Reply: That Name Thing Again

By S.D. Plissken | March 24, 2019

Ms. McDougall,

Thank you for your comment of March 20 in regard to my own piece on the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting of March 18. There is a lot to unpack here. I will attempt to address your various points (in several replies), although not necessarily in the order in which you made them.

I can agree with your conclusion of support for freedom of speech, commerce [a free market], and low taxes [a free people].

That Name Thing Again

Everyone wants to know our names. But why? The arguments deployed here are either valid or they are not, regardless of the name attached to them. Names are useful only for use in ad hominum fallacies – arguments applied against the man (or woman), rather than against the argument.

And, frankly, this Town government is not to be trusted with names. It was reported on the eve of the March 2018 election, in response to a 91-A request by a local Facebook administrator, that the Town Treasurer was under “criminal investigation.” She had displeased the Board of Selectmen in some way, only partially visible in their public sessions. Now, this accusation was patent nonsense, of course. And when she lost the election, the “criminal investigation” evaporated. It was apparently no longer necessary.

She won re-election as Strafford County Treasurer. The County seems to have had no problems with her whatsoever.

This episode begs many questions. Who initiated the purported “criminal investigation”? On what basis? Who did the investigating? Just following orders? What were the results? Is the information sought under 91-A now publicly available? And, finally, where does the erstwhile Treasurer go to regain her good name?

You might think that the current Treasurer has also cause for complaint: his own electoral victory appears to have been influenced, and thereby tainted, by this “February surprise.” Where is his “mandate”?

And there have been other similar occurrences, in which Town officials have threatened to use Town money – your money and mine – to sue someone into oblivion if they did not comply. By whatever means necessary, to the outer limits of our money. Aah, I’d like a vote on that expenditure, please.

Those who follow the BOS meetings will have seen occasionally other causes for concern. I might cite just a couple of them. The RSAs, whatever I might think of them, have some very few checks on the power of selectmen. Some decisions are reserved for the electorate alone.

Our selectmen do not care much for that nonsense. They find it inconvenient. They have voted amounts of money just one dollar less than statutory amounts that would trigger a vote of that electorate. They have stated outright that they are voting that dollar-smaller amount so as to not trigger the requirement for voter approval. Because they love … democracy?

In a like manner, they have stated publicly that they are keeping one dollar in a fund that, having fulfilled its approved purpose, should have been closed. They have stated clearly that they were doing so in order to avoid the need for voter authorization in the future. Because they respect … the taxpayers?

One might make a case that this Town government, when thwarted or facing some perceived impediment, sometimes reacts in a manner more akin to a criminal gang than an assemblage of our friends and neighbors.

And you want our names available to them. Yeah, right.

Author: S.D. Plissken

I thought he'd be taller.

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