30 August 2007

KingCast says you hear the most interesting things down at the Franconia Village Store about Bruce McKay and his would-be termination.

A lil' birdy (and not the woman in this picture, BTW) told me that many years ago, when McKay had been in Franconia for a year or two under Chief Montminy, that the former Chief was overheard at the store discussing with several people about how it may be possible to get rid of McKay and that the town SHOULD have dumped him way back in the day.

But as usual, the system failed him just as surely as it failed Liko, and now both of them have left our physical midst.

From The Motion: In Union Leader v. City of Nashua the Court held: “To advance the purposes of the Right-to-Know Law, we construe provisions favoring disclosure broadly and exemptions narrowly. See, e.g., Fenniman, 136 N.H. at 626, 620 A.2d at 1040; Herron v. Northwood, 111 N.H. 324, 326, 282 A.2d 661, 663 (1971). The balancing test in this case between the public’s Right-to-Know and the nature of the requested document or material and its relationship to the basic purpose of the Right-to-Know Law:
In this case the purpose of the Right-to-Know law is to determine whether a man paid with taxpayer monies who carriers a gun and who wears a badge was a dangerous instrumentality, and if so, whether the town of Franconia knew about it and what steps they took or failed to take to address it.



Anonymous said...

bumper sticker in front of me in the drive-thru today:

..serving and protecting Massachusetts

really? and Liko, too?!

Christopher King said...

Sometimes you've just gotta' sue 'em:

Telegraph editorial 4 Feb. 2007:

"Has the United States reached such a point of political correctness and potential lawsuit aversion that we are willing to give up essential liberties for the sake of avoiding uncomfortable debate?

Apparently so in Nashua, a least until the threat of a real lawsuit looms.

Nashua Board of Education members unanimously voted last Monday to eliminate a year-old restriction on public comments at their meetings. The limits, both vague and potentially unconstitutional, prohibited citizens from discussing “administrative and personnel-related problems.”

In any public or private enterprise “administrative and personnel-related” issues cover a great deal of territory. Interpreted broadly, the policy could have been used to shut out public comment on almost any issue brought before the school board.

The rule went largely unnoticed until October 2006 when Paula Johnson, a former alderman, was told she could not speak about Superintendent Julia Earl, who was, and still is, on paid leave.

Two more months passed before Nashua resident Chris King again attempted to speak about Earl during a December meeting. When he was told to stop, King’s response was a pledge to get the policy revoked.

The school board began an internal review of the rule, but received vastly differing opinions from city and outside attorneys, and appeared themselves to be split on the issue.

To justify the policy, several board members cited the potential for defamatory speech by members of the public targeted at school employees.

While anything is possible, it is a thin excuse and a legal leap of faith to assume the school board could be held liable for such behavior. Nonetheless, several of the board’s lawyers backed up this contention.

So King, who has practiced as a lawyer in Ohio, threatened his own lawsuit against the board and came within hours of filing the paperwork. The suit was avoided when the board called a policy committee meeting, leading to the vote last week to change the rule.

The about-face on the part of the school board is to be praised as a common sense decision. However, more praise would be due if the change had not been due largely to outside pressure and the threat of a lawsuit.

The school board, and its attorneys, would be well served to remember who the public in “public comment” is: their employers, the taxpayers.

The school board has done the right thing, but the impression we are left with is that many members did it grudgingly. The board needs to change its thinking and reframe its approach when dealing with the public.

Yes, there should be rules enforced to maintain a civil and productive public debate during governmental meetings.

However, there is no excuse for imposing rules out of fear at the expense of an open and public discussion of the issues.


BACKGROUND: The Nashua Board of Education, under threat of a lawsuit, has reversed its previous policy of not allowing members of the public to comment on school personnel during the public comment section of its meetings.

CONCLUSION: The school board has done the right thing and this should be a first step in reframing how the board deals with the public.

ArgusWest said...

..serving and protecting Massachusetts


Whos there for us???