Is Gilford seeing public employees politicking at the polls? - Granite Grok

Is Gilford seeing public employees politicking at the polls?

Scott Dunn

Posted as received with a bit of REALLY light editing.

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From: Kevin Leandro
Date: Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 12:25 PM
Subject: RSA 659:44-a Electioneering by Public Employees
To: Richard Grenier <ragsbar26@gmail.com>, <Gus.Benavides@nemoves.com>, Dale Chan Eddy (dale.eddy@aflglobal.com) <dale.eddy@aflglobal.com>, Dale Chan Eddy (shockwave@tarnover.us) <shockwave@tarnover.us>, Board of Selectmen <BoardofSelectmen@gilfordnh.org>, Scott Dunn <sdunn@gilfordnh.org>, <mcgonagle@metrocast.net>

Gentleman,

In June of last year, at the recommendation of your attorney, you adopted the position that Scott Dunn is not a public employee, but rather an appointed official. You used this newly adopted position to deny me of my rights to a grievance in a properly posted non-public session of the Board of Selectman. At the time, the Attorney explained that because Mr. Dunn is not an employee he can not be the subject of a nonpublic session as he is not afforded personnel confidentiality protections under RSA 91-a.

Recently (Feb. 27th) I made a RSA 91-a “Right to Know” request for documents relating to Mr. Dunn’s performance reviews and any reprimands. I was told that Mr. Dunn had sought and received yet another legal opinion on the status of his employment or non-employment with the Town. I was told that, at your March 25th meeting, you will be presented with this new differing legal opinion, and a recommendation that you deny, in part, my RTK request based on Mr. Dunn now being a public employee, subject to the personnel confidentiality protections afforded under RSA 91-a.

So, if Mr. Dunn is a public employee then he is now guilty of Electioneering RSA 659:44-a for his cute little Charlie Brown themed “The Town Administrator is In” booth set up inside the polling place while acting in his official capacity as Town Administrator. It is not creditable to claim that people arriving to vote on 7 pages of confusing warrant articles would not be influenced by the Town Administrator who has a booth set up and has made himself available to answer questions and offer advice. It’s clear that he is not there to discuss Tom Brady’s future! I have never seen such a textbook example of Electioneering. Considering that Mr. Dunn speaks for the Board of Selectman in all interactions with the public, and as Selectman, you are Election Officials, you are by default guilty of RSA 659:44. I cautioned you last year about allowing this practice. If Mr. Dunn is to be considered an employee, then he is not afforded the luxury of “political speech” in his role as Town Administrator, so any conversation he has concerning any of the 35 warrant articles being voted on today, is by definition electioneering. Now, you may say that he isn’t advocating for or against any warrant article, but you must know that I anticipated this situation and have already received confirmation that he is indeed offering advice on how to vote.

So is he a pubic employee guilty of electioneering or is he an appointed official not subject to personnel confidentiality protections?

FYI the RTK is now 4 days past due!

The relevant law is copied below. I copied our honorable Town Moderator, on this email as she should be kept informed of violation taking place at the polling place.

I look forward to your response.

Kevin Leandro

659:44-a Electioneering by Public Employees. –

I. No public employee, as defined in RSA 273-A:1, IX, shall electioneer while in the performance of his or her official duties.
II. No public employee shall use government property or equipment, including, but not limited to, telephones, facsimile machines, vehicles, and computers, for electioneering.
III. For the purposes of this section, “electioneer” means to act in any way specifically designed to influence the vote of a voter on any question or office.
IV. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.Source. 2003, 172:2, eff. June 18, 2003. 2016, 176:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2017.