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Entries in Durham (25)

Saturday
Jun292013

Motion to Intervene Filed by Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem in LGC v. Bureau of Security Regulation Case Denied by NH Supreme Court

6/28/13

On Friday of this week, the towns of Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem learned that the NH Supreme Court had denied their motion to intervene relative to the Local Government Center (LGC) V. NH Bureau of Securities Regulation case.  The Supreme Court also denied their motion to stay. 

It is believed the Supreme Court felt the aggrieved towns had alternative remedies, namely action in Superior Court. This was in fact argued by the Bureau of Securities Regulation in its brief to the court regarding the towns' complaint.  

Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig states, "This circumstance was envisioned by us as a possibility from the start and with the decision by the Supreme Court now in hand, Durham, Salem, Peterborough, and Northfield, on behalf of a larger coalition of similarly situated aggrieved communities, are actively evaluating a Superior Court action that would include a request for injunctive relief."  The City of Concord is also evaluating similar action.

"With respect, we’re disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision,  but view it as representing a clear directive to proceed to Superior Court if we desire to argue our case on behalf of local taxpayers," states Selig. 

In terms of the history regarding this issue, the towns of Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem, on behalf of a coalition of fourteen municipalities (Auburn, Bennington, Canaan, Durham, Greenfield, Henniker, Lyndeborough, Meredith, Northfield, Peterborough, Plainfield, Raymond, Salem and Temple), filed a complaint with the NH Bureau of Securities Regulation in December 2012 regarding the return of surplus methodology adopted by the Local Government Center.  

The Bureau of Securities Regulation (BSR) found wrongdoing in the management of the Local Government Center’s risk pools. It ordered millions of dollars held by the Local Government Center (LGC) to be returned to current members of the pools.

Selig states, "The BSR, however, did not distinguish among members. Some joined the risk pools early or late, some left early or late, and some joined, left, and later rejoined. By ordering the money returned to current members, it created windfalls for some, but inadequate recompense for others. That is, some members will receive an arbitrarily larger share than their contribution, and some an arbitrarily smaller share.  This situation is inherently inequitable as contributions made to the LGC by the aggrieved towns, contributions which were later found by the BSR to be in excess of that required for insurance purposes and illegally withheld by the LGC, will in effect be returned to other communities." 

To fix this, the four towns petitioned the NH Supreme Court in January of this year to allow them to intervene, and to address the hearings officer’s failure to fashion a remedy that will allow refunds in proportion to members’ contributions. Due to the dates they joined and left, these four towns – Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem – believe they represent all members whose share of the refund will be inadequate compared to the share of the money they contributed.

The Local Government Center notified members during the week of June 19, 2013 that, "barring legal intervention," the organization plans to distribute funds in a manner that would specifically exclude Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, Salem, and numerous other political subdivisions across the state in similar situations, from their proportional share of the return of surplus. 

This is inherently unfair to the local taxpayers of Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, Salem, and numerous other political subdivisions across the state. 

The towns seek an equitable approach to distributing the surplus generally requiring the LGC to calculate the amount of surplus that accrued each year from the year that the LGC first unlawfully retained excess surplus, and to allocate the surplus proportionally amongst the members of the Trusts by year.

"Such an annual, proportional remedy calculation could be easily applied and would be equitable.  In short, it would be fair," according to Selig.  

--

 

LGC Case Background & Details on Coalition of Communities' Petition to NH Supreme Court

In the Order dated August 16, 2012, State of NH hearings officer Donald Mitchell found that the Local Government Center (LGC) had engaged in actions or inactions that resulted in multiple violations of RSA 5-B. 

These statutory violations, which commenced in 2003 and continued through 2010, were attributable to, amongst other things, a failure by LGC to distribute to Trust members on an annual basis excess earnings and surplus, improper transfers of monies from the Health Care Trust and Property Liability Trust to the Workers Compensation Trust, and a transfer of the Health Care Trust’s and Property Liability Trust’s respective interests in real estate to the Local Government Center Real Estate Inc. without consideration.

In sum, the Order found that but for these illegal actions, there would have been additional excess earning and surplus that would be available to return to LCG members on an annual basis – members such as Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem.

--

 

The Order: What The LGC Has To Pay Back

$33.2 million from HealthTrust

$17.1 million the Property-Liability pool siphoned from HealthTrust

$3.1 million from Property-Liability for communities that joined after June 14, 2010

Total: $53.4 million

 --

Subsequent to the filing with the BSR, the Bureau of Securities Regulation’s outside counsel, Andru Volinsky told Annmarie Timmins of the Concord Monitor, “The bureau will need to look at this…There is nothing in the law that says you have to be a member to get your surplus back.”

To date, the Towns have received no formal response from the BSR.

Friday
Jan182013

Coalition of NH Municipalities File Motion to Intervene on LGC Supreme Court Appeal

Towns of Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem NH

 

Coalition of Municipalities File Motion to Intervene with NH Supreme Court on Appeal of the Local Government Center, Inc. (LGC) CASE No. 2012-0729

Allege LGC Discriminatory Business Practices in Return of Ordered Surplus Funds

1/17/13

The Towns of Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem, NH, on behalf of a coalition of fourteen municipalities (Auburn, Bennington, Canaan, Durham, Greenfield, Henniker, Lyndeborough, Meredith, Northfield, Peterborough, Plainfield, Raymond, Salem and Temple), today have filed a motion to intervene in the Appeal of the Local Government Center, Inc. v. NH Bureau of Securities Regulation case presently before the NH Supreme Court. 

The action marks an unfortunate turn of events in which municipal taxpayer funds are now being diverted to litigate the very organization charged with representing the interests of towns and cities across NH, as well as the public agency charged with regulating it.

The Bureau of Securities Regulation (BSR) found wrongdoing in the management of the Local Government Center’s risk pools. It ordered millions of dollars held by the Local Government Center (LGC) to be returned to current members of the pools.

Durham Administrator Todd Selig states, “The BSR, however, did not distinguish among members. Some joined the risk pools early or late, some left early or late, and some joined, left, and later rejoined. By ordering the money returned to current members, it created windfalls for some, but inadequate recompense for others. That is, some members will receive an arbitrarily larger share than their contribution, and some an arbitrarily smaller share.”

To fix this, the four towns have petitioned the NH Supreme Court to allow them to intervene, and to address the hearings officer’s failure to fashion a remedy that will allow refunds in proportion to members’ contributions. Due to the dates they joined and left, these four – Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem – believe they represent all members whose share of the refund will be inadequate compared to the share of the money they contributed.

LGC Case Background & Details on Coalition of Communities' Petition to NH Supreme Court

In the Order dated August 16, 2012, State of NH hearings officer Donald Mitchell found that the Local Government Center (LGC) had engaged in actions or inactions that resulted in multiple violations of RSA 5-B. 

These statutory violations, which commenced in 2003 and continued through 2010, were attributable to, amongst other things, a failure by LGC to distribute to Trust members on an annual basis excess earnings and surplus, improper transfers of monies from the Health Care Trust and Property Liability Trust to the Workers Compensation Trust, and a transfer of the Health Care Trust’s and Property Liability Trust’s respective interests in real estate to the Local Government Center Real Estate Inc. without consideration.

Salem Town Manager Keith Hickey states, “In sum, the Order found that but for these illegal actions, there would have been additional excess earning and surplus that would be available to return to LCG members on an annual basis – members such as Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem.”

The Order: What The LGC Has To Pay Back

$33.2 million from HealthTrust

$17.1 million the Property-Liability pool siphoned from HealthTrust

$3.1 million from Property-Liability for communities that joined after June 14, 2010

Total: $53.4 million

 

As no agreement was presented to the hearings officer within 30 days of the Order as required, the LGC proposes to issue refunds to those who were members of its Health and Property Liability Trusts as of 8/16/12, the date of the Order. 

Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem contend that such a refund would not meet the standard articulated in the Order that refunds shall be “in proportion to each member’s contributions to that standing amount of earnings and surplus.” 

Durham Administrator Todd Selig states, “The return of tens of millions of dollars by the LGC to its members of the Health Trust and Property-Liability Trust programs is mandated by the hearing officer’s order to be in proportion to each member’s contributions.  Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, Salem and other political subdivisions contributed to the surplus with taxpayer funds.  Those funds should therefore be returned.  It is an issue of basic fairness and equity -- no more, no less.”

Durham, Peterborough, Salem and many other political subdivisions would have been able to recoup a refund had its operative date been June 14, 2010 – the date set by the Order if the BSR and LGC reached an agreement.

Northfield and many other political subdivisions who left the LGC prior to June 14, 2010 would have been able to recoup a refund had the remedy required a re-calculation of surplus on an annual basis, with the surplus distributed annually, based on annual membership rolls and the premiums paid by members and former members each year.

The NH Supreme Court has equity jurisdiction to fashion a refund remedy that is in proportion to each member’s contributions to that standing amount of earnings and surplus.

Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem and scores of other political subdivisions across NH contributed to the creation of the illegal LGC surplus, but per the terms of the Order and the position taken by the LGC, they are not eligible to participate in the distribution of surplus because they terminated their Trust membership prior to 8/16/12. 

Northfield Town Administrator Glenn Smith states, “The municipalities have requested the NH Supreme Court to determine an equitable approach to distributing the surplus generally requiring the LGC to calculate the amount of surplus that accrued each year from the year that the LGC first unlawfully retained excess surplus, and to allocate the surplus proportionally amongst the members of the Trusts by year.” 

“Such an annual, proportional remedy calculation could be applied and would be equitable,” states Town Manager Hickey.

Peterborough Town Administrator Pam Brenner states, “The information provided by the LGC in response to Durham, Peterborough, and Salem’s RSA 91-A request reveals that in any given year, the membership of the Trusts changed.  Awarding the refund based on the August 16, 2012 Order date does not capture accurately the amounts that Trust members contributed to the Trusts over the time that the surplus accrued.”

Selig states, “Public employees paid a significant portion of the health care premiums, and presumptively they will receive from their employers a corresponding portion of any health care surplus refund payment.  The existence of such public employee health care premium contributions underscores the importance of achieving an accurate and equitable distribution of any Trust surplus.  Only the NH Supreme Court can remedy the inherently inequitable situation at this juncture.”

Durham, Northfield, Peterborough, and Salem, as Intervenors, have requested of the NH Supreme Court that their Motion be granted, and that they be allowed to brief before the NH Supreme Court two issues:

1.  Whether the hearings officer erred in failing to fashion a remedy that will allow that refunds shall be in proportion to each member’s and former member’s contributions to that standing surplus amount and earnings?

2.  Whether the NH Supreme Court should exercise its equitable powers to fashion a remedy that the calculation and refund of any surplus shall be in proportion to each member’s or former member’s annual contribution to said illegal surplus, or such other equitable remedy as the Court shall see fit?

In December 2012, the towns of Auburn, Bennington, Canaan, Durham, Greenfield, Henniker, Lyndeborough, Meredith, Northfield, Peterborough, Plainfield, Raymond, Salem and Temple filed a formal complaint regarding LGC discriminatory business practices with the NH Bureau of Securities Regulation.

Subsequent to the filing with the BSR, the Bureau of Securities Regulation’s outside counsel, Andru Volinsky told Annmarie Timmins of the Concord Monitor, “The bureau will need to look at this…There is nothing in the law that says you have to be a member to get your surplus back.”

Town Administrator Pam Brenner states, “To date, the Towns have received no formal response from the BSR.”

The motion to intervene filed by Concord Appeals Attorney Joshua L. Gordon may be found on line at http://appealslawyer.net/do/briefs/Petition_to_Intervene_w_appx.pdf

Monday
Dec102012

Twelve Municipalities File Formal Complaint with NH Bureau of Securities Regulation Citing Discriminatory Local Government Center (LGC) Business Practices 

Towns of Durham and Peterborough, NH

PRESS RELEASES

Twelve Municipalities File Formal Complaint with NH Bureau of Securities Regulation Citing

Discriminatory Local Government Center (LGC) Business Practices

12/10/12

 

Dissatisfaction with the New Hampshire Local Government Center’s proposal to “refund” more than $52 million in surplus funds that the NH Bureau of Securities Regulations hearings officer has ordered to be returned to NH municipalities and school districts has prompted a dozen municipalities to file a formal complaint with the NH Bureau of Securities Regulation.

The towns of Peterborough and Durham, along with ten other municipalities (Auburn, Bennington, Canaan, Greenfield, Henniker, Lyndeborough, Northfield, Plainfield, Raymond and Temple), have written a December 7, 2012 letter to Director Glennon of the NH Bureau of Securities pointing out that the LGC’s proposed refund through the issuance of future insurance premium “holidays” to current LGC members will not include those municipalities and school districts that contributed to the creation of the surplus funds, but that have recently left the LGC and taken their insurance business elsewhere.

Peterborough Town Administrator Pam Brenner and Durham Administrator Todd Selig state that the letter to the Bureau of Securities Regulation calls attention to the discriminatory effect of the LGC’s proposed refund that fails to return cash to the former LGC members.  Ms. Brenner and Mr. Selig indicate that there are at least 20 NH municipalities and school districts that are in the same position as Peterborough and Durham: they were members of the LGC when the illegal surpluses were allowed to accumulate, but the reimbursement of a pro rata share of the surplus funds to these former LGC members is not being proposed by the LGC.  This is patently unfair to local taxpayers from these communities whose annual insurance premiums to the LGC were utilized to amass significant illegal reserves by the organization, one of the largest public risk pools in the nation.

The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office, through the Bureau of Securities Regulation, argued LGC practices were illegal.  They contended that the LGC was amassing money by overcharging cities, towns, and school districts for health insurance and not returning enough surplus to member communities. Hearing officer Donald Mitchell agreed.  In August 2012, he ordered the LGC to return more than $52 million to communities

The Order: What The LGC Has To Pay Back

$33.2 million from HealthTrust

$17.1 million the Property-Liability pool siphoned from HealthTrust

$3.1 million from Property-Liability for communities that joined after June 14, 2010

Total: $53.4 million

 

Selig, Brenner, and the other municipalities find the notion that communities, and more specifically local taxpayers, cannot receive a refund in cash and that entities have to be a continuing customer of the LGC organization to participate in the surplus refund to be an incredible and outrageous position.  It is patently unfair to local taxpayers.

The municipalities have called upon Director Glennon and the Bureau to investigate this discriminatory refund proposal.  Ms. Brenner and Mr. Selig state that it is common sense that since the LGC had an obligation to perform an audit and an actuarial analysis of the insurance programs, and then refund any surplus funds on an annual basis, the refund of funds should be calculated on an annual basis and credited to the members of these insurance program on an annual basis.  The refund process must both be fair and transparent.  Municipalities, school districts, and their employees were contributors to these insurance programs on an annual basis.  The premiums were calculated on an annual basis, and the contributions to pay for the premiums were made on an annual basis.  Each year, the identity of those municipalities and school districts that were members of the insurance programs changed. 

These municipalities believe that after all of the problems with LGC programs that have been identified by the BSR, is it asking too much to have a plan to refund the surplus to the taxpayers of members communities, by year of participation, in cash?  Is it asking too much to get the refund right so that taxpayers of communities that contributed to the illegal LGC surplus receive their fair share of the ordered refund?

Peterborough, Durham, and the other affected communities await a prompt response from the Bureau of Securities Regulation and the LGC on this important fairness issue.

Wednesday
Nov072012

Durham Presidential Election Results - 11/6/12 | Durham Shatters Its Own Record for Same Day Registrations (over 3,000 registrations in 12 hrs)

A thank you is extended to Town Moderator Chris Regan, Town Clerk/Tax Collector Lorrie Pitt, Supervisor Chairperson Ann Shump, Supervisor Judy Aikens, Supervisor Roni Pekins, and to the many, many other faithful volunteer election workers and officials who pulled together to make today’s Presidential election in Durham success. In total, 7,387 ballots (unofficial) were cast over the course of the day today at the Oyster River High School.  In 2008, a total of approximately 8,000 ballots were cast.

Durham shattered its own record for registering voters on Election Day. In all, 3,024 people registered just before casting their ballots - about 1,300 more than registered on the same day of the presidential election in 2008. To put this in perspective, during the 12 hours the polls were open on Tuesday, Durham added more new voters to its rolls than most New Hampshire towns and cities (two thirds of them) already had pre-registered before the election.  

  

The poll in Durham is the largest single polling location in Strafford County.  

 

Unofficial Durham election results follow (does not include write-ins which are not anticipated to materially alter the results):

 

FOR PRESIDENT

Mitt Romney - 2208

Gary Johnson - 102

Virgin Goode - 5

Barack Obama - 5026

 

FOR GOVERNOR

Ovide Lamontagne - 1855

John Babiarz - 267

Maggie Hassan - 4784

 

FOR REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS

Frank Guinta - 1950

Brendan Kelly - 335

Carol Shea-Porter - 4462

 

FOR EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

Michael Tierney - 1984

Colin Van Ostern - 4185

 

FOR STATE SENATOR

Peter Macdonald - 1812

Martha Fuller Clark - 4488

 

FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE

(vote for not more than 5)

David Childs - 1985

James Ziegra - 1805

Janet Wall - 5427

Philip Ginsburg - 3986

Timothy Horrigan - 3868

Marjorie Smith - 4006

Judith Spang - 3704

 

FOR SHERIFF

Joseph DiGregorio - 2034

David Dubois - 3829

 

FOR COUNTY ATTORNEY

Thomas Velardi - 5696

 

FOR COUNTY TREASURER

Pamela Arnold - 4381

 

FOR REGISTER OF DEEDS

Lynn Williams - 1606

Kevin McEneaney - 1023

Dennis Vachon - 3148

 

FOR REGISTER OF PROBATE

Patty Cole - 4187

 

FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

(vote for not more than 3)

Catherine Cheney - 1779

Mac Kittredge - 1608

Diane Wood - 1625

Leo Lessard - 3747

George Maglaras - 3589

Robert Watson - 3528

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT QUESTIONS:

1.  Income Tax Prohibited  Yes - 2888;   No – 3178

2.  Supreme Court Administration Yes - 2441; No – 3474

3.  Constitutional Convention Yes – 2266; No - 3723

 

Please have a good evening.

 

Todd

 

Todd I. Selig, Administrator

Town of Durham, New Hampshire

Thursday
Nov012012

Durham to Participate in Downeaster's Inaugural Run to Freeport/Brunswick Today

The first 250 riders on the Amtrak Downeaster’s inaugural trip from Boston to Freeport and Brunswick, ME will include Durham Town Manager Todd Selig, NH Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement, Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo, Amtrak Vice President Joe McHugh, among others. Regular service to Freeport and Brunswick begins Friday.

The expansion to Freeport, home to L.L. Bean's flagship store and outlet shopping, and to Brunswick, home of Bowdoin College and Brunswick Landing, fulfills the original vision for the passenger rail service, which launched between Portland and Boston on Dec. 15, 2001.

Selig stated, "The Downeaster is coming off a record year with 528,292 passengers, and ridership is expected to grow by an additional 36,000 passengers with the expanded service."

The service will open up new tourism opportunities as well as transportation options for Bowdoin students and faculty and for businesses at Brunswick Landing, the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

The Downeaster currently serves eight communities between Boston and Portland: Old Orchard Beach, Saco and Wells in Maine; Dover, Durham and Exeter in New Hampshire; and Haverhill and Woburn in Massachusetts.

The expansion was made possible through $38.3 million in Federal stimulus dollars, which was used to improve 30 miles of track and rehabilitate 36 crossings between Portland and Brunswick. The state of Maine also spent a half-million dollars to install train platforms in Freeport and Brunswick.

 

Selig states, “With more than 53,000 passengers annually from Durham and the University of New Hampshire alone, enhancing Amtrak Downeaster service is very consistent with Durham’s goals toward sustainability, reducing the community’s carbon footprint, and reducing unnecessary congestion on local and state roadways.” 

 

On September 21st, Administrator Selig met with Mr. William Hollister, Principal Officer of Government Affairs at Amtrak, as well as with Mr. Ray Lang, Chief of State Government Relations for Amtrak.  At thattime, Messrs Hollister and Lang were in the process of visiting with host station communities along the Amtrak Downeaster corridor to provide updates on rider statistics (Period FY 2011 10/1 – 9/30) for the service:

 

Station                                  Total Ridership

Portland                                208,979

Old Orchard Beach             14,533

Saco                                     47,920

Wells                                    52,728

Dover                                  59,091

Durham                               53,087

Exeter                                 90,968

Haverhill                               39,070

Woburn                                16,762

Boston-North                        456,198

 

Selig and NH Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement, both of whom are Durham residents, boarded the southbound Downeaster train at 6:28 AM to travel to Boston for the kickoff run this morning.