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Two elected officials may seek spots on board of former LGC subsidiary HealthTrust

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 08. 2013 7:28PM

CONCORD — Two elected officials said they may attempt to be elected to the board of HealthTrust, a former New Hampshire Local Government Center subsidiary, despite being left off an incumbent-dominated slate of candidates forwarded by a nominating committee.

“I do hope that the HealthTrust membership will come out to vote for me,” said Catherine Cheney, a Dover councilor who was among the first public officials to challenge surpluses of taxpayer money held by the former LGC, which has since reorganized into three separate nonprofit corporations.

Cheney was not included in the HealthTrust board nominating committee’s slate, which included seven incumbent board members of the nine names put forward. Upon learning Cheney was left off the slate in favor of incumbent municipal officials Shelagh Connelly and John MacLean and newcomer Allan Krans, the executive director of the Dover Housing Authority, the Dover City Council adopted resolutions last week endorsing Cheney for the board and giving her the power to vote at the meeting on behalf of Dover.

“The City of Dover has sent a pretty clear message that they want me nominated to the board of directors,” Cheney said. “What we feel is that somebody that is elected is best able to serve the citizens, the employees that are being supported by this risk pool and their cost for health insurance and, because I was chosen by the council, I can best represent the City of Dover.”

Sutton Select Board member Ricia McMahon, a former state House representative, said she also hopes to be included on a ballot at Tuesday’s meeting. She said she was surprised when she learned she wasn’t part of the recommended slate, given that the slate of candidates includes just one elected municipal official, Holderness Selectman Shelagh Connelly.

“I was disappointed that they didn’t choose me,” McMahon said. “(The board) should be more diversified.”

According to HealthTrust’s bylaws, the board “shall comprise eleven directors each serving in one of the following categories: municipal public officials, school public officials, employee officials or county public officials.”

The bylaws say there must be four school public officials, one county public official and three each from municipal public officials or employee officials from the rank and file who are not top officials, such as department heads.

HealthTrust Executive Director Peter Bragdon said Cheney would be welcome to put her name forward. He said the committee will present its endorsed slate and nominations from the floor would also be welcomed. The endorsed slate includes just one employee official, though Bragdon said he has discussed with a representative of organized labor the possibility of having two further rank-and-file employee candidates.

In the case of any challenges, he said, individual elections will be held for those spots.

“When all is said and done, it’s up to the members of HealthTrust to choose the board of directors,” Bragdon said. “The (slate) obviously has a lot of incumbents on it, but it’s not the final say.”

The nominations were due Nov. 6, and the HealthTrust board on Nov. 22 adopted what Bragdon said was a clarification that outlines who can vote on behalf of members. He said it did not affect the nomination process.

The new rules give priority in voting — each member political subdivision may have only one vote — should more than one person come to an annual meeting saying they want to vote on behalf of that member and outline who is permitted to vote for the member.

The election comes as HealthTrust, along with other LGC entities, await a state Supreme Court decision of the entities’ appeal of a state Bureau of Securities Regulation order to return more than $53 million to member political subdivisions that was deemed improperly taken from members. The order came after more than a decade of LGC fighting efforts to force it to open up its operations. LGC has spent more than $2 million in taxpayer funds in legal defense since the BSR began questioning its operations.

The slate of nominees includes seven of the board’s eight current members — Laconia City Manager Scott Myers did not seek reappointment — and two new nominees: Krans and Jill Sheing, human resources and payroll coordinator for Strafford County, according to a list provided by Bragdon.

“With everything they’ve been through, you’d think they want some new blood,” McMahon said.

Should the nominating committee’s slate be accepted Tuesday, Krans and Sheing would join Peter J. Curro, Daniel Rossner and Michelle Clark, each of whom is a business administrator for school districts, Keene City Manager MacLean, Hollis-Brookline school district budget committee member Thomas Enright, Holderness Select Board Chairman Connelly and Rockingham County Register of Deeds Cathy Ann Stacey.

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