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Tempers flare at county commission meeting

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
August 07, 2014
OSSIPEE — Open disagreements and raised voices once again broke out at the July 30 meeting of Carroll County commissioners.

After getting a fair amount done on bids for the demolition of two wings of the old nursing home and any needed repairs to the remaining structures (to be reviewed with a delegation subcommittee next Monday) as well as bids for wood pellets, elevator and building maintenance bids, Commissioner Dave Babson asked if Wakefield resident Steve Brown was able to provide proof of a claim made at the last meeting that the county had made several illegal loans to county employees.

Raising his voice, Brown responded that "It is not a question of whether it happened…Commissioner Sorensen why don't you admit it happened?"

Babson interrupted and returned to the question of whether Brown had proof and stated that the record should show that Brown did not provide proof of his claims.

During public input later in the meeting, videographer Ed Comeau of GovernmentOversite.com returned to the issue, asking Sorensen, "Was any Carroll County funding given to any Carroll County employee as loans?" Sorensen answered no. Comeau then asked, "Was any county funding given as advances?" Sorensen responded with a yes.

Appointments and minutes

Commissioner Asha Kenney stated that she objected to the appointment of Mellisa Seamans as the new recording secretary on the grounds that she is also candidate for public office. Seamans was a reporter for this newspaper whom Kenney had accused of conducting a witch hunt against her. Seamans resigned as a reporter as of June 13 and has filed to run as a Republican candidate for county commissioner in Kenney's District 3. Kenney did not file for re-election as commissioner and filed instead to run as Republican candidate for Register of Deeds.

Kenney also asked if Seamans was appointed in a public session or a non-public session, asserting that if it were done in non-public the minutes for that meeting would have to be released.

Sorensen said he didn't see how it made any difference, since Seamans was properly appointed. He clarified that Seamans would not be taking non-public minutes, only minutes of public meetings.

Kenney then asked that retiring Mountain View Community Director of Nurses Becky Mason be given an exit interview to clarify why she is leaving. Both Babson and Sorensen said they did not see that was necessary. "You were here last week when she told us why she was leaving," Babson said.

When it came time to review and approve the minutes of the July 23 meeting, Kenney asked that the minutes be changed from saying that RSVP treated payments from Babson and Sorensen as donations to saying that the county check for $51 was accepted as a donation. Babson said he and Sorensen had reimbursed the county for the lunch, that Kenney had not and that she had only come for the lunch and not the meeting. Kenney shot back that the lunch was free and that Babson left right after lunch and did not stay for the awards. Sorensen cautioned both commissioners to calm down and asked for approval of the minutes as corrected. The motion was made and Babson and Sorensen voted in favor but Kenney voted against.

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