|Dedicated to Restoring & Maintaining Integrity in Goffstown Government|
|Griffin, D'Avanza and
Hunter vote against public's right to know
Recording of individual voting records blocked
December 5, 2006
GOFFSTOWN - Shortly after 10 p.m. at Monday's Dec. 4th meeting of the board of selectmen (BOS), a motion was made on behalf of a Goffstown citizen to augment minutes taken at BOS meetings to record not only the voting results on motions put before the board, but to also included the names of individual selectmen and how each of them votes on those motions.
Chairperson Barbara Griffin argued against the motion, stating that the BOS acts as a group, not as individuals, and accordingly such information on individual votes was irrelevant. Selectmen Phil D'Avanza and Bruce Hunter, of course, fell back on their familiar, time-proven and oft-used argument: "It's never been done before." Please, not that one again. Give us a break.
FOR THE RECORD (yes, Ms. Griffin, we know who voted which way), selectmen John Caprio and Nick Campasano voted in favor. Our Three "Mousketeers", a.k.a. Griffin, D'Avanza and Hunter (no offense intended to mousketeers around the world), voted against. The motion, made by Campasano, then failed.
Strike another blow against the public's right to know.
Here's a flash for the three dissenting board members: The BOS may act as a group as Griffin argued, but you are not elected as a group. Rather, you are elected to your positions as individuals and, as such, the voting public - your constituents - have a right to know exactly how each of you, individually, stand on every single issue put before you and exactly how you vote on those issues.
We find it interesting that board member Bruce Hunter, in addition to being a multi-term member of the BOS, also happens to be a multi-term member of the N.H. State Legislature. His voting record in the legislature on every issue ever put before him throughout his entire tenure as a state representative is a matter of public record and is easily accessible to voters through numerous outlets. Such is also the case with all state representatives, as well as state senators, governors, U.S. congressmen, senators, etc. Why do you three think the Goffstown Board of Selectmen is different, or worse, exempt?
We agree that the BOS acts as a group. So does the state legislature. And the state senate. And the U.S. Congress. But when Bruce Hunter, representing the people who voted him into office, votes on an issue in the legislature, his individual vote becomes a matter of public record, and that information is crucial to voters in making informed, intelligent decisions when deciding whether to re-elect him or not.
Griffin and "the boys", however, would have you believe otherwise.
Even more interesting is that Griffin apparently earns her living as an attorney. We'd expect she'd know better, as every attorney we've spoken to since last night's meeting wholeheartedly disagrees with Griffin's position. Indeed, if we following Griffin's thinking, the voting records of every representative and senator from every state, along with those of all U.S. congressmen and senators would suddenly no longer be available to the voting public!
What in the devil were you thinking, Barbara? Do you really believe that your individual vote, made in public, at a public meeting, should be withheld from your constituents and exempt from the public record???
Why would Griffin, D'Avanza and Hunter want to keep this information, so crucial to those who vote them into the very offices they hold, out of the record? Why would they attempt to hide it? Indeed, when considering incumbents such as these three, what could be a more important source of information to voters than a candidate's prior voting record?
What is really odd about the board's vote is that anyone who personally attends a BOS meeting of course knows exactly which way individual selectmen vote on any motion put forth - the results cannot be hidden from those in attendance. And if watching on community television - or rented DVD - that information is also easily discernable (well, almost easily).
But the Three Mousketeers nevertheless voted to keep this information out of the hands of the very people who put them in office.
Hmmm. Could it be because two of them - Griffin and Hunter - are up for re-election in March?
You'd be wise to start doing a better job at minding the store, Mouseketeers, because Goffstown's voters are on to you and March is right around the corner.
We'll be watching ...
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