Right To Know Everything In Salem

We have us a god old fashioned Right to Know issue in Salem. The secret meeting kind. They call the secret meetings executive sessions, non-public meetings, behind closed doors meetings, etc. But what would normaly be public discussions involved in any municipal action have to be exempt. Only in talking about specific personnel, litigation, competitive bidding, or similar issues can a board keep the public out of its meeting or minutes thereof.

And there is the problem.

One Salem Selectman, Steven Campbell, has a facebook page and expresses opinions on it: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.campbell.391. You can read the link but I don’t do social media stuff. So I won’t. Good for him in any case.

The other selectmen in Salem claim in a Manchester paper article: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150227/NEWS0606/150229286, that Selectman Campbell is releasing privileged, secret, non-public info from what I can discern is a personnel issue regarding the alleged suspension of the police chief back in September. That would be exempt from the Right to Know Law if the person in the personnel issue did not want it public. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-VI-91-A.htm.

None of this is clarified in the story in the Manchester paper so we need to add some facts and some inside info for the public to follow along OR even look up the info on their own.

Selectman Campbell says he has nothing in his social media page that was not already in the public domain. I am thinking he is correct or the other four selectmen would have moved on him already and asked for a resignation.

One has to remember that these so-called non-public minutes usually consist of the most vague, undecipherable, extremely brief snippet of what might have happened. This makes charging someone of revealing what is in them quite difficult.

Here is what I think might be going on.

I received a tip a week ago about the four selectmen involved with this non-public meeting flap buying some fliers to support a $23 million dollar safety complex. Selectman Campbell is not in favor of this example of what is the most recent trend in municipal boondoggles – safety complexes.

When a quorum of selectmen buys fliers, in private, to support a public project they can only have done so in violation of The Right to Know Law. They had to meet to do it. No way around that fact. Maybe they should be researching the Salem Selectman’s Meeting Minutes to find that vote.

I know one thing.

If you are a slippery selectman or in a quorum of slippery selectmen who are violating RSA 91-A and are caught by your own sneaky deeds it is best to divert attention to another selectman.

Maybe that is what is going on.