Ed Naile, CNHT

Hear Ed Naile every Wednesday morning on WLMW 90.7 FM on the Girard at Large radio show or listen to the archives at Voter Fraud Radio

Blame The Taxpayer Group Not The Professionals

Kudos to the activists of the mighty Monadnock School Taxpayers Association who have been digging into and not letting go of the salary padding scheme at that school.

In an effort to inflate retirement benefits of Monadnock Regional School District employees, the financial gurus at the school put health care payments into the payroll mix which pumped up the final year salary figures for 38 present and past employees. This would allow these few to get a larger retirement payment than their salary would legally allow under state laws.

Put simply, only payroll and any other payments to employees which are included in income taxable by the IRS can be used for retirement calculations.

I don’t blame any school employees that took the offer from higher-ups in the education industry but they were misled. The report from the N.H. Retirement System Hearings Examiner Carolyn F. Johnson couldn’t be more clear and in line with the wording in the statutes.

This all began, as far as we at CNHT know, about a year and a half ago when Dick Bauries and Dan Connell of the Monadnock School Taxpayers Association asked me if I would go with them to a scheduled meeting they set up with the NH Retirement Board in Concord. There was not much in the way of contact with MSTA after that because they kept monitoring meetings on their own.

Now this hits the fan. Other schools and towns may be doing the same thing, which is putting great stress on the already beleaguered retirement system.

We also have some sealed minutes of meetings from the issue in the hands of the school district which we might have to drag out of them through the 91-A process. We’ll see.

On April 12, the Keene Sentinel had a very large and detailed set of stories about this issue on the front page. The reporter, Anika Clark, did a great job of detailing amounts, dates, and statutes. Let’s hope she can stay with this story and follow up.

As could be expected, a quote from a public education expert working at the school, who’s income was inflated in this scheme, falls back on this old excuse, “The devil made me do it.”

Here is the quote from the Keene sentinel story:

"Unfortunately, the heavy involvement of the Monadnock Taxpayer Association ... made it impossible to give me a salary increase because the budget would never pass," he wrote. "Since I was within two years of retirement, the decision was reached to at least reflect the salary I should have received by paying my health insurance."

Thus whines Mr. Biron who was Unit 38's business manager from 2000-06.

Blame the taxpayer group? OK!!!

As long as we take into consideration that the finance team experts at Monadnock ‘lost a decimal point” in the 2000-2001 budget which ran the school $994,000.00 in debt. They “found” a way to cut the budget by this $994,000.00 without a special meeting to cover their mistake. ?????????

Oh, and since 1998 and the last year reported, 2006-07, the number of students in Monadnock has dropped by 453.

Somehow I don’t think this is all the fault of the Monadnock School Taxpayers.


Warrantless Articles And Pesky Pledges

I have been trying, ever since this liberal pro-tax group led by former State Senator Mark Fernald popped out of obscurity with some silly anti-taxpayer pledge warrant article about tax “fairness,” to get my fellow small government comrades to ignore the guy.

This pro-tax activist attempt to get voters who hang around for the very last moments of a town meeting, to vote for a sneaky warrant article that whispers fairness but shouts broad based taxes was not worth any of our NH taxpayer activist efforts during the busy town meeting season, especially in the middle of the largest tax revolt NH has ever seen.

It was hard to get the, “forget those guys,” message through to everyone with all the viewspapers printing story, after press release, after voting results, for way longer than the stunt had legs.

But now Governor Lynch has made my case for me.

Remember that little old Coalition of NH Taxpayers TAXPAYER PROTECTION PLEDGE the Governor signed?

Apparently he means it, so all the warrant articles passed by eight or so percent of the voters in town means even less than it normally would if the guy at the top promises to veto any broad based tax that crosses his desk.

I’m not suggesting that the Democrats who make up the State Legislature shouldn’t just go ahead and pass a broad based tax and have a roll call vote, no go ahead and do that – please.


The Windsor Way

On April Fools Day, how appropriate, the tiny Town of Windsor had a certified letter sent to its humble headquarters from our New Hampshire Department of Revenue. The letter was the first of its kind ever we here at The Coalition of NH Taxpayers know of.

It stated that since 1986 the state has been trying to get a simple message through to Windsor elected officials that the statutes regarding incompatible offices, financial reports, taxation, liens on delinquent property, and a host of other things municipal, really, really, really are the law. Slow learners they are up in Windsor. The DRA turned-up-the-heat-by-letter on Windsor in 2002 – 2007 to no avail.

Now, grudgingly, the Selectmen and their finance team must cobble together some sort of contract from a recognized, professional auditing firm and have that contract to the DRA before April 30, 2008.

This might bring closure to the “Windsor Way” of doing things – unless. Get this.

We at CNHT have found out that the town counsel for Windsor is a feisty little fellow from the Upton and Hatfield law firm named Paul Apple.

Our CNHT trained pro se taxpayers have defeated Mr. Paul Apple twice already in Hillsborough Superior Court. The last (hopefully) time this apple was polished, the local team won court costs, which the judge granted right in the courtroom. Winning court costs is like the scalping of your opponent in an Indian knife fight. It is hard to put a good spin on losing court costs to a home spun, pro se lawyer.

Speaking of scalping and native peoples, not many people know this but Attorney Paul Apple’s Indian name is “He who steps in it every time.”

So unless Attorney Apple can pull a rabbit out of a hat and find some technicality in the DRA letter like April 30, 2008 might mean April 30, 20000008, or the term “professional auditor” might mean “professional wrestler” as well, then Windsor may finally get down to putting quill to paper and turning over a set of books to the DRA. 22 years is enough time don’t you think?

The sad part about this is the fact that Attorney Apple works FOR THE TOWN OF WINDSOR not just the Selectmen and retired Tax Collector.

Much of this mess could have been avoided, it appears, if there was a less combative attitude from the tiny people in the tiny town hall.


Merrimack Stuck Their Neck Out And Now They Have A Hickey On It

A few years back the Town of Merrimack fell victim to the glittering dream that a Town Charter form of government under RSA 49 was the answer to their overspending woes. With one simple vote they gave away what little financial control they had of that town.

Like fools they hired a former Bedford Town Manager, Keith Hickey, to do a professional job of running the town - along with the supervision of the new Town Council. Smart people – professionals, no more of this sporadic taxpayer revolt stuff in Merrimack. Now we will see what a professional team of municipal experts can do with a budget, forget all that voter participation nonsense with those unanticipated swings in revenue, stopping the “forward progress” of the community.

Did you catch the $1.1 million dollar mistake they just “found” in the new set of professional books “His Highness Hickey” drafted in the fall of 2006? Remember, they hired this character in the spring of 2006. It was supposed to be peaches and ice cream, dandy lions and gumdrops for all.

Well it’s the old “we put the million dollars in the wrong place” story we hear from so many experts in schools and towns all over NH.

But you know what is so enlightening about these mishap stories? The town officials are always afforded the great big benefit of the doubt for a million dollar mistake. On the other hand, let a taxpayer group, or any citizen for that matter, suggest cutting a budget and blood shoots from the eyes of the municipalitarians in charge. How ever will they exist without exactly what the say they want?

Not to worry though. After every professional million dollar mistake, the experts will always find a way to work the mistake into the existing budget without an embarrassing special town meeting where some answers and sweat can be wrung from anyone in charge.

Taxpayers pare a few thousand from a million dollar budget by cutting the left-over funds from the previous year and mayhem breaks out.

Town managers misplace a few million, or don’t produce state mandated financial reports, hide excess funds, pad employees pay, put thousand dollar cherry floors in their office, and the local papers find it slightly interesting.

From now until the end of the fiscal year Merrimack will only be able to pay for emergency expenditures and contractual obligations, according to Town Manager Hickey.

And exactly how is this different than a taxpayer budget cut at one of the past, traditional town meetings – other than having a high priced team of financial experts spewing out excuses?

This is the stuff taxpayer revolts are made of.


Keep The Pulitzer, How About Some News

Its Pulitzer Prize time! I love this time of year. It reminds me of when I first figured out how phony the media is.

Set your Way Back Machine for 1980 and our then hero, Janet Cooke, fabricator of a story about an 8 year old heroine addict. She won/earned/acquired/somehow wound up with, a Pulitzer Prize for that concoction. Good for her!

And then, as quickly as it appeared on the scene, the politically correct story began to show signs of leakage – like an extra large soft ice cream cone on an August day, the buyers couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.

The phony Pulitzer Prize winning story of the 8 year old heroine addict was breaking down on the regular news sources, which were limited in those days. So like any “intelligent” person I turned to PBS and the The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.

On this high-brow, above the fray, independent, news show I was about to find out how news is really reported – or not.

The guests were talking about the fabricated story and how everyone was tricked into believing Mr. Cooke had a real college degree or if that was a fake as well – it was. How could so many super-smart media professionals become so tangled up in this?

After the story broke, one News Hour guest, by phone, was a gentleman who was on the Pulitzer Prize Committee, the people who pick the winner from the list assembled through nominations. The deal is, you get nominated then, they, the committee, picks from that list and there are your winners. It sounds pretty simple.

Every time Lehrer or MacNeil went to this particular committee member he would ask the same question: “How did Mrs. Cooke win a Pulitzer in the first place, because she wasn’t on the list?”

“Back to you Jim,” “Back to you Bob,” “No back to you Jim,” and so it went.

As each person was asked about how this made-up story could have gotten so far without being discovered, the Pulitzer Prize Committee member would ask again: “How does one win the prize if your name wasn’t on the list?”

I thought that simple question might be an interesting, newsy, tidbit for the MacNeil/Leherer “news team” to explore but they repeatedly just passed the guy off and went to another guest. What, no who, what, where and why, follow-up questions? Wouldn’t a question like that get to the heart of the matter?

Never again did I trust those two solemn, studied, award encrusted posers. They were and are, in my opinion, no better than Janet Cooke.