Three months and still, ‘no comment’ on Turgiss
NASHUA – Three months after allegations surfaced that city Assessing Department employee Greg Turgiss regularly slept while on the job, officials remain tight-lipped regarding the “independent investigation” Mayor Jim Donchess ordered to determine the proper course of action.
In a related matter, the New Hampshire Board of Tax and Land Appeals will be evaluating the city’s assessing practices during a hearing, which is set for 9 a.m. today at 107 Pleasant St., Concord.
The entire saga started several months ago when Berkeley Street resident Laurie Ortolano began questioning the methods through which city employees performed property valuations. Later, she paid a private investigator $8,000 to follow Turgiss, which resulted in the accusations that Turgiss had been taking naps at times he was supposedly working.
Ortolano then found police reports from 2006, alleging Turgiss and another former city employee used city-owned computers to observe adult pornography during work.
Shortly thereafter, Donchess informed The Telegraph the city had hired Manchester-based attorney Mark Broth of Drummond Woodsum to investigate regarding Turgiss.
With the outside counsel’s investigation having been initiated around the second week of May, there has been no update from either the city or Broth regarding any progress made.
“All inquiries regarding the investigation should be directed to the city,” Broth said last Tuesday through an email exchange. “I do not intend to comment on, or otherwise provide information regarding the investigation.”
Meanwhile, officials at City Hall have either continued to decline to comment on the issue or instead defer to other points of contact, including the city’s Corporation Counsel Steve Bolton, who said he is not the contact for the investigation.
Nashua Administrative Services Director Kim Kleiner, who now oversees the Assessing Department, has also declined any inquiries involving Turgiss and the ongoing investigation.
“You know I can’t comment on that,” Kleiner said on Friday. “It’s a personnel issue.”
While there has been no update, Ortolano – who has been vocal in her crusade to generate change within the department – on Monday expressed disappointment regarding the city’s refusal to comment.
“They’re being very quiet and they’re not giving any feedback, and it just doesn’t seem that things are quite right up there,” she said. “I’m just really disappointed. It is amazing to me that they haven’t figured out what is going on.”
As word from the city on Broth’s investigation remains silent, the New Hampshire Board of Tax and Land Appeals will be evaluating the city during today’s hearing. On June 23, the city filed a motion to the BTLA asking to delay the hearing, citing an ongoing investigation into management issues.
“The city engaged a major law firm to investigate certain management issues within the Assessing Department to which the board’s orders allude,” the motion states, in part.
The motion also references the city’s plan to complete a full measure and list reassessment for the tax year of 2022 in its reasoning for asking for the BTLA to delay the hearing beyond Oct. 1.
The board denied the motion, stating that despite the city’s plans to improve the department, the BTLA finds that conducting the hearing is still warranted and appropriate.
Mathew Plamondon may be reached at 594-1244, or firstname.lastname@example.org, @telegraph_MatP.