Dedicated to Restoring & Maintaining Integrity in Goffstown Government

Selectmen ignore outrage over right-to-know issue
Despite assurances, no reconsideration forthcoming
December 12, 2006

GOFFSTOWN -  Amidst recent widespread publicity and local outrage over the Goffstown Board of Selectmen (BOS)'s decision last week to ignore requests for the recording of individual member votes in meeting minutes taken during board meetings, the board last night completely avoided the issue and, despite assurances to the contrary, failed to reconsider a motion made the previous week by selectman Nick Campasano.

Campasano's motion to augment BOS meeting minutes to include the names of individual selectmen, made on behalf of a local resident and seconded by selectman John Caprio, failed by a 3-2 margin, as selectmen Phil D'Avanza, Barbara Griffin and Bruce Hunter voted against.

D'Avanza stated during last week's meeting (and was also quoted in a New Hampshire Sunday News interview as stating) that no other board or committee in Goffstown records individual member votes in its minutes.

Really, Phil?  As it happens, both the planning board and the school board record member votes. 

D'Avanza also stated, when interviewed by the Manchester Union Leader, that recording individual votes would undermined the ability of individual members to represent the opinion of the board to other groups in town. "You function as a board, not as individuals," he is quoted as saying.  

Hmmm ..."not as individuals"...  Fortunately for Goffstown's voters, Phil, you are elected as an individual.  See you in March of '08...

As for Bruce Hunter's reason to oppose the motion?  This one speaks for itself: we quote Mr. Hunter from the BOS meeting of December 4th:  "It's never been done."  

We're sure this sounds very familiar to those survivors of the days of the "Good Old Boys" network...

And Barbara Griffin's defense of her opposition to Campasano's motion amounted to the same: a combination of D'Avanza and Hunter's positions.

Motion to reconsider?

According to reliable GRA sources, selectman Hunter had stated, subsequent to last week's meeting, his intention to put forth a motion last night to reconsider the board's decision.  Such a motion - one to reconsider a previously passed motion - can only be made by board members who originally voted on the majority side.  As such, only D'Avanza, Griffin or Hunter could do so in this case, as all three originally voted against Campasano and Caprio last week. 

Hunter, however, despite personal assurances to his constituents to the contrary, remained silent on the issue throughout last night's meeting, and ultimately no motion for reconsideration was forthcoming.  And, of course (and as expected), none was made by Griffin or D'Avanza either.  

Their mindset, it appears, is that the entire issue will simply "go away" if ignored for long enough.

Public opinion united

In the days following the board's vote last week to continue its practice of suppressing the public's right to know, the GRA interviewed numerous state and local officials, including several members of the New Hampshire state legislature, current Goffstown public and elected officials, as well as prominent local residents.

The consensus among every one of them was unanimous:  the continued suppression of the board's accountability and the public's right-to-know is absolutely inexcusable and unacceptable

You can help

As a result of last night's inaction by the board of selectmen, the Goffstown Residents Association is today initiating an effort to work with our representatives in the state legislature to amend New Hampshire's Right-To-Know law so as to mandate the recording of individual member votes in all local government entities such as our own board of selectmen. 

You can - and do - make a difference!  Contact D'Avanza, Griffin and Hunter directly and make your position known:

Philip D'Avanza: Term expires in 2008
     7 Orchard Street, Manchester, NH 03102 
     Phone: (603) 668-2256
Barbara J. GriffinChairperson, up for re-election in March 2007
     84 Merrill Road, Goffstown, NH 03045
     Phone: (603) 497-8286    
Bruce F. HunterVice-chairperson, Up for re-election in March 2007
     23 Channel Lane, Goffstown, NH 03045-5265
     Phone: (603) 622-7123  

Further, we urge you to contact all of your elected representatives in this matter.  Help us work towards amending New Hampshire's Right-To-Know law to mandate the recording of individual member votes in all local government entities.  Click here for contact information on elected officials representing YOU




Griffin, D'Avanza and Hunter vote against public's right-to-know

New Hampshire Sunday News article on selectmen's blocking of our right-to-know

New Hampshire RSA 91-A:2





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