By S.D. Plissken | July 9, 2020
Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) chairwoman Erin Hutchings announced her resignation, effective July 7, during the Selectman Comments portion of the BOS meeting of Monday, June 15, 2020. She had sold her house and would be moving out of town.
On June 22, 2020, the Town posted a notice seeking applicants from which they might select a replacement.
At their quasi-Public meeting of July 6, 2020, the BOS opened a sealed envelope with the names and particulars of three applicants vying to be her replacement. They were Laurence D. “Larry” Brown, Claudine Burnham, and Humphrey S. Williams. (Mr. Brown and Mr. Williams were candidates for this office at the March election).
At their quasi-Public meeting of last night, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the BOS went immediately into a 91-A:3 II (c) session.
(c) Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine, or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.
When they emerged from their secret session, they announced that they had selected Claudine Burnham to serve out the remainder of Erin Hutchings’ third year.
Ms. Burnham was for two years (2015-17) assistant recreation director for the Town of Milton, and has been for two years (2018-Present) a resident mentor at Shortridge Academy, on Governor’s Road in West Milton. Northeastern University conferred upon her in 1993 a B.S. degree, with a major in business administration.
LinkedIn. (2020). Claudine Burnham. Retrieved from www.linkedin.com/in/claudine-burnham-61a55214a
Shortridge Academy. (2020). Claudine Burnham. Retrieved from www.shortridgeacademy.com/staff_member/claudine-burnham/
State of New Hampshire. (2016, June 21). RSA Chapter 91-A. Access to Governmental Records and Meetings. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/VI/91-A/91-A-3.htm
Town of Milton. (2020, July). BOS Meeting Minutes, June 15, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/minutes/06-15-2020_meetingminutes.pdf
Town of Milton. (2020, July 3). BOS Meeting Agenda, July 6, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/agendas/07-06-2020_bosagenda_final_0.pdf
Town of Milton. (2020, July 6). BOS Meeting Agenda, July 8, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/agendas/a_07-08-2020_bosagenda_final.pdf
Town of Milton. (2020, June 22). Milton Select-Board Vacancy Needs to Be Filled. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/news/milton_select_board_vacancy_needs_to_be_filled_003.pdf
Youtube. (1965). Cone of Silence. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1eUIK9CihA&feature=youtu.be&t=19
One thought on “The Envelope, Please”
So because they ‘needed’ to make their selection in non-public session we must assume that the discussion would have included items that would affect the reputations of Williams and Brown. We are now to consider Williams and Brown as characters with questionable backgrounds.
If they had simply stayed within their constitutional mandate for open and transparent government, they could have just sung the praise of Burnham. As it stands one might wonder if the selectmen were left to choose the least bad candidate.
So has the non-public session spared anyone damage to their reputation; perhaps all involved are now tainted. Were any of the candidates offered the opportunity provided by law – “unless such person requests an open meeting.”