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Selectman’s Race for Planning Board Seat Raises Controversy
by Barbara O’Brien It was a question raised by Windham resident
and School District Moderator Betty Dunn that brought the issue of a sitting selectman running for a Planning Board seat to the forefront. Dunn posed her questions during the annual Town Deliberative session on February 12. The following Monday, February 14, Town Attorney Bernie Campbell showed up at the weekly selectmen’s meeting to address the situation. The dilemma arose when selectmen’s Vice Chairman Bruce Breton registered as a candidate for a three-year term as a full member of the Windham Planning Board. Breton has one full year remaining on his current term as selectman. Those who say they oppose Breton’s candidacy for a Planning Board seat feel that it could cause a conflict of interest. Several people also said there are enough qualified residents living in Windham that one person shouldn’t hold a dominant slot on two boards. During Attorney Campbell’s presentation, he told selectmen that “Mr. Breton has the right to run for the office. He is not otherwise ineligible to serve, if elected [due to age, residency, etc].” “There are at least two State Laws that need to be considered, however, if Mr. Breton is elected to the Planning Board,” Campbell continued. “The issue is fairly simple and clear,” he said. The first is RSA 673:7, which pertains to Planning Board members serving on other local boards. According to this statute, there cannot be two selectmen serving on the Planning Board at the same time. The second statute (RSA 673:2) spells out how Planning Board positions are filled. According to this statute, selectmen shall choose one selectman or an administrative official of the town as an ex- officio member, while the remaining Planning Board positions shall be filled on a staggered basis during regular town elections. “This means that one seat on the Planning Board is an ex-officio spot under the control of the selectmen,” Campbell explained. “If Mr. Breton is not elected to the planning board, there is no issue,” Campbell said. “If, however, Mr. Breton is elected to the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen wishes to appoint one of their own members to the Planning Board, then Mr. Breton would have to resign from either the Planning Board or the Board of Selectmen,” he explained. What is also clear, according to Campbell, is that Breton cannot affect the Board of Selectmen’s authority to appoint an ex-officio member. If Breton is elected to the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen decides to appoint “an administrative official” to the ex-officio spot, only then can Breton serve as both an elected selectman and an elected Planning Board member. Campbell said it is not clear, according to State Statute, exactly who is defined as “an administrative official.” Likely individuals who fit the bill, however, are: Town Administrator (David Sullivan), Economic Development Director (Laura Scott), Town Planner (Elizabeth Wood), Zoning Board of Adjustment Officer (Tim Corwin), and Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer (Mike McGuire). If the selectmen did not want to select one of these “administrative officials” to sit on the Planning Board, they could elect one of their own, including Breton, to serve as the ex-officio member. If this occurred, Breton would have to resign his elected Planning Board position, because he could not serve as an ex- officio and an elected member at the same time. “So, who ultimately decides?” Campbell asked. If Breton is elected to the Planning Board, the decision by the Board of Selectmen as to who would serve as their ex-officio member would need to be made by the other four members of the Board of Selectmen. Breton would likely be excluded from the decision- making process due to “a conflict of interest,” Campbell stated. “He would have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the decision, which would likely disqualify him from participating,” he explained.
Although Breton did not address the issue during the meeting, his own lawyer, John Kronin, represented him. “We don’t have a problem yet,” Kronin said, adding that the issue could be resolved by the remaining selectmen, should Breton be elected to the Planning Board. Although he didn’t go into detail, it is likely that the resolution would involve the remaining four selectmen appointing an administrative official to the ex-officio slot and allowing Breton to serve as an elected member of the Planning Board, while continuing to also serve as a selectman.
Kronin said that the State Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue of two selectmen serving on the Planning Board, which is comprised of five to seven members. “It’s just a statutory interpretation at this point,” he said. Campbell said he was not aware of this particular issue happening elsewhere in New Hampshire.
Selectman Ross McLeod pointed out that, “If the
voters don’t elect Bruce [Breton], there’s no problem.” “Okay,” Chairman Charles McMahon said. “We await the election!” Following the meeting, Breton said that he had no intentions of withdrawing his name from the Planning Board race. Town and School District Elections are slated for
Tuesday, March 8. Polling places are located in Windham High School and will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Python tri-captain Rich Sullivan (152) takes his White Mt. opponent to the mat with Coach Riddinger and brother Billy looking on
Pelham~Windham NewsThis is Your Life: PES Students Give Special Presentation to Governor Lynch
Volume 8 Number 31 February 25, 2011 16 Pages by Karen Plumley
“He started out as a sickly boy who worked hard, overcame adversity, and accomplished great things. This is why Theodore Roosevelt is my hero,” concluded Pelham Elementary School (PES) fourth grader Dylan Conroy, in a poignant and intelligently presented biography based on the book Theodore by author and former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating. Dylan was just one of the many students who read his work in front of classmates, peers, teachers, and two very special guests – Governor John Lynch and his wife, Dr. Susan Lynch – during an assembly on Friday, February 18. Other biographies included Abraham Lincoln presented by Fallon Vigeant, astronaut Neil Armstrong presented by Joshua Thompson, track star Wilma Rudolph presented by Meaghan Mahoney, astronaut and teacher from New Hampshire Christa McAuliffe presented by Josie Jozokos, and many more. However, biographies of past personalities were not the only surprises in store for New Hampshire’s Governor and First Lady on Friday. After the conclusion of the class project biographies, students honored
Governor John Lynch by presenting his life so far. With one student at a time ascending the stage and giving details in chronological order – such as how the Governor and his wife first met when they were employed at a local Friendly’s – they crafted an audible timeline that put a huge smile on the face of the Governor and moved Dr. Susan Lynch to tears. After the presentation finished with a song sung by the entire fourth grade in honor of the Governor, Governor Lynch got up on stage and thanked the students. He stated that when he looks back on his governorship in the future, this is one of the events he will always remember. “This is one of the nicest events as Governor that I have ever attended,” he enthused. He went on to expand his own story by sharing that before he and his wife began dating, they attended a wedding together where he caught the garter and she caught the bouquet. That is when they knew they were meant to be together, he said. Superintendent
Fourth grader Dylan Conroy presents his biography project on Teodore Roosevelt to peers, teachers, and special guests Governor John and Dr. Susan Lynch at an assembly on Friday, February 18, at Pelham Elementary School
Frank Bass was equally impressed with the students’ thoughtful presentation, which took months of careful planning and organization by fourth-grade teacher Rebecca George and the nearly 160 students in attendance. He
After the biography assembly, PES students were given a chance to meet the New Hampshire state governor face to face and get his autograph. Here, fourth grader
Joshua Tompson, dressed up like his hero Neil Armstrong, gets an autograph and a smile from Governor Lynch
noted that he was moved by the running theme of the biographies that highlighted the humanitarian quality of heroes. “We must always look for ways to give back to our communities,” he said. During the final minutes of Governor Lynch’s visit to PES, students presented the First Couple with matching “his and her” PES sweatshirts personalized by the embroidering talents of two local moms, Michelle Kelly and Charity Willis. The PES-PTA donated baskets of pumpkin goodies to the pair in honor of New Hampshire’s state fruit. Governor Lynch lingered to sign his autograph on individual student projects.
Governor John Lynch and his wife Dr. Susan Lynch enjoy the special timeline biography of his life presented by PES fourth-grade students on Friday morning
Snake Pit Hosts Division III State Wrestling Tourney, Two Pythons and Two Jaguars Crowned State Champs
by Marc Ayotte The best Division III wrestlers in the state converged upon the Pelham High School gymnasium mats on Saturday, February 19, to determine individual and team state champions. The slate was covered with talented wrestlers representing 15 schools, from which three different wrestlers returned to defend their state titles from a year ago. Included in the tournament were Pelham High School, which finished seventh last year, Campbell High School, and Windham High School. Regarding the local interests,
Windham (101), Pelham (100), and Campbell (80.5) fared extremely well, as the local schools finished in fourth, fifth, and sixth places, respectively, in the team standings. Between the three schools, there were a total of 15 individual medals earned. Medals were awarded for the top four finishers in each weight class. Individually, there were a combined five state champions crowned from the three area schools when the marathon wrestling event concluded. The individual results mirrored the teams’ final positions, as Windham produced six medalists while Pelham followed with five and Campbell with four. Leading the way for the Pelham Pythons was defending state champion
Josh Medeiros in the 112-pound weight class. Medeiros, in season-long methodical fashion, destroyed his opponents, as he proved to be a man among boys in this division. In dismantling his quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals competition in an incredible combined time of two minutes and four seconds, Medeiros not only defended his 2010 title, he steamrolled
to a three-peat as state champ dating back to his freshman year. The ’Real Deal,’ with his victory, added to an already incredible junior season, and you can expect him to have a tremendous showing at the Meet of Champions to be held in Londonderry on February 26.
Assistant Coach Chris Tomas, Warren Greenhalgh, Assistant Coach Vinny Canizzaro, Josh Medeiros, and Head Coach Bob Riddinger
In the 171-pound division, Warren Greenhalgh, as Python Head Wrestling Coach Bob Riddinger put it, “was on a mission; wrestling with a purpose.” Ever since his loss at the Gionet Memorial held last month at ’The Pit,’ Riddinger noticed Warren was refocused: “We’re seeing very solid wrestling right now; he’s focused and knows what he wants.” Finishing the regular season en fuego, the Python senior took his astounding 39-5 win/ loss record to the states and proceeded to go on a ‘pin’ rampage by mowing down his opponents, including Will
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Tyler Siverhus pins Nate Williams of Plymouth to win the state championship in the 125 weight class
Melanson of Plymouth in the finals. At :37 of the match, Greenhalgh, with a win by fall, became the second Python to capture a first-place medal and potentially the first-ever Python to bring a state championship wrestling medal into the Lackland AFB barracks—mission accomplished! After the awards ceremony, Windham Head Coach Tom Darrin expressed his admiration for the effort of Tyler Siverhus, his wrestler in the 125 weight class: “He pinned his way through the tournament.” The Windham freshman brought a near-unblemished, 29-1 season record to the state meet. Siverhus went as far as the second period in only one of his matches en route to the triple-pin performance. With the three convincing wins by fall, Siverhus locked in Windham’s first of two first-place finishes on the day with an impressive victory over Nate Williams of Plymouth, who sported a lofty, 24-5 record on the season. And to go to the Meet of Champions with such a dominant record as a freshman, the wrestling future is very bright for the young Jag.
continued to page 10- Wrestling
staff photos by Marc Ayotte
staff photos by Karen Plumley
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