Chief Brett Walker and Deputy Kevin Gelineau Sworn In at Seabrook Police Department

New Police Chief Brett Walker and new Deputy Chief Kevin Gelineau were sworn in Tuesday March 3, 2020 at Seabrook Town Hall. The Seabrook Board of Selectmen hosted an event attended by a large group of law enforcement professionals from across New Hampshire, including New Hampshire Commissioner of Public Safety Robert Quinn. Congratulations to both Chief Walker and Deputy Gelineau, who bring new and innovative leadership to the Seabrook Police Department. It was great to see former Chief Michael Gallagher and former Chief Dave Currier on hand for the ceremony.

Police Swearing In

Chief Walker and Deputy Gelineau

Chief Walker

Chief Walker Sworn In

Deputy Gelineau

Deputy Gelineau is sworn in.

Chief Walker Pinned

Chief Walker is Pinned by his wife.

Deputy Gelineau Pinned

Deputy Gelineau pinned by his Children.

With the Board

With the Board

Police Chiefs

With former Chiefs Dave Currier and Michael Gallagher

With Seabrook Police Department

With Seabrook Police Department

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New Game Room at Seabrook Recreation

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen welcomed Lowes to their Monday meeting, where they accepted a donation of $2500 that Lowes made to help with the refurbishing of the Recreation Game room. The Board of Selectmen expressed their gratitude for the generous donation, and then joined Lowes Monday afternoon to cut the ribbon on the new Game Room. Special shout out to Cassandra Carter of Recreation, and a big thank you to Director Katie Duffey and the entire staff for this great work. Thank you to Lowes for being a great partner to the Town of Seabrook.

Board of Selectmen

The Board of Selectmen accept gift from Lowe’s

Ribbon Cutting

Cutting the ribbon on the new Seabrook Recreation Game Room.

Game Room Lowe's Picture

In the new Game Room with Lowe’s

The Game Room

The Game Room

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Seabrook Democratic Presidential Primary Results 2020

Seabrook Democratic Presidential Primary Results

Pete Buttigieg 325

Bernie Sanders 243

Amy Klobuchar 165

Joe Biden 148

Elizabeth Warren 96

Tom Steyer 81

Tulsi Gabbard 46

Andrew Yang 33

Deval Patrick 11

Michael Bennet 4

Others 8

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A Review of “Holding the Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon With Secretary Mattis”

Holding the Line: Inside Trump's Pentagon with Secretary MattisHolding the Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis by Guy Snodgrass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I saw this book as an opportunity to learn more about Jim Mattis and how he fared in the Trump Administration. I have become somewhat fascinated with Mattis, his philosophy, and how that philosophy manifested itself during his tenure as Secretary of Defense for Donald Trump. I bought the book on that basis, and it added some insight on Mattis and the so called “adults in the room” that existed for a short period in the Trump Administration. How did Mattis get on with Rex Tillerson, with National Security advisor H.R. McMaster, and others, and especially with Trump? Again the book offers some insight, but mixes that insight with the personal and professional tenure of the author, who worked as a speechwriter for Mattis. We are forced to endure the office politics, which invariably reflect badly on everyone. The author mixes in some office score settling with the book, which drove down my enjoyment of the work, and my rating.

The marriage of Trump and Mattis was unlikely to succeed not because of personality, but because they have fundamentally opposite world views. The differences were evident even before Mattis was offered the job. Mattis himself believed that his “interview” with Trump had not gone well, and that he would not be offered the job. From the book:

“Despite Trump’s words, the interview hadn’t instilled much confidence in Mattis about his chances. His conversation with Trump was friendly enough, but he had “disagreed with the president-elect on every one of the main points that he raised.” Their most memorable exchange occurred when Trump told Mattis that he supported the use of waterboarding on prisoners of war. Mattis disagreed, saying, “I’ve never found it to be useful. Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.” Having disagreed so much with the president-elect, Mattis told us that he thought, Well, thanks for the invite, as he pretended to dust his hands off. I certainly won’t be hearing back from those guys. Nonetheless, Trump’s appreciation for Mattis appeared to increase in the weeks following his interview. Having decided to select Mattis as his nominee for secretary of defense, he teased the announcement at a December 1 victory rally in Cincinnati, the first stop on his “Thank You” tour around the country after the election. “We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defense,” Trump announced to raucous cheers, “He’s the closest thing to General George Patton we have.”

Snodgrass, Guy . Holding the Line (p. 28). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The differences between them went well beyond using torture. Trump’s attacks on NATO, his attacking of Asian ally South Korea, both on trade and on contributions to U.S. defense efforts on the Korean peninsula, his cozy relationship with Vlad Putin, all brought tension to the relationship. Mattis tried, quietly, to stay under the radar politically, while exercising influence on Trump policy wise. Snodgrass gives us a highlight of an early meeting at the Pentagon, attended by the President and all of the major players, including Tillerson, Pence, Kushner, Bannon, Cohn, and others, with General Mattis as the host. Mattis prepared methodically, creating a slide deck that attempted to show the benefits of U.S. “forward deployment.”

“Good morning, Mr. President,” he began. “Today I’d like to show you our global laydown of forces, a forward presence created by the greatest generation from the ashes of World War II. These men returned home and said, ‘What a crummy world, but we’re a part of it,’ before rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. From World War II, we learned the hard way that we had to be forward deployed . . . that we can’t defend effectively from America’s one-yard line. Our presence abroad also supports millions of American jobs at home by ensuring the free and unfettered flow of global trade, and that our economy is the real engine of our national defense.” President Trump crossed his arms and scowled.”

Snodgrass, Guy . Holding the Line (p. 73). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The meeting went downhill from there, with Trump simply rejecting or contradicting, mid-stream, the presentation and the points Mattis was trying to make.

From the book:

“Mattis continued with his briefing, walking through in exacting detail the force ratios in each major geographic location. He sought to convince President Trump that our allies and partners put forward far more troops in support of stability abroad than America does. In short, America gets a good deal from an overseas military presence…

Mattis’s third slide triggered a stronger response from Trump. A visual depiction of our Pacific posture, this slide zoomed in on the US forces located in Japan and South Korea—forces that had kept the peace in both countries for more than six decades. It detailed the numbers of troops in each country, the cost to American taxpayers, and the costs borne by our allies to support forces in their country. Mattis made the point that America had been willing to accept unfair terms following World War II in order to get both countries back on their feet, but that now would be an opportune time to update our trade agreements should Trump desire to do so….

Over time Mattis began to shut down, sitting back in his chair with a distant, defeated look on his face. He had cared so much about this meeting, had poured his heart and soul into it, and had believed firmly in his ability to bring Trump around to his way of thinking. None of his attempts were working. From our vantage point, Mattis was playing a game of chess against a president fixated on “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

Snodgrass, Guy . Holding the Line (pp. 74-75, p. 79). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Mattis and Trump, intrinsically, are just not on the same page policy or disposition wise. Mattis is extremely disciplined and careful, sometimes to a fault. He is a voracious reader. Trump is ill-disciplined, does not read, and prefers to operate from instinct. In my view it was not a marriage designed to last.

There were some interesting Mattis quotes, which I am believe add some value to any discussion, as well as some quotes that give an indication of his more hard edged military demeanor. Let’s look at two of the military ones:

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet”

“Always carry a knife with you. Just in case there’s cheesecake, or you need to stab someone in the throat.”

Snodgrass, Guy . Holding the Line (p. 18-19). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The non-military quote that I believe to be worthwhile from General Mattis:

“Bus, never forget that we all have an expiration date. Every day that passes brings you one day closer to the end of your tenure.” He paused for a few seconds, reflecting. “Especially in a political job. You never know when the end will come, so make the most of the time you have.”

Snodgrass, Guy . Holding the Line (p. 139). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The second is not a quote, but an observation from the author on what kind of leader General Mattis is:

“Mattis believes there are only two types of organizations: one where the leader directs and assigns tasks, or a second variation, where the staff informs the leader of where to go and what to do. A longtime military commander, Mattis was clearly in the first camp. Using his staff, he would direct the Pentagon. The Pentagon would never direct him.

Snodgrass, Guy . Holding the Line (p. 47). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

That observation is so important. Nothing against staff but if you place a person with insufficient ability into a major position of responsibility and they simply “follow staff direction” then you are heading for trouble, or a tenure that accomplishes little. Mattis is, in my opinion, 100% correct on that point. .

I took some good value from the book, but would repeat the criticism that the book had two separate areas of focus, and for me that was a negative. Author Guy Snodgrass is retired military, and he definitely took this opportunity to even the score with a few administrative rivals. He also did not hero worship Mattis, pointing out what he considered to be deficiencies, but at times it appeared that he might have been settling a score or two with the General himself. I will be looking for more on Mattis, a fascinating figure, but this was a good start.

View all my reviews

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Seabrook Town Warrant 2020

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen have finalized the 2020 Town Warrant, which is now posted. The Town Deliberative Session will be on February 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Seabrook Community Center. The Town election will be on March 10.

I have provided the Board of Selectmen with an analysis of the data contained in the Warrant. The analysis contains a breakdown of requested articles and FY 2020 tax impacts by department. The full memo is attached below. The summary, without the departmental spending, is directly below:

This memo will provide the raw data associated with the 2020 warrant, and will break down that data by department. While there are several ways to look at these numbers I have chosen to examine the articles in the context of the 2020 tax impacts. After the election I will produce the annual capital report which will highlight other facets of capital spending.

The total of requested warrant articles in 2020 is $3,079,656. This is a reduction of $2,910,469 from the 2019 warrant requests of $5,990,125. That is a significant reduction, based on the Board effort to stabilize capital spending, and frankly having addressed some major capital spending needs in prior years. The number should be further reduced by $143,727, the amount sought for reauthorizing water exploration money that had been prior approved, with that source of funding being the water capital reserve. Once that prior appropriation is removed the number requested for this year dips to $2,935,929. As we examine the 2020 numbers our focus will be on the FY 2020 tax impacts, so we will, for this exercise, focus on one year, and show future tax impacts separately.
Other items of note include the fact that the Police number includes $100,000 that comes from a citizens article. The overall warrant contains $165,000 in funding capital accounts that are pre-payments on future capital obligations. Additionally the Police request for radio equipment through bond financing is funded through the newly created communication revolving fund. There will be no taxpayer impacts, in FY2020, or into the future, as that revolving fund derives its funds from lease payments made to Seabrook by Verizon (Police/Fire Tower) and by T-Mobile (Water Tower Lease.) New personnel costs included in these numbers are $190,492. Those would rise in following years.
The tax impacts for FY 2020, if all requested articles are passed, would be $1,309,822.

The Seabrook Town Warrant 2020

Board Memo 2020 Warrant Analysis Pre election

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Greater Hampton Chamber 2020 Annual Dinner and Award Night

I was delighted to attend the Hampton Chamber of Commerce annual dinner and award night, held in Seabrook at “The Brook.” The Chamber had a sold out audience of 240 people at the event, all getting a great look at the new facility at the old Yankee Greyhound Park. I was very honored to receive the “President’s Award” from Chamber President (and fellow Central Catholic alumni) John Nyhan, recognizing Seabrook for its outstanding economic development. I look forward to working with John and the Chamber in 2020 on regional economic development, which benefits all of the New Hampshire communities on the seacoast. My thanks to John for the award, and for a wonderful evening that had great conversation, great fun, and terrific food, along with a little bit of economic development.

Team Seabrook

Team Seabrook at Hampton Chamber Annual Dinner in Seabrook

Manzi Family

At the Hampton Chamber Annual Dinner

John Nyhan Presidents Award

Receiving Presidents Award from John Nyhan of Greater Hampton Chamber

Jim Jalbert

With Jim Jalbert of CJ Bus at the Hampton Chamber Annual Dinner

Senator Sherman

With Senator Sherman at Chamber dinner.

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Mayor Neil Perry Inaugural Address

Mayor Neil Perry delivered his Inaugural Address on January 6th, 2020 at Methuen High School. I was honored to be with all of the former Mayors and dignitaries on hand to enjoy the wonderful Inaugural event. The speech is below. Great to see so many old friends and colleagues at the event.

With Emcee Ryan Hamilton

With Inaugural emcee Ryan Hamilton

Mayor DiZoglio Matt Kraunelis

With former Mayor DiZoglio and ex Chief of Staff Matt Kraunelis

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Seabrook Announces Collective Bargaining Agreement with Firefighters

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen announced a contract agreement with the Seabrook Firefighters Association Local 2847 this week. The three year contract has no wage adjustment for FY 2020, FY2021, and FY 2022, with a 3% wage increase in January of 2023. Thanks to the Board of Selectmen and the Professional Firefighters for all of their work on this contract. There were three “open” contracts in this cycle, and the Board of Selectmen reached agreement with all three. This contract will be on the ballot in March.

Fire Union Contract Agreement

The Board of Selectmen announce a new collective bargaining agreement with the Fire Union

Three Union Agreements

All 3 unions that were open have reached agreement with Seabrook.

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Seabrook Announces Collective Bargaining Agreement with Police Association

The Board of Selectmen announced a one year contract agreement with the Seabrook Police Association, affiliated with Teamsters Local 633, this week. The agreement will have a “true zero” for FY 2020, with a 2.5% wage adjustment beginning January 1, 2021. There are educational and longevity incentives included, and those changes are also deferred until January 2021. This unit has been without a contract for several years. My thanks to the Teamsters, the SPA, and the Board of Selectmen, who worked very hard on this agreement.

Seabrook Police Coolective Bargaining Agreement

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen announce Collective Bargaining Agreement with SPA

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Seabrook Announces Collective Bargaining Agreement with SEA

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen announced this week a one year Collective Bargaining agreement with the Seabrook Employees Association, affiliated with Teamsters Local 633. The SEA is the largest of the Town of Seabrook’s employee unions, covering our DPW, Water, Sewer and some Police and Fire employees, as well as most of the clerical staff. This one year agreement will be on the ballot in March 2020, and would become effective, if passed, on April 1, 2020.
The contract has a “true zero” for FY 2020, with a wage increase of 50 cents per hour beginning on January 1, 2021. On the management side we appreciate the work and good faith shown in the negotiations by the SEA and Teamsters Local 633. The Board of Selectmen worked very hard on this contract and deserve recognition for that effort. This unit has been without a contract since 2017.

SEA Contract Announce

The Board of Selectmen announce a one year CBA with the SEA

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