I have quite a collection of the emails that went from Jason Guerrette to the people responsible for putting the Litchfield School Default Budget together. I think his lawful request for documentation of the default Budget is quite simple and legal.
Take a look:
Jason Guerrette <--------@gmail.com> Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 7:57 AM
To: email@example.com, Frank Markiewicz <fMarkiewicz@litchfieldsd.org>, Brian Cochrane
Normally there is a spreadsheet created showing how the default budget was derived. It has the items
which either contributed to increases or decreases listed. May I please have a copy?
And the requests go on 18 or more times from January 13th asking for the public document.
So here we are months later exactly where the school superintendent wanted to be, with no documents getting to the school clerk.
Make no mistake. The Litchfield School Superintendent is who wanted this standoff or else Frank Markiewicz of the Litchfiled School District Business & Finance Department (603) 578-3570 x3340 doesn’t answer to anyone else.
It seems when an elected official, the Litchfield School District Clerk, charged with signing “true records” of documents, RSA 197:20, for the annual meeting asks for a public document, somebody is responsible.
Who might that be?
I see the NH AG is involved now that the law firm Litchfield pays with tax dollars has asked for an opinion. Funny anyone would ask them about school clerks.
The Coalition of NH Taxpayers once asked the NH AG about the Bedford School District Clerk setting up an illegal polling place at the Bedford Town Dump at a card table full of absentee ballots and a sign saying “vote here today.” Their response was that it was “highly irregular but not illegal” even though the statute regarding the school clerk and absente ballots, RSA 671:21, says:
III. Each town clerk shall make facilities in the town clerk's office available for the school district clerk to perform school district functions in connection with absentee voting. It shall be the duty of the school district clerk to post a notice at the school district clerk's office informing voters that all absentee voting procedures for school district elections shall be handled only through the town clerk's office. (NOT at the DUMP.)
The NH AG’s Office saw no problem with a card table at the dump violating that law and about a half dozen others. Now they weigh in on this issue with no regard for the people who denied the elected School District Clerk public documents? That is par for the course.
What is at stake here, and the school law firm knows it quite well, is that a brave clerk has found a LEGAL loophole big enough to swallow the sneaky way default budgets are padded by school superintendents.
Suggestions for Litchfield:
1. Fire that law firm and get a real one that doesn’t twist every bit of legalese into something favorable for the tax and spend crowd.
2. NEVER ask the NH AG for any advice on anything unless it is in writing, and signed.
3. Time for a new superintendent after dismissing this guy for failure to perform in the interest of the school district and not to hide behind the business administrator.
4. Stop padding the default budget.
Do it for the children.