Forum, June 12: Rieseberg’s Contract; Negative News Coverage; Videotaping a Woman Feeding Cats

About Rieseberg’s Contract

To the Editor:

The point of the open letter we are circulating in Hartford is to bring an end to the self-renewing contract the town manager enjoys. Under the terms of the contract, the Selectboard does not need to vote on renewing his contract; it renews automatically every three years. When I served on the Hartford Selectboard, I asked why we needed to vote in 2012 to extend a contract that would automatically renew in 2014 if we took no action. The town manager’s answer was that these extension votes served as a vote of confidence and a signal to town employees. It was obvious to some of us that it would also be a way of identifying board members who weren’t supportive of the town manager. I advised those against extending the contract at that time to vote for it and make it unanimous since the extension was essentially meaningless, given the contract would still renew in 2014 even if the extension was voted down. I mention this to illustrate Hunter Rieseberg’s manipulative approach to dealing with the Selectboard, an approach which I found inappropriate and which over time turned me from a strong supporter to someone who feels the town will be well served by a change.

One positive outcome, though, was that the Selectboard made a commitment to return to contractually-obligated annual job evaluations, which hadn’t been done under the two prior chairs, and these were conducted in February 2013 and February 2014, so that incoming board members would have the benefit of the prior board’s collective assessment.

The next contract between the town and the town manager needs to be the last contract. Its terms should clearly lay out the desired retirement date, specify all payments and benefits involved, and provide for a graceful transition. Rieseberg has fully earned that consideration, but the perpetually self-renewing contract that puts the Selectboard in the position of being forced to vote negatively is inappropriate.

F. X. Flinn


Unwelcome News in the Paper

To the Editor:

Welcome, parents attending their children’s graduation from Dartmouth and Dartmouth alumni! The June 8 headline “Blemish on the Brand” and Jim Kenyon’s seasonal rant about Dartmouth’s “bunch of billionaires” (“Financial Aid” June 8) is a splendid way to welcome visitors to our area. I’m thankful that the New Hampshire tourism bureau hasn’t utilized the Valley News to showcase our state. I’m looking forward to this weekend’s celebration of Father’s Day and the Quechee Balloon Festival. A nice article regarding deadbeat Dads or recent hot air balloon tragedies would be in keeping with informational and celebratory articles featured in the Valley News. When new residents to the Upper Valley ask me if they should subscribe to the Valley News, I always ask if they plan on heating with wood. My experience is the newspaper makes a wonderful fire starter.

Mark Pageau

West Lebanon

When Videotaping Isn’t Fun

To the Editor

Videotaping family and friends having fun is wonderful. But not when it comes to videotaping a nice elderly lady behind her back because she is feeding stray cats. Someone in my town did that because he says feeding strays is illegal, and wants to prove that she is doing it — to turn her in to the landlord and the health officer. I think this is so mean; what is he thinking? Unfortunately, he’s thinking only of himself. He should be ashamed.

Linda Carbino

White River Junction

Thanks for the Support, Lebanon

To the Editor:

I want to thank the many individuals and businesses that offered support and encouragement as I sought (and was granted) a variance from the city Zoning Board of Adjustment to convert the former Dr. Myric and Lois Wood residence to apartments. Many of the supporters are people I have never met. I especially want to thank Lois Wood and the Wood family for their support. It is important to me and to them that the house on the Lebanon Green maintains its residential character. Now the work begins.

Dana Seguin


The Co-op Difference

To the Editor:

In response to Jim Kenyon’s article “Co-op and Competitor” on June 4, there is a detail left out that needs to be addressed. One major difference between the Co-op and box stores is the ratio of full-time employees with benefits versus part-time. The expense in that area alone speaks for itself and the Co-op employs mostly full-time staff both to benefit the employees and our customers.

For those of us who love our jobs and care for our customers, Kenyon has become most insulting. He is correct that Hannaford is a corporation from Brussels, Belgium; the Co-op was founded and member-owned right from here.

Where was Kenyon’s column when another supermarket went through their staff and wiped them out — most of them having 10 years or more. Where were the remarks on how terrible it was for those who suffered? I’m glad we are member owned — we are a Co-op family working toward a goal together and to serve our customers to the best of our ability.

We have four stores and a large variety of personalities, so things are not always perfect, but then we don’t live in a perfect world either, which is a good thing for Kenyon because if we did he wouldn’t have a job — there would be no one for him to trash in his columns.

Leslie Fifield

Co-op employee

Post Mills

In the Tradition of Propaganda

To the Editor:

The article written by Shashank Bengali and Hashmat Baktash of the Los Angeles Times (“Most of Five Freed Prisoners Were Not Hard-Core Militants” Sunday Valley News, June 9) was the most blatant propaganda I have read since stories about Mata Hari in World War I and Tokyo Rose in World War II. Perhaps after Valley News columnist Steve Nelson has been able to effect change to the Bill of Rights, he will propose giving Eagle Scout badges to the five terrorists.

Marcella J. Logue


Why So Negative, ‘Valley News’?

To the Editor:

I had refrained from writing after Jim Kenyon’s snippy attack on the Co-op, but the Sunday Valley News (“Financial Aid” June 8) has made me wonder what your previously fine newspaper is up to. Was it really necessary on the day of Dartmouth’s graduation to run a front page feature negatively attacking Dartmouth followed by yet another Kenyon diatribe against pay practices at Dartmouth? At least your other negative editorial page contributor, New Yorker Steve Nelson, was more esoteric today, focusing on the Bill of Rights, instead of attacking some local issue as he usually does from his perch in New York City.

It is disappointing to see how low you will sink to in your efforts to sell papers. I hope you would consider returning to the fine fair-minded paper you once were. At least you have kept politics out of the sports pages.

William Pierce


Hope and Snowden

To the Editor:

Finally, Obama’s “hope and change”: Edward Snowden.

William Kevan