April 17, 2014OSSIPEE — As of press time, Carroll County Commissioners remained under a status of "indefinite recess," having cancelled their April 16 meeting after Commissioner Asha Kenney's fellow board members voted enough is enough.
On April 15 the County website meeting notice section was updated to read, "the Commissioners Meeting of Wednesday, April 9 remains in recess until such time as it is agreed by the majority of the Board that compliance with the Commissioner Chairman's request has been reached, or as otherwise determined by the Commissioner Chairman. At the time of this posting, there is no Commissioner's meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 16, 2014."
The issue stems from Kenney's letter to the editor that was published in this newspaper April 3 and also in The Conway Daily Sun. In the letter, Kenney takes a jab at Commissioner David Sorensen, rehashing an issue that many felt was resolved two years ago.
In the letter, allegedly written by Kenney and received via email, it states, "While he [Sorensen] ignores real issues such as his own misuse of county credit card when his own personal credit card was not working, he attempts to distract the public with pathetic name calling and smear tactics that are empty of truth or real evidence."
During the work session portion of their April 9 meeting, Commissioner David Babson said Kenney had made a serious accusation that Sorensen fraudulently used the county card and asked Kenney to "give us the background and show us the proof." When Kenney said it was a work session and "not an attack session" Babson motioned to recess the meeting until Kenney could bring in proof. Kenney asked Babson why he was "screaming and crying about it" and told her fellow commissioners to go research the meeting videos and find it for themselves.
This response may have worked a number of times in the past, but not this time. "This isn't stealing one-cent candy by a five-year-old, you're accusing him of fraudulently using the card," said Babson.
Babson said during the 16 months he's been in office, he "never heard a peep" from Kenney about this issue that she suddenly decided to rehash as part of a letter to the editor.
At first Sorensen was reluctant to recess indefinitely. "If she doesn't come back with it (proof), we don't meet for ever and ever?" asked Sorensen. Kenney apparently found humor in this as she giggled at his question.
"This just can't continue, attacking employees, accusing people of things with no proof…I'm tired of her coming in here and running employees down and us too," said Babson.
Sorensen and Babson voted to recess, Kenney did not vote either way but majority rules and with that her fellow commissioners got up and left the meeting room.
Sorensen is the past president of N.H. Association of Counties and was back in 2011. As a benefit of that position, Sorensen was eligible to receive up to $4,000 in reimbursements to travel to county-related conference throughout the United States.
As reported two years ago and current research suggests, Sorensen would charge travel expenses to the County credit card. NHAC would then reimburse the County up to $4,000. If the cost of travel, lodging, and registration fees exceeded the $4,000, Sorensen would have to pay those additional charges out of his own pocket.
There are two other commissioner meeting videos on governmentoversite.com where the issue was discussed – June 13, 2012 and June 20, 2012 – as well as minutes from those commissioner's meetings on the County website at www.carrollcountynh.net.
Neither the two videos nor the minutes support Kenney's accusation.