real hijackers of Goffstown
Much has been written lately about a supposed 'hijacking' of our town government by what
is alleged to be a select few individuals with personal agendas.
Two particular residents have been writing letters to the Goffstown News, pointing fingers at myself and a few others on the Budget Committee as being responsible for this attempted takeover of Goffstown.
But if you take a moment to really look at recent events, it seems clear that what we're all seeing is actually the opposite.
Based on the record turnout at the school deliberative session earlier this month, we're obviously not talking about a 'select few'. More likely, Goffstown taxpayers turned out in such large numbers because they are trying to take back Goffstown from the free-spending school boards, department heads and selectmen who are the ones who really hijacked our town years
ago, and are still holding it hostage.
Further proof of this is the school board's surprising failure to add $1 million to what was already an inflated proposed budget. Chairman Keith Allard and his merry band are accustomed to getting their way year after year, with effective scare tactics and carefully crafted orchestration and manipulation of these deliberative sessions. They are well known for threatening to bring their 'forces' out in droves
at deliberative sessions to push through their agendas (see
Budget Committee caves in amid
School tactics, 2008).
For example, do you supposed the presentation of 'AIDA' by GHS students was simply for entertainment purposes? Not a chance - every one of the students who performed that night have parents who most likely attended, if for no other reason than to watch their children on stage. This affords the school board a built-in advantage in attendance numbers carefully calculated to promote their agenda.
There's another advantage for the school board to these annual student performances: They significantly delay the start of the deliberative sessions, which necessarily delays the end of them. This makes it much more difficult for our elderly residents to stick around for the entire session, providing the school board with another advantage for pushing through its motions after it begins to get late in the evening.
Think this is just my imagination? Not at all. Frankly, these tactics hadn't
even occurred to me until they were pointed out to me by two residents at the school deliberative session, one a teacher and the other an administrator in our school system. Interesting perspectives from these two, to say the least.
And lastly, why is it that after the school board moves to place its budget on the floor for discussion that the school board gets the first shot at making motions to amend it? This opportunity should go to the taxpayers, not the school board. But the school board knows that after a first vote on an issue, many folks go home, just as we saw on
February 1st. Next year, we all need to send a message loud and clear to school moderator James Raymond and demand 'first dibs' at making motions.
It is also interesting to note that although the turnout was not quite as large for the town deliberative session, it was certainly much larger than normal. And a motion by Scott Gross to increase the town budget by nearly half a million dollars passed by a single vote, 87-86. This was after moderator Rod Stark disqualified a torn ballot, despite the fact that the intent of the voter was made clear to all in attendance. Had it not been for that single ballot and, in my opinion, an erroneous decision by Stark, Gross's motion to increase would have failed just as Allard's motion failed on the school side two nights earlier.
I personally know of many people who would have voted against Gross's motion had they not chose to stay home that evening. My own wife is one of them. The reason she stayed home is because earlier that day, Mr. Gross had told me personally that he would not to move to increase the town budget by more that the $1,500 that night, an amount we both agreed needed to be added to the Town Clerk's budget for the extra elections scheduled this year. Ultimately, trusting Mr. Gross was a mistake on my part, and proved to be a clever ruse on his part, as he blindsided many of us by pushing through an increase of $486K. Had my wife come along, his motion would have failed, and our tax rate would be less than we're now facing. I won't be fooled by Mr. Gross again.
SO WHO ARE THE REAL HIJACKERS?
Recent events certainly prove that what's going on lately is not the result of a select few on the budget committee who are trying to hijack Goffstown. What's really going on is that a large number of taxpayers are trying to TAKE BACK Goffstown from the free-spending school boards, department heads and selectmen who hijacked it years
ago, and those who continue to strangle taxpayers
today. You know who they are.
You can make a difference on March 9. As we saw at the town deliberative session, a single vote can make
all the difference.
Please get out and vote, and help us all take back our town from the real
hijackers, Mr. Gross and Mr. Allard, and their