After reading of the actions of our assistant mayor disclosing privileged information on Facebook, I must weigh in.

Mr. Splaine, wants to focus the attention on the “Goodwin/Webber” matter. This issue of Splaine’s disclosure of privileged information has absolutely nothing to do with “Goodwin/Webber.”

The issue is multi-faceted. Splaine has a good faith belief that laws are being violated. Given his years of public service, he should know that any redress shall come from the courts or the N.H. Attorney General’s office. For him to make a conscious and overtly wrong decision to publish confidential facts on a Facebook page is not civil disobedience or exercising poor judgment. His actions rise to meet all standards of culpability. His oath made him fully aware of the obligations of his office. If Mr. Splaine felt there was such egregious action going on in Portsmouth with “non-meetings”, then his remedy should have been judicial or legislative. It was not to make a unilateral decision. He is quoted as saying, “what happens in a so-called ‘non-meeting’ is supposed to be kept confidential between the attendees.” There is no clearer acknowledgement of this. On Facebook Splaine says, “Up to a point, the hell with that. I have come to realize that the only way I can effectively try to limit the content and frequency of such closed-door sessions, and the secrecy that surrounds them, is to reveal what, in good conscience, I feel should be public,”

It is clear that the City Council does not have the unity to do the right thing and send this matter to the Superior Court under RSA 91-A:7 and A:8. These statutes spell out what rises to a violation. His actions created the prima facie case. The council is obligated to start the process. The mayor spoke and said, “I don’t think it rises to the level of removal, I hope he doesn’t resign.” The council was elected to do the right thing which includes having to do the painful and unpopular errand. I don’t think Mr. Splaine should be given the proverbial Portsmouth Mulligan by the council. If this is not done, this will set a precedent that will plague this council, and others to come. We have become so much like the Wild West in this city.

Councilor Dwyer sponsored a motion with an amendment to have the AG’s office determine the legality of his actions. Any legal determination of Splaine’s actions should be done by the court. The AG’s office is simply a law firm and the state’s general counsel. They do not determine the legality of anything. They interpret statues and render advice and counsel.

Elected government here is off the rails. The School Board members just decided who would fill a vacancy. The mayor and council acknowledged a gross breach of Mr. Splaine and chose not to let the law do its job. Rogue police commissioners have unilaterally filed motions in court that received the most severe admonishment the judge, “However, that said, It cautions Commissioner Onosko and other parties that in the future it may not look so generously upon misguided or ill-considered motions brought before or action taken in this Court.”

We have the Police Commission that has not made hiring a chief their first responsibility. And lastly we have private taxpayers filing suit regarding an already approved sewer treatment plant.

It is time that we demand a higher standard, and our elected officials agree to adhere to it. (They need to) stop the double standard and quest for political correctness and do their jobs as elected officials. Everyone sits idly by and decries the great injustices in this city but nobody wants to provide solutions.

T. Stephen McCarthy is a Portsmouth resident.