Friday, June 28, 2024

Haverhill's Woes Continue as Turnover Plagues Town While Woodsville Interests Celebrate Codling's Departure

By: Rich Bergeron      

     The recent resignation and quick departure of Brigitte Codling from the new Town Administrator position in Haverhill put all the power of the town into the hands of an unprepared and now overwhelmed Haverhill Select Board. On top of learning how to operate in their new roles under the recently voted-in Town Administrator form of government, the current sitting board members have to find a new Town Administrator. At the time of this report there are only 6 applicants for the position they are considering. 

     Turnover has also ripped through town like a stray tornado. Jennifer Boucher, the assistant town manager to Codling left her post first. Phil Blanchard, the former select board chair, resigned quickly after the change of government vote. Most recently, three police officers resigned and left the service of the town. 

     Codling's demise reminds me of the old adage: "The people you really want in power are the ones who will run kicking and screaming from it." Of course, last night's presidential debate proved that point as well. 

      Only those backing Woodsville's fight for generational funding could possibly be celebrating the current state of affairs in the town of Haverhill and seeing it as any kind of victory for the greater community. Dick Guy's persistent criticism of Codling finally reached it's ultimate fruition. That reminds me of a former president and his famous declaration that the war was over when in all reality, it really wasn't even close to ending. 

      The fact is, hatred and anger have no genuine or benevolent purpose. Giving in to these emotions always leads to more harm than good being put out into the world. Though Woodsville's "Good Old Boy Network" might be doing backflips at the prospect of a town run by someone other than Codling, they may soon realize they've shot their own campaign for restoring their old funding in the foot. 

     The most frustrating part of this case and this story is it may take years to come to a natural resolution. The wheels of justice turn so painfully slow in the state of New Hampshire and even across the country in most jurisdictions. It's designed that way, so we need our barristers and esquires of all stripes to navigate the convoluted system. This generates lots of money that goes back into local economies. 

     Still, if the time and energy is spent to carry the legal case against DTC attorneys through the summary judgment phase, it will be well worth the effort. If the town can summarily emerge victorious in the litigation, no other legal firm's employees will be able to do what DTC attorneys did to any other town or city in the state without the potential for serious civil court consequences. The Haverhill vs. DTC case will become significant historic precedent law.

     It is the type of case that only forces the opposition to continue to invent new lies to support the old ones. None of their explanations make sense when matched up with the evidence on file with the court that Haverhill provided. Defending their clients aimlessly and hoping only to outspend their adversaries is the only Hail Mary hope for the attorneys representing DTC now. They can only win by dragging Haverhill into the deep, troubled waters of the local legal system and drowning the town with the weight, influence, wealth and power of the DTC firm itself. 

      Only a severely corrupted and deeply infected legal system could side with a firm like DTC in the ongoing case. This case illustrates every principle of why conflicts of interests should not be allowed in official government business relationships of any kind, not just attorney/client agreements. If the judge on this case has any sympathy for DTC's attorneys and their asinine behavior here, it simply proves one of Donald Trump's most famous refrains: "It's all rigged." 

     Amidst the turnover and turmoil, there are some good, hard-working people who make up the sitting Haverhill Select Board trying to unravel the mess. Whoever replaces Codling at the helm of the town will face plenty of uphill battles and have to thwart constant attempts by Woodsville interests to complete their plans for regulatory capture over the town. 

      Meanwhile, the wheels of justice grind slowly on with no smart conclusions in site that will resolve the animosity between the two municipalities at this point. Even Woodsville's appeal with the state Supreme Court is still without a final ruling. It seems Woodsville's Good Old Boys may be doing a premature touchdown dance when the replay will ultimately show they stepped out of bounds at the other end of the field. 

STAY TUNED, as the next few weeks will feature a flurry of legal documents from both sides to review and report on. 

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