December, 2006. Another in the long line of public officials caught in our NH pandemic of municipal corruption.
Acworth is the town this time. And pleading guilty from her hospital bed is one Brenda Longley, 55, the Acworth Town Clerk for 27 years. She admits to stealing $60,000.00. If history shows us anything it is probably a lot more.
Last week I called up one of our old taxpayer activists, Adrian Krieg, who left Acworth in disgust for a new climate in Fla. several years ago. He was not surprised she was caught since this has been going on for ten years he knows of.
Adrian is typical of our group of taxpayer activists. He could not get answers from the Town hall about spending, making him suspicious. This lead to him becoming more involved politically and eventually landing a seat on the local school board. Then as usual he was savaged in the local press as anti-education, anti-government, etc. That is what the press does when you upset the fine balance of corruption and media bias that serve as “community spirit” in many schools and towns. My friend, the late Garrick Pelletier, called it “Protecting the Hive”. (He also coined the phrase “Happy Papers” to describe local, weekly, news outlets.)
You have to admire Acworth's Brenda Longley for pleading guilty from her hospital bed. That stunt is now elevated to “the best of the best”.
Rosie McNamara, the Ashland Town Clerk who misappropriated $2.4 million - when they stopped counting, waited for her sentencing hearing (I was at) to plead “sickness” through her lawyer Paul Hodes. Not a bad choice of an attorney for someone who was indigent and could only pay the town back $23.00 per week. Rosie admitted to stealing $112,000.00 and the insurance company, The NH Municipal Assoc., paid out $660,000.00 in that case. But that is another story.
Last year we saw Lynda Mower, the Campton Town Clerk, plead to stealing from the delinquent tax lists just like Rosie of Ashland was an expert at. I believe our source in Campton who said the first thing Lynda did when caught was to call up old Rosie. Can ya believe that!
Lynda was to serve TWO WEEKS in the calaboose but word has it (UL story) she negotiated out of that.
The Town Clerk from Amherst had a sick son to get out her of her jail time a few years back. I believe it was $40,000.00 in missin town funds that got her in “trouble”.
I am not sure about the treasurer from the Keene School District that lifted $355,000.00 - before the bank caught him. Although I talked to his arresting officer a few times we never found out if he had an “affliction” of some sort.
In Dover where Dave Scott finally prevailed in uncovering millions in sweetheart (read illegal) deals, several high profile positions have been vacated. The local rag, “Foisters Daily Democrat Spin” gave some weak, lame, not-quite apology for what has happened in that city “on their watch” through a recent editorial.
Get this comment from the editorial:
“We're more than a bit embarrassed by all of this. It was our job to provide real-time oversight and, more importantly, we should have anticipated and predicted what was going on at City Hall and we didn't do it. We should have worked harder.
There is a lesson in this for everybody.”
Worked harder? As in beat up on now City Councilor Dave Scott more that they did over the past three years? What did they call him now, wasn't it a “sinister cloud over the community”.
In any case, Town Meeting time is rolling around and our taxpayer activists will be out once more in the front lines being called, haters, anti-progress, anti-education, sinister clouds, liars, and as a last resort, NAZIS, in the Happy Papers. But now more than ever we are connected to each other all across the State.
It is nice to know that somewhere over the hill in the next town some other taxpayer is asking the right questions of his elected officials.
I would say 2007 should be an interesting year.