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|Editorials published by the Goffstown Residents Association are written by various members and contributing non-members of the GRA.|
Griffin needs to get a grip
|Back in March, selectman Barbara Griffin stood at the
podium during the Town Deliberative session and stated she was so upset
with the reaction of residents, she wished she could 'beam out' of the
room. A month later, during a meeting of the Board of Selectman (BOS),
she chastised fellow selectman Nicholas Campasano for breaking from past
tradition and voting against her nomination for chairman.
Now Griffin has wound herself up again. But before we go into details - and before you watch this video clip excerpt - a little background information is in order...
This past October, Goffstown residents were invited to attend a public meeting on 10/26 to discuss the transition to 24/7 fire and EMS coverage. Some of the people who attended that meeting were members of the Goffstown Residents Association (GRA).
Prior to that meeting, the GRA contacted Mr. Campasano and asked for his personal thoughts as to how 24/7 coverage might be achieved. Campasano was contacted not because he is a selectman, but rather because he is a Manchester, NH District Fire Chief, and has also conducted numerous EMT refresher courses as part of his duties in that position. In short, he has the professional experience and background to provide an informed, intelligent opinion.
Campasano relayed to us his belief that 24/7 coverage was not only easily attainable for Goffstown, but could also be accomplished at no additional cost to taxpayers. He further indicated that he had gone so far as to put together a sample plan on his idea, and when asked, happily provided a copy to us for consideration and review. He also indicated it was his intention to provide copies to members of the BOS as well, so as to provide just one example of how 24/7 might be achieved.
At the BOS meeting of October 30th, Campasano handed copies of his sample plan to chairman Griffin and the other board members. But Griffin deferred review and discussion on it until the following week's meeting on November 6th, citing time constraints.
Impressed with what we read, the GRA published Campasano's plan on its website on November 1st. The article opened by stating that Campasano "...will soon be submitting a sample solution to establishing 24/7 fire and EMS service for the citizens of Goffstown."
Actually, Campasano had already submitted his sample solution to the BOS members on October 30th, but Griffin had deferred discussion on it until November 6th.
BOS Meeting of November 6th:
At the November 6th meeting of the BOS, Griffin reached Item 5 in the selectmen's packet: Campasano's idea submitted the week before on solving the 24/7 issue. Griffin began by asking Campasano what his handout was and what it was in response to.
Campasano's reply was that the handout was, "Just an example to show that it's (24/7 coverage) within the realm of possibility and not a difficult undertaking, and if we put our minds to this problem, we can solve it."
Griffin then expressed concerns over Campasano's submittal. She first said she was unaware that the board would be addressing Campasano's proposal, which is odd in our view, since she herself postponed discussion on it from the previous week's meeting. She then went on to express concern as to how the 24/7 Planning Committee might feel about the BOS doing a "self-generated proposal" after all the work the Planning Committee had put in to so far.
"Self-generated proposal"??? The BOS didn't generate anything. Campasano, as a private citizen, came up with what we believe is a terrific idea for addressing the problem. The 24/7 Planning Committee is tasked to submit one or more proposals to the BOS for solving the 24/7 coverage issue for Goffstown by the end of this month. In our view, the existence of that planning committee should not preclude the additional submissions of any proposal by any citizen - especially one as practically and fiscally sound as Campasano's.
Griffin, now speaking directly to Campasano, then said that over the weekend, she had visited the GRA website and that she "...was astounded to see that you would, according to that website, be presenting this plan to the board of selectmen at tonight's meeting. It was posted November 1st apparently, and I guess has been on the website since..."
Astounded? Why was she astounded? Because we published it after the board had it but before they addressed it? We had Mr. Campasano's sample plan in our possession nearly a week before he handed it to the BOS. Indeed, we believed that the sooner the public came in possession of it - especially those working so diligently on the 24/7 committee - the more information would be available towards solving the 24/7 issue. Nevertheless, we withheld publication of his sample plan pending its submittal to the BOS at their meeting of October 30th. But when Griffin postponed its review for a week, and did so in the midst of the 24/7 meetings, we went ahead and published his plan for what we believed was the good of the community.
Griffin went on to claim that our website "...very clearly says that selectman Campasano is going to be presenting a 24/7 interim proposal and, in fact, has this entire proposal online."
Whoa, Barbara. Get your facts straight. First, our article states nothing of the kind. Second, we decided to publish Campasano's sample plan - he did not request it. Third, why are you so "astounded" when an idea by a private citizen (intended for nothing more that the best interests of Goffstown's taxpayers) becomes public?
But here's where things get even stranger. Griffin then expressed her concern that by bringing his idea to the board, Campasano was subjecting the BOS to "...potential unfair labor practices in regards to consideration of any type of proposal that modifies work hours under an existing contract," and that his plan "...potentially changes terms of a contract."
Does Griffin really think that any proposal forthcoming from the 24/7 Planning Committee won't involve some modification of exiting union contracts? Will that committee, by its very inception, let alone forthcoming recommendations, also subject the BOS to "potential unfair labor practices?"
Of course not.
Campasano's sample plan is nothing more than an idea, i.e., a "sample plan", he provided to members of the BOS for informational and educational purposes, just as he did to the GRA. He did not request a formal consideration of it by the BOS, nor did he request that we publish it. Rather, he provided his sample plan to the BOS as a concerned, taxpaying Goffstown resident who happens to have a good idea - and more experience regarding the 24/7 issue than all of the remaining members of the BOS combined.
Get a grip, Barbara. Maybe you have an axe to grind with Mr. Campasano for working so diligently to successfully defeat the plans of the previous BOS (of which you were also a member) to consolidate the Police and Fire Departments earlier this year. Or maybe you're simply irked because he voted against you for chairman of the BOS in April.
No matter. We believe that anyone who views this video clip from the minutes of the BOS meeting of 11/6 will clearly see our point.
In our view, Campasano is doing nothing more than working for the people who elected him. We'd suggest Griffin start doing the same before the elections roll around again in March.
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Copyrightę 2006 Goffstown Residents Association. All Rights Reserved.
Copyrightę 2005, 2006 Goffstown Residents Association. All Rights Reserved.