Conservation Commission Problems

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Conservation Commission Problems

Postby curt » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:44 am

Carsten Springer and Phil Emilio are members or alternates of the Conservation Commission (CC). Judy Jervis (not in attendance) is the chair.

The 6/6/11 BOS minutes wrote:Carsten Springer approached the Board with a concern he has with the Conservation Commission. He stated that many meetings have been postponed and there has been no notice to let the camera operator know of changes so meetings were not being filmed. He stated that at a previous CC meeting, the Conservation board agreed to send a letter to a party that the Commission was in negotiations with and the letter was drafted and approved. He stated the Commission Chair made the decision to not send the letter out and he felt this was improper. As a board, a decision was agreed upon and the Chair did not have the right to alter the board agreement or consensus. Circumstances could justify a change, but the members would be notified as to why and agree to make any change; this did not occur. He stated Conservation has a job to do and one of these tasks was to be the best representatives of the Town they could be and this issue was not being handled properly.

The Board asked Phil his thoughts on this and he stated that at a May 5, 2011 meeting, a motion was made to request a joint meeting with the Board of Selectmen, Carsten drafted the letter, sent it to the Chair, and the Chair never moved forward with it. The Board thanked Carsten and Phil for bringing this to Selectmen’s attention.


At the 6/13/11 meeting, the selectmen agreed that Russ Harding would be their liaison to the CC and attend its meetings. This will be an informal arrangement because there is no statutory provision for a selectmen's representative to the CC. Technically, he would be a member of the public and thus excluded from nonpublic sessions. It would be legal to appoint a selectman to an open seat as a member or alternate.
Curt Springer
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Re: Conservation Commission Problems

Postby curt » Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:12 pm

The last minutes filed in town hall are dated 12/2/10. Per RSA 91-A minutes are to be on file within 5 business days of the meeting.
Curt Springer
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Re: Conservation Commission Problems

Postby russh » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:51 pm

curt wrote:The last minutes filed in town hall are dated 12/2/10. Per RSA 91-A minutes are to be on file within 5 business days of the meeting.


I brought up the minutes not being on the web site during my first "meeting", but I was unaware they are not filed at the town hall.

Have you put in a formal request? ( I know you don't need to and they should be filed, just curious what the response was/would be )

Lets also remember that the town, ( or any NH governmental agency ), has 5 business days to produce if not immediately available. Also, not all boards post with the town clerk, or the BoS office, so a direct request to the board in question may be necessary. I personally think we should pick one location and have all records kept in one place, but we don't have a policy in place, nor do I think the BoS has the authority to force one upon the other boards.

91-A:2 II. Subject to the provisions of RSA 91-A:3, all meetings, whether held in person, by means of telephone or electronic communication, or in any other manner, shall be open to the public. Except for town meetings, school district meetings, and elections, no vote while in open session may be taken by secret ballot. Any person shall be permitted to use recording devices, including, but not limited to, tape recorders, cameras, and videotape equipment, at such meetings. Minutes of all such meetings, including names of members, persons appearing before the public bodies, and a brief description of the subject matter discussed and final decisions, shall be promptly recorded and open to public inspection not more than 5 business days after the meeting, except as provided in RSA 91-A:6, and shall be treated as permanent records of any public body, or any subordinate body thereof, without exception. Except in an emergency or when there is a meeting of a legislative committee, a notice of the time and place of each such meeting, including a nonpublic session, shall be posted in 2 appropriate places one of which may be the public body's Internet website, if such exists, or shall be printed in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town at least 24 hours, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, prior to such meetings. An emergency shall mean a situation where immediate undelayed action is deemed to be imperative by the chairman or presiding officer of the public body, who shall post a notice of the time and place of such meeting as soon as practicable, and shall employ whatever further means are reasonably available to inform the public that a meeting is to be held. The minutes of the meeting shall clearly spell out the need for the emergency meeting. When a meeting of a legislative committee is held, publication made pursuant to the rules of the house of representatives or the senate, whichever rules are appropriate, shall be sufficient notice. If the charter of any city or town or guidelines or rules of order of any public body require a broader public access to official meetings and records than herein described, such charter provisions or guidelines or rules of order shall take precedence over the requirements of this chapter. For the purposes of this paragraph, a business day means the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, excluding national and state holidays.


91-A:5 IV. Each public body or agency shall, upon request for any governmental record reasonably described, make available for inspection and copying any such governmental record within its files when such records are immediately available for such release. If a public body or agency is unable to make a governmental record available for immediate inspection and copying, it shall, within 5 business days of request, make such record available, deny the request in writing with reasons, or furnish written acknowledgment of the receipt of the request and a statement of the time reasonably necessary to determine whether the request shall be granted or denied. If a computer, photocopying machine, or other device maintained for use by a public body or agency is used by the public body or agency to copy the governmental record requested, the person requesting the copy may be charged the actual cost of providing the copy, which cost may be collected by the public body or agency. Nothing in this section shall exempt any person from paying fees otherwise established by law for obtaining copies of governmental records or documents, but if such fee is established for the copy, no additional costs or fees shall be charged.
“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” – Mark Twain

My email, for any town related business: russ.harding@live.com
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Re: Conservation Commission Problems

Postby curt » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:23 pm

The CC went through periods 7 or 8 years ago when minutes were not being filed on a timely basis. I wrote polite emails pointing it out, and the response was complete denial. This was back when we were all fighting over the forest.

If I were to take any formal action as a resident at this time, it would be nothing less than to petition the superior court to order the CC to file the minutes. One of the many things I will probably never get to.

BTW I found out today that Janet Denison is no longer the CC clerk as listed on the web site. She resigned in December, when the recent lapse started. I didn't keep track, but I have checked the CC minutes over the years and I don't recall them not being filed per legal requirements during her tenure, regardless of whether they were sent to the web committee. Betsy Sanders might have a different recollection.

One thing that irks me is that I am a volunteer and I personally post meeting notices and minutes for two committees in compliance with legal deadlines. The other committees have paid staff.
Curt Springer
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Re: Conservation Commission Problems

Postby curt » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:07 pm

On July 5, in an email with 8 attachments consisting of Conservation Commission minutes from January 20 - June 2, the **paid** clerk of the Conservation Commission wrote:Hello,

Would you please post the attached Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes on the website?

Thank you.


In reply on the same date, I wrote:We will post when time permits.

I don't think that delaying the transmission of minutes for months and
then bunching them all together is fair either to the taxpayers who pay
both for the administrative staff and the web site, or to the web
committee, a group of volunteers who wind up with one large task instead
of a bunch of small ones spread over time.


Today, Judy Jervis, chair of the Conservation Commission wrote:CURT--

RUSS, BOS wanted them on the website. We do not have to have them posted on the web at all.
So whenever.
Get over it
If you all do not want to do it then don't


We will post the minutes when somebody can find a block of time, I hope by next week.
Curt Springer
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Re: Conservation Commission Problems

Postby safety frog » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:00 am

They should not get paid if they are not fullfilling their duties.
Dennis F
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Re: Conservation Commission Problems

Postby Sheila » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:31 am

safety frog wrote:They should not get paid if they are not fullfilling their duties.


They are fulfilling their duties. Simply stated the minutes have to be made available, does not say they have to be in the town hall in a book in an office, or on the town website. Its just something "this" town has down for years, thats all.

Sheila, Vice Chair of CC
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Re: Conservation Commission Problems

Postby curt » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:42 pm

Committee Clerk discussion continued HERE.
Curt Springer
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