From the blog “Take Back Orford”:
“As the self appointed Grafton County watchdog (that would be me), it has come to my attention that our County Treasurer, Vanessa Sievers, couldn’t even make it up to the county offices last month to sign the Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs). Our County Director, Julie Clough, had to trek into Hanover in order to track down our co-ed treasurer for her signature before the county ran out of money. From the Commissioners Meeting minutes dated November 24, 2009:
Director Clough said the TAN’s from Mascoma Bank are all set and said that she met with the Treasurer in Hanover to get the paperwork signed because the Treasurer could not come to the County.
ONE of the most important responsibilities of the county treasurer is to attend the Executive Committee Meetings necessary to receive approval for and then, when needed, SIGN the necessary documents for the TANS. Yet, a few of our esteemed members of the Executive Committee feel that this is a “non-issue”. Any normal person would wonder why are we paying our no-show treasurer $6,000.00 a year not to do her job. Oh, that’s right…Director Clough and the Deputy Treasurer are there to do our Treasurer’s job for her. This is becoming too painful and embarrassing for the county taxpayers to endure. Minutes from the special Executive Committee meeting on August 14, 2009 for the approval of the TANS:
Rep. Mulholland called the meeting to order at 9:06 AM
Director Clough began by stating that statutorily the Treasurer has to be present when the Executive Committee votes on the Tax Anticipation Notes and that is the reason for this special meeting. She said that in the past, the Treasurer has always been present at the June Delegation meeting and so this issue has not come up before.
Rep. Ward asked exactly what they were voting on and Director Clough said it was to authorize the tax anticipation notes in the presence of the Treasurer. She said that this will not happen again in the future now that the information has been made clear.
Rep. Williams said that in his opinion, either the Treasurer or the Deputy Treasurer should be at all their meetings, which Rep. Gionet agreed with.
Rep. Ward moved that either the Treasurer or Deputy Treasurer be present at every Executive Committee meeting, which was seconded by Rep. Gionet.
Rep. Mulholland said that she feels that there always has been a Treasurer present in the past and that if for some reason the Treasurer could not be present, then Director Clough has given the report. She said that she didn’t think there was a need to be so hard nosed about it.
Rep. Friedrich questioned whether the committee even had the authority to demand that of an elected official.
Treasurer Sievers said that for her it was a non-issue and said that it is her intention to be at the meetings and if she can not make it, then she will contact the Deputy Treasurer. Rep. Gionet moved to call the question which was seconded by Rep. Ward. All were in favor.
In the vote to request that the Treasurer or Deputy Treasurer be present at every Executive Committee meeting, Reps. Gionet, Ward and Williams were in favor. Reps. Laliberte, Mulholland, Preston, Ford, Friedrich and Aguiar were opposed. Motion failed.
At the next monthly Executive Committee meeting on October 19, 2009 our County Treasurer was once again a “no show”.
Treasurer Sievers was not available for the meeting and Director Clough gave the report. $2.1M has been drawn down from the Tax Anticipation Notes at Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank and there will be more money needed by the end of the month. Director Clough said that the County may also need to draw down money in mid Nov/Dec from the Mascoma account.
In light of ALL of the above information, we should hold not only Treasurer Sievers (D) responsible but also the State Representatives Laliberte (D), Mulholland (D), Preston (D), Ford (D), Friedrich (D) and Aguiar (D) for enabling her. One of these Representatives, Carol Friedrich stands out as the least competent Executive Committee member. Let’s go back six months to May 2009. Remember this little tidbit (brought to you by Carol Friedrich herself) from the Grafton County Executive Committee meeting minutes for May 18, 2009?
Rep. Friedrich stated that there was information in the draft of the minutes that she felt should be removed saying that although it was an accurate account of what was said, she felt it presented the Treasurer in a negative light and didn’t think it needed to be included.Rep. Ward disagreed saying that accurate accounts should not be taken out. A discussion ensued as to what everyone thought.
A motion was made by Rep. Preston who suggested that everything in the paragraph after “investment account” in the draft minutes should be removed, which was seconded by Rep. Friedrich.
Reps. Preston, Friedrich, Aguiar, Mulholland and Ford approved the removal of the wording, Reps. Laliberte, Ward and Williams opposed. The motion passed.
The Representatives then voted on approval of the minutes. Reps. Preston, Aguiar, Mulholland, Ford and Laliberte approved, Reps. Williams and Ward did not approve. Rep. Ward then asked how the minutes from today would reflect this vote without the wording that was removed and it was decided that it would be presented as it is written above.
Are you detecting a pattern here? Remember folks, this meeting is where Representative Carol Friedrich (D) had accurate information removed from the draft minutes because it “presented the Treasurer in a negative light”. So the end result is that by not holding Treasurer Sievers (D) accountable and removing key information from the meeting’s minutes, Representative Friedrich did not allow the public to be fully aware of the poor job our County Treasurer was doing. Now, almost one year later nothing has changed.
If it wasn’t for the lack of transparency AND honesty, pandering to her party and being obstructive to good government practices I could say that, by gosh, Representative Friedrich is a “really nice” person.