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December 18. 2012 11:45PM

Complaints filed against Hooksett town councilor accused of publicly discussing personnel matter

Formal complaints have been filed against Hooksett Town Councilor Vincent Lembo, who is accused of publicly discussing a personnel matter.

David Pearl and Mark Miville of Hooksett have filed complaints with council Chairman Jim Sullivan against Lembo. During the debate over the proposed layoff of administrative assistant Evelyn Horn, Lembo stated that he believed Town Administrator Dr. Dean Shankle, who proposed the layoff, was being "very vindictive towards Evelyn" after she allegedly "spoke up." Lembo also referenced the administrative assistant by name several times in the conversation.

Both complaints accuse Lembo of violating RSA 91A:3c, a state law indicating subjects that must be discussed in a nonpublic session. The law defines one such subject as "matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting."

"I think they violated the rules," Pearl said. "I filed the complaint because I think it's a violation. It doesn't really matter if it's Vinny, or Todd (Lizotte), or somebody else."

Lembo could not be reached for comment.

The council's policies require them to take up any formal complaint levied against a councilor.

"I think the interesting component to this is the council now has to take it up. And I don't know what they're going to do with it," said Pearl. "That's a state law. You can't excuse state law. The council doesn't have the power to do that."

Pearl has also called for Lembo's resignation from the council.

"He should (resign)," said Pearl. "I don't know what the council's remedy for it is, and he has put his council in a difficult position, so he should recuse himself from the council."

Lembo was elected to the council in 2010. His term will expire in 2013. Pearl and Lembo have been at odds over a similar issue in the past, though on opposite sides.

In 2011, Pearl criticized the previous council chairman, William Sirak, during a public input session for allegedly misrepresenting an issue dealing with the police commission. Sirak attempted to prevent Pearl from speaking, saying that Pearl meant to engage in "personalities." Pearl had forwarded a copy of his remarks to the council. Lembo supported Sirak, and after Pearl refused to leave the public input table, Lembo suggested police be called to remove him.

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Brendan Clogston may be reached at bclogston@newstote.com.


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