By John S. Frum | December 16, 2019
We received today the following demand letter from the Town Treasurer, Mr. MacKenzie Campbell:
Name: Mackenzie Campbell, treasurer
Comment: Hello I read opinionated and categorically false information relating to the Treasurers position. I am happy to give an interview that I can back up with facts and additional information. The article was about an upcoming Selectman’s meeting and I need to reach someone to discuss. If no contact attempts are made to me within 5 business days or 1 calendar week. I will follow up to request your proof in writing. If proof cannot be furnished within 30 days I will proceed accordingly to avoid defamation to my name and character as well as my ability to serve in the role of treasurer.
You are herby notifies to cease and desist the information regarding to the treasurers position without providing substantial evidence.
I appreciate your time and have a great day!
[phone number omitted]
[*misspellings and typographical errors are original]
Well, this Treasurer guy certainly thinks a lot of himself, doesn’t he? More than I do anyway.
I will thank him to keep his empty threats between his teeth for the next 5 business days, 1 calendar week, 30 days, or pretty much until the sun winks out. As an elected official, he is a public figure. This is black-letter law. I might suggest he seek satisfaction in a nice long walk on a short pier, and that he should “have a great day” while doing it.
Doesn’t he know that the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meetings are recorded? Nothing has been said here that was not said aloud in recorded public meetings.
(Some might even recall that when Selectman Lucier was obsessed with trash in yards, it was said aloud – for a recording – that Mr. Campbell’s yard was among the worst of them).
Mr. Campbell did not specify which part of our meeting notice was “categorically false.” I’m going to call just plain nonsense on that. Facts that you do not like are not false because you do not like them.
In the BOS meeting of December 3, 2018, the Town Clerk’s reluctance to be the Town’s Depository was discussed at length (minutes). Mr. Plissken wrote about it at the time (Town Clerk Working-to-Rule), and quoted both the Treasurer’s remarks and those of the BOS directly from the recording at length.
In the BOS meeting of December 17, 2018, the Treasurer was among those trying to browbeat the Town Clerk. According to the minutes.
M. Campbell suggested the Town Clerk/Tax Collector remain the central location as determined with the bank and auditors this past spring.
The Treasurer, the bank and the auditors had “determined” that the Town Clerk should do the work. Nice of them. Might I ask which of them, if any of them, asked the Town Clerk? Don’t you just love it when other people “determine” things for you? I know I do.
They went around and around, but she did not budge. You see, she is not the handmaiden of the BOS or anyone else in Town government. She is a duly elected constitutional officer, as opposed to most down there. She promised certain office hours for the taxpayers, as a constitutional officer might. This central depository thing would interfere with her promises to her constituency. She explained all this.
I invite you to watch the video. You have never seen such a confused bunch in your life. Like ducks hit on the head. (You will admire her determination: steel true, blade straight).
Vice-chairwoman Hutchings suggested a drop safe, but Treasurer Campbell said that lacked security and accountability. The Police Chief agreed. Selectman Lucier liked the drop safe idea. Chairman Thibeault disagreed with the drop safe idea. He did not want to go against the opinions of lawyers and auditors. (He thinks “outside the box”).
Remember, the Town Clerk is an independent elected official in her own right, with constitutional responsibilities of her own. Her responsibilities do not include being a central depository. No amount of others wanting it to be so makes it so. She is not answerable to the selectmen or treasurers, and even less so to their hireling police chiefs, lawyers, and auditors.
The BOS stopped finally the merry-go-round by asking that the Town Administrator call a meeting to iron out a solution by the end of January. Yeah, good luck with that. There was no mention in end of January minutes of any ironed-out solution.
How were the problems attendant to the “solution” devised by the Treasurer, auditor, and lawyer ultimately solved? They had to give the Town Clerk the assistance she requested. The additional cost of that assistance is not being paid by the Treasurer, the BOS, nor the departments, but by the taxpayers, as our meeting notice said.
Should we have said that we need to thank the Treasurer, and the auditors, lawyers, banks, selectmen, police chief, town administrator, butcher, baker, and candlestick-maker for this “solution”?
A camel is a horse designed by a committee.