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No consequences: Tessier latest to break rules

October 12. 2017 9:24PM

Manchester has rules to constrain its elected officials.

Unfortunately, they aren’t self-enforcing.

As aldermen vote with impunity for contracts with raises for their relatives, the sense of lawlessness is spreading to the school board.

At-large school board member Nancy Tessier improperly disclosed what happened at a nonpublic meeting in an email, which she also sent to several school district employees.

At-large school board member Rich Girard discusses the breach on today’s Opinion Page (A7).

Local boards rely too often on nonpublic sessions to discuss issues that should be debated in public. But personnel issues are exempt from New Hampshire’s Right-to-Know law, both to protect public employees and enable frank discussion among elected officials.

Tessier breached that confidentiality, and her fellow school board members let her get away with it. They voted to “receive and file” the report on Tessier’s misconduct, essentially ignoring the breach.

Manchester’s charter needs to be updated to include an independent review of complaints against elected officials, much like the state’s Executive Branch Ethics Committee. Clearly, aldermen and school board members are not willing to hold themselves accountable.

Local and County Government Editorial Manchester

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