Here's the original commentary:
I have not been overly impressed with Ms. Bernstein's writing in the past, but she sure got the detail here. R. and I are quite shocked. I was attributing the firing to the most recent drug bust involving a Farwell -- the bust couldn't be reduced presumably because (a) the circumstances were quite dire and (b) multiple police departments from neighboring jurisdictions and the state were involved. R. had some gossip about something that happened before the chief was the chief that perhaps wasn't revealed on his application. But this story? Holy cow! I, personally, would have _loved_ to see a lawsuit over the original claim by Ms. Ryherd. I'd particularly love to see the reaction of any judge/jury to Ms. Ryherd. New Hampshire courts are not particularly sympathetic to plaintiffs in general (live free or die, right?), and plaintiffs who waste their time? Oooooooh.
The real shocker, however, is this:
"The board rejected Goulden’s suggestion to seek legal advice from the Local Government Center before meeting with Ryherd, the petition stated."
You might wonder, whether you are a resident of New Hampshire or not, what the Local Government Center is, and why I might think it is important. It is important because New Hampshire is largely made up of small towns run by amateurs (viz. non-degreed, non-compensated and often inexperienced citizens engaging in governance -- hey, this is what democracy looks like), and amateurs don't always know what they are or should or should not be doing. The LGC is Here to Help, and to reduce the load of attorney's fees for those towns which have the sense to consult an attorney -- and especially those towns which do not have the sense to consult an attorney. I've spent some time on the phone to the LGC. They are helpful people. If someone really needs to be fired, they won't get in the way. They'll help you make sure you do the process correctly -- and they'll help you make sure you don't fire someone for inappropriate cause. Skipping this step sounds horribly, horribly, horribly wrong.
Further ETA: I have since heard that there were several lawyers in the room when the select board went into non-public session: a couple for the town and one for Goulden. None were the town's usual attorney; he apparently avoids personnel issues. Two people recused themselves for voting; one of them a relative of the subject of the drug bust. The remaining three voted unanimously and a good friend of mine pointed out to me that whatever I might think of the rest of the board, I have a lot of respect for Mr. Putney. I trust his intelligence, his integrity, and his caution when it comes to taking such a drastic action. So. I'm now thinking once again that perhaps there was a lot to the story that did not make it into Ms. Bernstein's article.