February 13, 2013DALTON — Even if the petitioned Warrant Article that calls for the selectmen's resignation were to passed at the March 12 town meeting, the board — Vic St. Cyr, Julia Simonds, and Kevin Whittum Sr. — would definitely not step down, chairman St. Cyr said after Monday night's 40-minute public budget hearing.
Petitioners put the article in the warrant to represent "a vote of no confidence in all current members of the Select-Board," its wording reads. It calls for them all to resign.
Those who signed the petition wrote that they believe that the selectmen "are not acting in the best interest of the people but instead with a personal agenda." The article continues, (the board} "is unwisely spending taxpayer money and … is ultimately responsible for the loss of many valued employees and elected officials."
They understand that the article only advisory and non-binding.
At the hearing, St. Cyr said that the selectmen do believe they are acting in the town's best interest.
St. Cyr said in an after-hearing interview in the gym, as some of the 35 people who came out on an icy night greeted one another cordially, "The selectmen intend to move forward."
The chairman reviewed how the board had acted to correct problems detailed in the Dec. 2011 Internal Controls Assessment report done by consultants Municipal Resources Inc. (MRI) of Meredith.
The selectmen felt obligated to follow the consultants' suggestions and adopted policies and procedures, from controls at the gas pumps to asking elected and appointed officials to keep formal ledgers, he said.
"We found that they didn't want to do that," St. Cyr said.
Those involved have previously denied this allegation as blatantly untrue.
"But the selectmen continued to move forward, believing it was our responsibility," he said, noting that it was former Police Chief John Tholl who installed the first security cameras.
Reviewing a tape led to the arrest of then-Town Clerk Sandy York for allegedly stealing $100. District Court Judge Paul Desjardins ruled from the bench on Dec. 31, 2012, that York was not guilty.
St. Cyr pointed out that he believes that there would be further charges against York — stealing slightly less than $350 — based on a report done by forensic auditor Karen Marie Carew of Carew & Wells PLLC of Concord. The matter is still under investigation, St. Cyr said.
Asked if there would be an arrest, he replied, "I assume that there will be."
St. Cyr said that the selectmen have "never worked off rumors," but only on "written complaints."
There was no discussion of a second petitioned article to eliminate the town's part-time police department. Four uniformed officers were in the gym, however.
Errors in the proposed 2013 made the original $827,551 bottom line incorrect, even after a missed 2012 principal payment on a long-term note was subtracted to make a new more-or-less total of $775,551, a $6,000 increase from last year.
The final proposed budget must be submitted on the state's MS-6 form 10 days before town meeting.