In answer to Eric Geissenhainer
Ok, Eric, you spouted off last week in the Goffstown News, questioning my intentions - and my integrity - without so much as a phone call to ask me 'Why?'. I'm sure you're probably not interested because the facts and the truth would only serve to dismiss you and your accusations as meaningless. But many others have urged me to respond. I normally don't dignify such personal attacks with responses, but I think you raised some questions that I would like folks in Goffstown who might actually put stock in your attacks to know the answers to.
To begin with, I have been dealing with corporate and government budgets for well over twenty years, and on a much larger scale than anything either one of use have ever dealt with in Goffstown (yes, even larger than the school board budget). In so doing, I have learned many things about how operating budgets are conceived and prepared. Throughout those years of experience, one thing has remained constant: I have never seen a budget anywhere, be it federal, state, local, corporate or even household, that under close scrutiny could not be adjusted, and done so with no operational consequences whatsoever. Every single one has those little 'extras', or what Keith Allard likes to call, "fluff" in them, and I firmly believe that our taxpayers cannot afford these extras at this time.
That being said, you of all people, having previously served on the budget committee, and having touted yourself as a conservative to boot, should already know this. I'm surprise you were unable to understand this concept, especially when faced with numbers and facts I presented at the school deliberative session when I moved to reduce the school budget to a level-funded amount. Let me remind you of what I said that night:
1) The school budget for 2008-2009 was $34.8 million. It turned out the school board was unable to spend it all, and returned $1.3 million of it.
2) The school budget for 2009-2010 is $34.6 million. During the school deliberative session that night, chairman Allard himself predicted the school board would be unable to spend it all, and would be returning $610K of it.
With numbers like that, Eric, how could you expect me to justify the school board's request for an extra $2 million next year? In fact, how could you expect me to support the budget committee's recommendation for even $1 million more?. I certainly was not going to, whether I serve on the
budget committee or not. Yes, it is a matter of record that I voted to recommend the Budget Committee's number back in December, but I didn't do so because I agreed with that number, and you know it. I voted to recommend it that night because four key budget committee members were absent - check the minutes. And without them, I didn't believe a motion to level-fund the school budget would garner enough support from the remaining members to pass.
So if you think about it, Eric (with an open mind of course), perhaps you'll understand what my two choices were.
One, I could have voted against the budget committee's number.
But had the motion to recommend that number actually failed, the result would have been an even higher number, and that would have only served to hurt the taxpayers more than they're already getting whacked. I was elected to protect taxpayers, Eric.
That's my job. So instead, I voted to recommend it because 1) it was the lesser of two evils for taxpayers, and 2) it allowed me to live to fight another day - at school deliberative session.
So why did I make a motion a school deliberative to reduce it even further? Because that's what I believed (and still believe) was the right thing to do. And I would do it again. Serving on the budget committee does not preclude my taking action as a private
citizen. And as I mentioned, had all members of the budget committee been present on that night in December, not only would I have NOT supported the original motion, I would have moved to level-fund the entire school budget right then and there.
And I know for a fact it would have passed.
As we all know, my motion to level fund the school budget at the deliberative session failed. I personally don't believe it failed for lack of support. Rather, I think it failed because a sizeable number of folks left the auditorium right after Allard's failed attempt to add $1 million to the budget. Check the vote count and you'll see I'm right.
I acknowledge your right to your opinion, Eric, no matter how misguided or misinformed. And when it comes to me, you are certainly misinformed. Public attacks on me and on my integrity don't change the truth, and only serve to do damage to your own reputation, especially in the eyes of people who really know me and know what I'm trying to accomplish.
You should get to know me, Eric. I guarantee you I am not the person you think I am. Feel free to contact me anytime - let's exchange ideas and points of view.
Both of us can only benefit.
And lunch is on me.