Now we are talking news on my turf. That would be at the local level where unbeknown to many people, most of the tax money spent in this state is the easiest to control. That is good and bad.
Not many statewide organizations are tuned into local spending but CNHT and the NH Municipal Association (Call them what you like, The Local Government Center, The Bureau of Beelzebub, I don’t care.) certainly are two of them.
I began to have my doubts about this crowd when I was elected selectman in my town where the municipal “expert” on the board with me, an employee of NHMA who supposedly ran the Property Liability Trust, had answers for everything. Of course she had to admit at the end of year one that the town’s books did not balance and that forced her to make up figures for the Town Report. She did it again at the end of year two but by then I had another vote on the three person board and she did not run for re-election. I became chairman of the board and five days before town meeting the next year her hand picked secretary, for whom she covered all the years before, compressed and deleted everything on the town’s computer and skeedaddled, leaving me with the mess.
Funny, NHMA did not come to Deering and help me. Neither did the DRA.
After I was voted out of office (thank God) a much wiser man, I worked with a taxpayer activist who had similar problems in Ashland. Our several phone conversations resulted in the uncovering of similar problems with a “municipal expert” or two there. This would be the infamous Town Clerk Rosie McNamara case where $2.4 million was misappropriated by Rosie under the watchful eyes of a selectman who worked for NHMA. Ashland’s NHMA employee even testified to the NH AG that Rosie was a good employee and was allowed to funnel a controversial $20,000.00 advance to a town employee, something the other selectman (one had passed away) adamantly denies. The affidavit as to what a good employee Rosie was witnessed by a second NHMA employee. I have a copy of the affidavit with both signatures on it.
Let’s see, the company, NHMA, which insures the town has two employees involved in showing the AG during the criminal trial that there is less of a financial liability to their company than meets the eye of the auditor.
Here is the math: At least $2.4 million went missing, Rosie admits stealing one million – pleads guilty to stealing $111,000.00, and the Town gets $660,000.00 from NHMA, yep, that all adds up.
Welcome to Newmarket.
Today’s Union Leader reports that NHMA, now calling itself the Local Government Center, is going to review the books of the Town of Newmarket, the town in the news for having taxpayers demand an unbiased audit after the former Town Administrator Alphonse Dixon and his Finance Director, Melodie Hodgson found employment elsewhere. The faithful auditor of Newmarket is hard to contact now as well.
There were some great quotes by John Andrews, the head honcho at NHMA, buried in the UL story. I like how he could not remember if his organization ever recruited the former Town Manger Alphonse Dixon for the Newmarket job, which is often the case with replacing town managers.
But Andrews did say the Dixon had a “pretty good reputation with his peers.” Notice how the word “peers’ is used instead of “the public.” This guy was not very popular with taxpayers in some of the other towns he left, notably Littleton, NH where he rigged a warrant article vote to be “heads we win tails you lose.”
Dixon was also bagged several years ago for DWI, in a town Newmarket vehicle no less, but the charges were somehow dropped. That always endears a public official to taxpayers.
So far, a figure of $35,000.00 seems to be missing from the forensic audit. But that is only for one year, Dixon and Hodgson, who worked with Alphonse in Littleton before coming to Newmarket herself, have been there for a long time. What about going back several years?
My suggestion to Newmarket taxpayers:
Go to the Town Hall and ask to see the chart of accounts for any number of years Alphonse and Melodie were tag teaming your books.
On the chart of accounts there will be Function and Access Codes with 16 digits.
Ask to see the last set of 16 digit numbers that would be Account #999999999999999. (Don’t let them rip the paper off at the bottom of the #8 account.)
This would be where the books get “balanced” by the experts. If there is money missing, the exact amount will miraculously appear on the revenue side out of thin air.
Don’t trust anyone.