Free Cheese

Maybe we can stay on the NH Municipal Association for a couple more days before it gets back to its regular way of doing business outside the eye of most of the public.

Here is how they work:

NHMA is supposed to get bargain prices for insurance for municipalities. Except they skim more off the top that was bargained for when they were created by the State of New Hampshire, $100 million skimmed, bargained down to $50 million.

So there you go, the same old Public/Private way of doing business. The taxpayers lose.

They are also known as a group that gives free legal advice to municipalities who are members, fat chance.

Here is an example of free legal advice from NHMA going back to when I was a selectman.

I contacted NHMA because a man in town called me for help. He wanted to bury his deceased wife on family property and he heard it was legal.

He stumped me. Where would I look for statutes regarding that type of issue?

I looked up cemeteries, planning, zoning, structures, Trustees of the Trust Funds, all kinds of places and I did not find anything statutory I thought was on point.

I called NHMA and explained in detail what the issue was and where I had searched. I asked if there was a statute, administrative rule, anything I could count on to give me some guidance in the matter.

The NHMA lawyer said, “Here is what you do.”

No, no, no, that is not what I asked. I asked for the list of or any statutes regarding private burials on family property. What did I miss?

I am not an errand boy selectman for NHMA. I wanted to know for myself and for my file on the subject – what statutes allow a person to do what was at issue. That way I would know exactly what was going to happen and the procedeurs involved. I would LEARN something.

I learned a long time before to never take advice from any lawyer that is not written down or cites some case or law.

I can read. I can comprehend. And I am not going to pass on “free” advice form NHMA without knowing what is involved.

Too many elected officials do that now.

That is NHMA’s game. They act like a shadow selectboard.

If NHMA’s legal advice is so good, why not write it down and quote some law?

My friend on a school board got advice over the phone from the school attorney about firing an employee. The lawyer said it was well within the school board’s power.

When it blew up in my friend’s face the lawyer said he never gave that advice at all.

Result, now the lone conservative on the board looked like a fool.

My friend and I ran into another school board member in the town next door who had the same thing happen to him, same law firm, same lawyer.

NHMA “free legal” advice is like the cheese in a rat trap – always there, always free.