their consent. She also demanded to know whether or not Girard’s recording of the meeting violated the state’s Right to Know Law because the matters under discussion involved personnel, which she wrongly claimed were not allowed by law to be recorded.
The answer to all five of her questions, predictably, was “NO.”
After receiving the findings, Girard sent an email demanding the immediate release of the information which vindicated him against the quote “knowingly baseless charges.” Mayor Ted Gatsas ordered a poll of the board asking that the information be released. As of late yesterday afternoon, six board members had voted in favor of releasing the information, including Gatsas, Ward Two’s Debra Gagnon Langton Ward Five’s Lisa Freeman, Ward Seven’s Ross Terrio, Ward Nine’s Beaudry, and Ward Ten’s John Avard.
Voting against releasing the information were Desrochers, Ward One’s Sarah Ambrogi, Ward Four’s Leslie Want and at-Large member Nancy Tessier, who, as we all know, actually did leak personnel information from that non-public meeting on September 11th.
Ward Three’s Mary Georges, Ward Sixes Dan Bergeron, Ward Eight’s Erika Connors and Ward Twelve’s Connie Van Houten had not yet replied to the poll.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Thanks to members of our Large and Loyal Listening Audience, we have the answer to the question we posed in our story yesterday about the quote unquote “outsourcing of local support” by Manchester Ward Twelve aldermanic candidate Hassan Essa and Ward Eight school board member Erika Connors. If you recall, we reported that Essa and Connors were the beneficiaries of a postcard writing campaign designed to spur Democrats to the polls on their behalf. The outfit organizing the postcard writing efforts of Democrats across the country is based in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Our question was whether or not the group came to these races on their own or whether or not they had to be asked. Well, thanks again to our Large and Loyal Listening Audience, we’ve learned that Essa and Connors had to ask for their help, which actually raises a number of legal questions.
As it turns out, Tony the Democrat, who runs Postcards to Voters, has a process for determining which candidates will be helped, free of charge to them. It involves the candidate asking for the help and a half hour interview with the candidate to determine whether or not they’re worthy of receiving it. The legal questions arise from it being a political action committee and whether or not candidates asking for its help violate statutes prohibiting collusion laws between candidates and third party organizations.
Regardless of how that question comes out, it would appear that Connors and Essa, rather than enlisting the support of local folks to support their local campaigns, have deliberately outsourced this grassroots work to a political action committee committed to backing candidates who oppose President Donald Trump and his agenda.
Some of the directions given to card writers from their Web site include:
- Not calling a postcard recipient a “Democrat” because the postcard could be headed for a mixed voter household.
- Addressing the postcard to “V I P Voter,” or “Important Voter” or “Esteemed Voter,” or the like.
- Not using to use their last name,
- Just their first name or initials,
- and not to using their return address, email address or any social media info.
- Oh, yes, they’re also urged to quote “stick to the talking points.”
All of this makes perfect sense when you consider they’re outsiders trying to hide the fact that they’re not actually a resident of the local district whose election outcome they’re trying to influence.
The U S S Manchester, named for Queen City, will officially be commissioned in April. Because of this, some of the sailors who will crew the Navy’s newest Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-14), will visit the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp students at West High School tomorrow.
The cadets, under the leadership of Captain Arthur Stauff and Master Gunnery Sergeant Ronald Slagle, a k a “Master Guns,” as he’s known to students, will give a presentation on their unit. Other West students will present a history of the city and of the school during the assembly. The West High School Band will add to the assembly’s pomp and circumstance.
This is the second ship in the U.S. Navy to be named in honor of the city. The first U S S Manchester was a light cruiser that primarily operated in the Pacific during the Korean War. It was commissioned in 1 9 4 6 and decommissioned a decade later.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!