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According to Gardner City Clerk’s Office, the Source of Disinformation That Led to the Attempted Steal of James Boone’s Monty Tech School Committee Seat was Mayor Mike Nicholson

March 19, 2022

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About Contributing Journalist Scott J. Graves in his own words

Scott J. Graves, Esq., B.S. Biology, M.S. Pharmacology, J.D. Law – Father, Born-and-Bred Gardnerien-American, Gardner Native of Acadien Heritage, Gardner High School Class of 1982, Gardner Citizen-Voter, Gardner Homeowner/Taxpayer, 30-year Gardner Business Owner, 30-year Gardner Lawyer, former 16-year Gardner City Councillor, former Gardner City Council President, and former Gardner City Solicitor and Head of the City of Gardner Law Department.

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GARDNER GOVERNMENT WATCH

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”

______________________________________________

March 19, 2022

In response to Gardner Government Watch’s Public Records Request to Monty Tech, GGW has obtained information from Monty Tech concerning the recent attempt by the City of Gardner City Council (the City’s Legislature) and the City of Gardner School Committee on Feb. 22, 2022 to take Monty Tech School Committee member, James Boone’s, seat away from him two years before his term was set to expire.

The City of Gardner blamed Monty Tech Superintendent, Dr. Sheila Harrity, for this.  The City of Gardner stated that it was Dr. Harrity herself who had informed the City of Gardner that there was a legal vacancy in the Monty Tech School Committee seat held by James Boone.

In fact, the City of Gardner City Council and School Committee was so sure about this allegation against Dr. Harrity that they voted unanimously at their Feb. 22, 2022 “Joint Convention” to obtain an explanation from the culprit – Dr. Harrity herself. 

Here is the accusatory demand sent by the City of Gardner to Dr. Harrity’s lawyers:

“Your Superintendent, Dr. Harrity, recently contacted the City of Gardner to claim that a vacancy existed in the position held by Gardner Member (of the Monty Tech School Committee) James Boone who was duly appointed to a 4 year term on Feb. 20, 2020,” and demanded that Monty Tech’s legal counsel provide “the legal and factual basis for this claimed vacancy.”

In records obtained by GGW, Monty Tech vehemently and sternly denies that it had anything to do with this disturbing affair. 

Monty Tech flat out denies that Dr. Harrity or her office ever contacted the City of Gardner claiming that Boone’s seat was up for grabs.

Monty Tech explains that all they did was what they always do – their usual and routine due diligence in the summer of 2021. 

There are 22 communities that have Monty Tech School Committee members, each with different ways of electing them or appointing them.  In Gardner, for example, we have an “election” by Joint Convention of the City Council and the School Committee to do this. 

It is Monty Tech’s responsibility to keep track of all these terms of all the Members from 22 communities.  It takes a great deal of administrative legwork and organization to confirm with all 22 municipalities that all Monty Tech School Committee Members’ terms of office are still active – and to make sure Monty Tech knows when each one is set to expire. 

These are all staggered terms (even within the same municipality they can be staggered – as is the case with Gardner’s two members) – and they all expire at different times.  There are many moving parts. Monty Tech must rely upon the assumption that the sending municipality, Gardner in this case, is telling the truth. 

In doing their due diligence, Monty Tech simply asked the City of Gardner for the expiration date of Boone’s current term of office on the MT School Committee.

The City of Gardner then responded in August 2021 by telling Dr. Harrity’s office that “per Mayor Nicholson,” Boone’s term of office was going to expire in “January of 2022.”

That was false information.

Based on the false information, Gardner led Monty Tech to believe that Boone’s term of office was naturally going to expire in January 2022.  Monty Tech has no other responsibility other than to take Gardner’s word as the truth.

In circular reasoning fashion, the false information that the City of Gardner claimed was directly from Mayor Nicholson, furnished the justification for City of Gardner City Council President, Elizabeth Kazinskas, to officially put Boone’s position up for grabs. 

So, President Kazinskas scheduled the “Joint Convention” to be held on Feb. 22, 2022 to do just that. 

Again, the person who would have replaced Boone at the Joint Convention, if it had gone forward, is a relative of the City of Gardner Mayor, Mike Nicholson. Just coincidentally, after GGW’s inquiries and demands, the Joint Convention did not go forward to take Boone’s seat that night. 

They “put it off” in lieu of demanding an explanation from Dr. Harrity’s lawyers – as quoted above. 

Interestingly, in other records obtained by Gardner Government Watch pursuant to a Public Records Request, Mayor Nicholson claims that he was “barred” from “participating” at all in the matter regarding the stealing of Boone’s seat on the Monty Tech School Committee because the “ethics commission” told him he, the Mayor, had a “conflict.”

The Mayor has not disclosed what his “conflict” was.

The Mayor claims that the Ethics Commission told him that he was “not allowed to participate in anything” regarding Boone’s MT School Committee seat because of his “conflict.”

In these records obtained by GGW, 6 days after the Feb. 22nd Joint Convention the Mayor expressed relief that his “conflict” is now “over.”  The Mayor stated that, “I couldn’t agree more” with the fact that Boone’s seat was never up for grabs.

Therefore, apparently, the Mayor knew all along that Boone’s seat on the Monty Tech School Committee was never up for grabs.  Yet, information allegedly coming from (according to the City of Gardner) the Mayor himself put Boone’s seat up for grabs in the first place. 

Mayor Nicholson claims he was prohibited from interceding to stop this (ostensibly) “official” theft of Boone’s MT School Committee seat, even though he always knew it was never up for grabs, because the Ethics Commission said so.

In records obtained by GGW, the Mayor went on to explain that his “conflict” was “over,” 6 days after the botched Joint Convention.  Then, he claims, he could then, and only then, do something.

The Mayor explains that when his “conflict” was “over,” he could finally tell City Council President, Elizabeth Kazinskas, what to do.  So, he then gave President Elizabeth Kazinskas his permission to let the Clerk do her job and give Boone his oath.

After the Mayor told President Elizabeth Kazinskas that she had the green light from him to go ahead and let the Clerk give Boone his oath, the Clerk immediately obeyed and did so (the very next day – March 1, 2022).

It is interesting to note that Boone (and Gardner Government Watch) had been pleading with the Clerk since before the botched Feb. 22nd Joint Convention and since to simply give Boone the oath, and be done with it.

She refused.  Now we know why.

The Mayor states that this will “alleviate everything” now.

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