Activist, officials in Facebook feud
MILFORD – Ongoing conflicts over the Brox property spilled onto social media recently after a resident complained about "an unpleasant encounter" with Suzanne Fournier when she tried to take her two-year-old son for a ride on a battery-operated vehicle on the town-owned land.
Fournier is the leader of a group called Brox Environmental Citizens, which has been trying to block development of the property. Motorized vehicles are not allowed there, and in her posting on the Milford, NH Residents Facebook page, Jenni Lee, the mother, said Fournier harassed her about bringing the Power Wheels to the property.
Three town officials responded on the website with their own complaints about Fournier
Planning board member and former selectman Tim Finan wrote that "Suzanne has been harassing town officials, local developers and (as we now know) random citizens simply trying to use our land … She will be trying to block any and all development or use."
Janet Langdell, planning board vice chairwoman, wrote that "citizens would be appalled by the number of hours and dollars that the town and boards have had to expend on dealing with her and this mystery group she purports to represent."
In a long posting, Bill Parker, the town’s community development director and a Milford resident, thanked posters for taking a stand.
"We have been waiting for some situation to bring the actions of this organization’s leadership out in the open and expose its misdirected efforts," he wrote, calling Fournier the "self-appointed coordinator of a small, yet vocal environmental group that has no authority to tell people what they can do on the property" and whose "communications are filled with untruths and information deliberately taken out of context."
Fournier, he said, has spent the past three-plus years "lodging repeated right-to-know requests, filing complaints with the NH Department of Environmental Services, usurping valuable staff time (at a time when already minimal staff is being cut) and harassing her direct neighbors with fraudulent zoning complaints."
Asked to comment on the Facebook postings, Fournier, in an email, called them inappropriate.
"The FB posts cannot justify these town employees and officials jumping in with their own backlog of criticism and lash out as they did in such a biased and unprofessional way.
"They assumed that what they were reading was true, without checking for facts," she wrote, and it is "shameful that any town employee or board member would complain about a citizen using the right-to-know law for its intended purposes," she said.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.