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terragnihearing11_17_05doc - TOWN OF DUNBARTON

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terragnihearing11_17_05doc - TOWN OF DUNBARTON

    TOWN OF DUNBARTON

    Ethics Committee

    Minutes of the Hearing in Terragni case

    11/17/05

    Minutes of meetings are subject to final approval at the next scheduled meeting

Nick called the meeting to order at 7:30.

Committee members Present: Gayle Troy, Gary Maccubbin, Nick Holmes,

    and Brigitte Cook.

    Also present: Complainants: Josh and Lynda Gagne, Respondent: Tim

    Terragni and the following witnesses: Ken Swayze, Brian Little, Harlan

    “Bud” Noyes.

    A few members of the public were also present.

I. Preliminary review of Hearing

    A. The committee was introduced and all parties were

    present.

    B. Recording devices are allowed and must be visible and

    disclosed but both parties stated that they did not intend to

    record the hearing.

    C. There was a verbal reading of the three complaints.

    1. Complaint #1 2005

    2. Complaint #2 2004

    3. Complaint #3 Slander

    D. There was a verbal reading of Section I.H., Fair and

    Equal Treatment, of the Dunbarton Code of Ethics.

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E. There was quick review of the proceedings to date,

    specifically the Ethics meeting on 10/27/05 and the Prehearing

    Conference on 11/8/05.

F. The procedure for the hearing was stated based on the

    document entitled “Rules Regarding the Conduct of Hearing”

    and these rules were provided to both parties.

G. It was confirmed with both parties that all their witnesses

    were present. An E-mail message was passed out to both

    parties. The E-mail message was from John Herlihy, one of

    the witnesses for the Gagnes who could not attend tonight’s

    hearing because of a prior commitment in his official capacity

    as a school board member.

H. Without further questions from the parties the Hearing

    was begun.

    II. Hearing

    A. Opening statements were heard from both parties.

    1. Josh and Lynda. Gagne both spoke and handed out

    a folder containing information about their home.

    2. Mr. Terragni spoke briefly and also handed out

    information about himself and the Gagnes.

    III. Complainants started by calling witnesses.

    A. Josh Gagne was sworn in and stated that he lives at 171

    Stark Highway South, Dunbarton.

    1. Josh discussed the series of events that has lead to

    this Ethics complaint. He primarily stated that there was

    breach of a verbal agreement not to reassess his home

    until the town wide assessment. He also felt that town

    personal personnel were mislead about the Gagnes not

    having the appropriate permits and the Gagnes not giving

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    assess access to their home for inspection. Josh

    alleged that Mr. Terragni used his position on the Board

    of Assessors to break the verbal agreement and give out

    incorrect information to other town personal personnel. B. Linda Gagne was sworn in and stated that she lived at

    171 Stark Highway South, Dunbarton.

    1. Linda discussed her experience with Mr. Noyes and

    Mr. Swayze. Linda expressed the opinion that Mr.

    Terragni sent Mr. Noyes and Mr. Swazey to her home

    unfairly and with false information. C. Brian Little was sworn in and stated that he lived at 51

    Stark Highway North, Dunbarton.

    1. Brian was a member of the Board of Assessors

    when the Gagnes assessment was discussed. Brian

    spoke in favor of the Gagnes home assessment being too

    high and recalls calling the Gagnes to tell them of the

    verbal agreement not to reassess their home until the

    town wide assessment. This verbal agreement was

    agreed upon with all three members of the Board of

    Assessors at that time.

    2. Brian stated that there was tension between the

    Gagnes and Mr. Terragni during Board of Assessor

    meetings.

    3. Brain Brian stated that he did not normally, as a

    member of the Board of Assessors, go out to inspect

    homes but he did go out to the Gagne’s home for a walk

    through.

    D. Harlan “Bud” Noyes was sworn in and stated that he lived at 85 Stark Highway North.

    1. Bud stated that he has been a Certified State

    Appraiser for 25 years and the Board of Assessors sent

    him to the Gagne’s property in 2005. He stated that what

    he did was called a “pick-up” and the purpose is to

    reassess a house after improvements have been made.

    This “pick-up” was not unusual or different from other

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    “pick-ups” and Bud stated that he was not sent by Mr.

    Terragni but the Board of Assessors.

    E. Ken Swazey was sworn in and stated that he lived at 105

    Grapevine Road, Dunbarton.

    th1. Ken stated that on July 29 2005, at 9AM he

    received a call from Line Cormone. Line is an

    administrative assistant for the building inspector and

    also works for the Board of Assessors. Line relayed a

    message to Ken to inspect at the Gagne residence

    because of activity at the house. Ken stated that he

    could not go to the house because of other commitments.

    He then received two more calls both communicating

    urgency in catching the work in progress.

    2. Ken was able to get to the house around 11:15 and

    met with Mrs. Gagne. All permits were in order.

    3. Ken did not know if Mr. Terragni was responsible

    for all three calls.

    4. Ken stated that it is very common for him to get

    urgent calls similar to this and over half of them are false.

    IV. Respondent called witnesses

A. Tim Terragni was sworn in and stated that he lives at 66

    Long Pond Road, Dunbarton.

    1. Tim read a prepared statement that outlined his

    involvement in the town of Dunbarton. He has served on

    the Board of Assessors for 12 years.

    2. He did want the Gagnes house reevaluated

    because it had been so long time since the verbal

    agreement (the town wide reevaluation was taking longer

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    than anticipated) and other Dunbarton residents were

    being reevaluated because they did home improvements.

    3. Tim stated that when he drove by the house on July

    29, 2005 the backhoe was on the left side of the house

    (opposite the driveway) and he was concerned that work

    was being done. When asked why he did not call the

    Gagnes to ask about the backhoe he replied that he

    should have.

    4. When asked why the Board of Assessors did not

    respond to the letter sent by the Gagnes, Tim stated that

    the Board did not respond to all letters that they receive.

(During all of the above testimonies all of the Parties, along with the Ethics

    Committee members, were able to cross-examine witnesses)

V. Josh and Lynda Gagne chose to not go forward with

    the Herlihy information.

VI. Closing arguments

    A. Mr. Gagne reviewed the facts that the verbal agreement

    was broken and the building inspector was sent to the house

    under false information.

    B. Mr. Terragni spoke to the fact that the Board of Assessors

    is not a pleasant Board to work on. And that “you should hear

    the phone calls I get”. Mr. Terragni stated that this most recent

    reevaluation was the most objective assessment ever done.

VII. Deliberations

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A. Nick thanked everybody and moved to go into

    deliberations. Gary seconded this. All agreed. The

    deliberations were open to the public but no public comments

    were allowed.

B. Nick moved to dismiss the section of the complaint which

    alleged that Mr. Terragni made slanderous statements because

    no evidence had been introduced in support of this allegation.

    Gary seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

C. After deliberating on the remaining allegations, the

    committee concluded that the Complainants had failed to prove

    by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Terragni had violated

    the Dunbarton Code of Ethics. The committee’s decision was

    unanimous. The committee will issue a written decision.

    VIII. Other Matters

    A. The committee decided to hold its next regular meeting in

    January 2006. The committee will schedule a meeting in

    December only if a new matter arises or if a citizen requests an

    opportunity to meet with the committee.

    IX. Meeting was adjourned at 10:12pm

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Brigitte Cook

    For the Ethics Committee

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