We have a saying at The Coalition of NH Taxpayers, “Once you have become demonized – become the demon.” This is one of the few avenues left to a citizen who stands up to corrupt/tax-and-spend politicians or public officials.
Along with our saying we also have another what I would call “survival” policy which is - never speak to the press. More specifically, the antique NH print media. It serves no purpose to have anything to do with NH's “major” newspapers. They have their own agenda, serve up their own slanted articles – as a team for the most part, and will almost always portray citizen activists or any targeted victim in a bad light for as long as it takes to damage their credibility.
As examples of this all you need do is look at former Governor Benson and his “volunteer” Linda Pepin. This story, with the help of an NHPR reporter who's mommy Benson did not reappoint to a state position, rated in-depth headline coverage. But the same situation with Lynch's UNH paid “volunteer” Ned Helms rated little to no coverage. Rep. Gene Chandler was set upon by the press and AG for his corn roasts, while Executive Councilor Ruth Griffin was given a free pass for the same violations of RSA 15-b.
The latest target of the antique media cabal at the State level is Virginia Beecher of the DMV. Today's Monitor carries a sad piece of commentary from the Telegraph about her reappointment after-the-fact while the reappointment of a Pari-Mutuel chair-warmer goes unnoticed.
Now we have a very interesting situation in Dover with Foster's Daily Democrat editorially attacking newly elected City Councilor Dave Scott for his efforts to stop an unprecedented secret employment/benefits contract awarded to the police chief by then outgoing City Manager Paul Beecher. We are talking BIG bucks and PHENOMENAL benefits! A story, by the way, NOT covered by Foster's. (And it is only going to get worse as we help the public connect the dots.)
Here is what is going on right now in case you don't get the Dover Community News.
Dave Scott was elected as a City Councilor in spite of losing a State Rep. seat two years ago. Before being elected to the council Scott prevailed in a lawsuit against Dover for access to public records regarding public employee salaries and criticized the former City manager Paul Beecher on a regular basis. For this he was labeled a “gadfly” and a “thorn in the side” by the papers. So his election caught many by surprise.
After being on the Council a short time Dave Scott became aware of a $3 million dollar contract signed by the Dover police chief and Paul Beecher who had by then “re-employed himself” to Kingman, Arizona. This contract violates Art. C11 of the Dover Charter. So Dave Scott placed a full page ad detailing the contract in the Dover Community News at his own expense. He also paid for ads on talk radio. CNHT sent it to talk show hosts all over NH. [See the front page of www.cnht.org]
Now Foster's and their tax-and-spend friends on the City Council are confronted with this uncharted territory. What shall they do?
Dave Scott has already been demonized in the past. It seems not to be working the second time around. He will not talk to Foster's (God bless him) and he has his own press in talk radio and the local weekly. There is much more to the story the public has not seen yet which means Scott is the only “investigative reporter” in Dover and is filling the void created by Foster's. What is a lazy, arrogant, self-important paper to do? How will the Dover tax and spend status quo respond?
Until we find out, here is a letter Councilor Scott just penned to Dover taxpayers:
"I am getting the impression that there are some members of the Dover community who are trying to make me the issue, rather than the outrageous, and unprecedented $3.2 million dollar employment contract agreed to between Police Chief William Fenniman and former City Manager Paul Beecher in his last days in Dover.
The issue I am raising is authority. It is my opinion that a Dover City Manager does not have the authority to enter into a multi-million dollar commitment without the formal approval of the City Council as a body.
According to the calculations of Mr. Joyal this agreement starts out with a base salary higher than that of the governor of New Hampshire and provides for yearly increases of base salary compounding at a rate of over 7% per year.
Mr. Joyal’s calculation of the increase of fringe benefits is even more onerous to Dover taxpayers because his calculation of fringe benefits increase at a compound rate of over 12% per year.
While the work sheet of Mr. Joyal provides cost details that go out for 10 years, the contract has no end date and its cost to Dover taxpayers could continue on and upwards for many additional years.
The main driving factor of the fringe benefits category is the most unusual vacation allowance I have ever seen. The former contract with the police chief authorized 3 weeks of paid vacation. This contract signed at the end of 2004, starts out retroactively authorizing 8 weeks of paid vacation in 2003. Ten weeks are awarded in 2004 and 12 weeks in 2005. From that point on 2 weeks of additional vacation are added every year. The worksheet of Mr Joyal indicates 34 weeks of earned vacation in year 10. With no contract end date, you make the calculation of how many weeks of vacation could be earned by Chief Fenniman in future years, for example year 15 of this open ended contract.
The contract states that for leave weeks not taken “employee may elect to receive a payment” in lieu of leave.
Unfortunately our local press has not kept Dover Citizens informed. Dover voters need a full investigation as to how and why millions of our tax dollars could be committed by any City Manager without the approval of the City Council as a body.
Dover taxpayers have every the right to know how their taxes are being committed and spent. Superior Court judge Fauver made that very clear in his ruling in October.
How could anyone - City manager – City councilor - Taxpayer, not question the validity, enforceability and reasonableness of this unbelievable contract."