Sometime this week the NH Senate will vote to pass HB 626 and for all intents and purposes end the Right to Know Law as we know it. (For now.)
This action is the culmination of a lot of hard lobbying, and frankly, lying, by members of the sham Right To Know Commission. The NH Municipal Association, now under a new name and NOT under its original purpose has been out to gut RSA 91-A since they themselves became subject to the Right To Know law after a loss to the Manchester Association of Firefighters over the Association's right to NHMA documents. NHMA was deemed a public organization by the State Supreme Court. So this is really an act of self preservation for them.
In any case, this will be interesting to watch as school boards, boards of selectmen and especially school superintendents and town managers test the new limits of their secrecy largess.
CNHT did our part in exposing what the intent of HB 626 was so we have no responsibility for this mess. Actually, we have as much new opportunity as we found in the View Tax. That stupid idea was cooked up by the same type of elitists that are cut from the same mold as the RTK Commission.
The View Tax took a little time to catch hold but it happened and assessing firms that tried to scam taxpayers with a computer program full of garbage have a lot less swagger in them than they did a year ago. They are also under a lot more scrutiny. We have some new faces on the Assessing Standards Board so it will no longer be the refuge of the self-interested it once was.
This time around it will be NHMA that is responsible for the mistrust and contempt taxpayers will have for elected officials who make secret deals with each other. We know how to catch elected officials who cheat and will be glad to show new members how it is done. Then let the local sparks fly.
No NH newspaper will admit we are in the midst of a sizable taxpayer revolt but anyone with a rudimentary understanding of our annual meetings could see coming. It was mentioned at least once in the Boston Globe right after the city elections last November but seems not to be news here.
The next move the RTK Commission will make will be to create new amendments to remove elected officials who betray other officials who they catch cutting back-room deals. Any board member who publicizes intercepted secret emails must be punished by the other members.
Another move by the RTK Commission will be to charge an hourly rate to assemble public documents for taxpayers to make access much more expensive and limit requests. Now, taxpayers often have to go to Superior Court or get elected to office just to get the simplest of records. Case in point, newly elected Dover City Councilor Dave Scott just uncovered an unlawful $3.2 million dollar pay and benefits plan for the Dover Police Chief.
The City Manager, Paul Beecher, who tried to scam taxpayers in that deal split for Kingman Arizona days after the “heist.”
Paul Beecher used to be the head honcho at NHMA.
See how much fun this is going to be.