Ted Siefer's City Hall: Levasseur comes out swinging with lawsuit against city
Freshman Ward 10 Alderman Bill Barry has been meeting with department heads and will be sitting down with the city clerk and solicitor this week to discuss ideas for a uniform policy for how the city responds to right-to-know requests. Barry expects to have something to present to the Administration Committee later this month.
"Doing police work, you sometimes develop confidential informants," Barry said. "As aldermen, some of the information we get, there's no doubt in my mind, they don't want their name (released)."
Of course, Barry isn't a completely disinterested party in all of this. One of Girard's right-to-know requests concerns communications Levasseur had with critics of the Manchester Dog Park Association, which was founded and is run by Phil Greazzo, whom Barry defeated in November. Greazzo has accused Levasseur of siding with the dog park critics, along with a host of other misdeeds. More on this later.
In his suit, Levasseur accuses Girard of sending the city on a fishing expedition that netted "over 11,000 pages of emails containing Alderman Levasseur's name or email address." Girard insists that he made two very specific requests. And, as it turns out, the first of them originated with a request from, of all people, Levasseur himself.
It's Girard's subsequent request, however, that likely prompted Levasseur to seek an injunction. (Girard has already received the file containing the Union Leader-requested emails.)
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Greazzo, for his part, is not relenting in his dogged pursuit of Levasseur, even after his censure last month.
But Clark's opinion stands. He told me the section of state law cited by Greazzo is merely "a template" for a municipal charter; Manchester has a different charter, one that lacks any mechanism for the removal of an alderman by his or her colleagues, Clark said.
Ted Siefer is the City Hall reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @tbsreporter.
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