Hiring of Town Manager

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Postby joe179 » Sat Dec 14, 2002 9:49 am

Pat,

I would think that since the RSA on the table is known by the alternate name of "Right to Know Law", it's intent is to ensure the general pubic is informed in a timely manner. Just b/c the RSA does not spell out the means of disclosure, should not dictate the unapproved minutes be guarded in the attic of town hall, and that people are charged a fee to obtain them. If this is the case, the town would be basically making these public documents unavailable as people would not want the hassle. Wouldn't it be simple to just post the "unapproved" minutes on the web site with a disclaimer?

As far as the approved minutes, RSA or not, there is a matter of reasonableness to consider in the timeframe between approval and posting.

Intent---is the order of the day...[/i]
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Postby Mark Fitzgerald » Sat Dec 14, 2002 10:03 am

Carolyn,

Thats was the best description I've read of the problem we are experiencing today. Being a Selectman is a job thats awarded based on the public's trust you'll work to understand the issues that face us. Over the last few years however the position is more ceremonial than anything else. Its wonderful to hand out certs of appreciation, open parks and host retirement dinners but this is all window dressing. I can't recall the last time any real difficult issues were openly debated and a firm decision made. The highlight of some member's evening is consistently "2nding" the acceptance of minutes and motion to adjourn. Why bother being there?

McCray really is trying to bring some professionalism back in and nobody can accuse Nancy of not speaking her mind, but the others simply say nothing and the matter is left unresolved. Worse, they vote a certain way and we have no idea WHY. A prime example was the $2,000,000 for a transfer station within the $6,000,000 Mast Road proposal. We never heard any of the BOS even acknowledge this existed nor did they ever tell us why they felt it was required.
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Postby Carolyn G. Whitlock » Sat Dec 14, 2002 1:29 pm

Mark,

Let me give you an example of what I meant when I said, "My suggestions for long-term planning were often disregarded, partly because implementing them would have requried unwanted extra meetings."

One of the things that I found shocking when I became a selectman was that the selectmen did not create a list of goals and objectives. As a board, the selectmen had no defined direction for guidance in decision making.

I brought to the table a suggestion that the selectmen, town administrators, and department heads schedule a meeting where they could all put forth their priorities for the coming year and develop that into a set of goals and objectives.

My suggestion was met with a lot of resistance from my fellow selectmen, who used words/phrases such as "micromanaging" and "extra meetings." I was unable to convince the other selectmen of the value of working for the common good as a team with the high level town employees.

Although it didn't happen while I was a selectman, I believe the BOS does now have some sort of list of goals but I don't think it is created via a team approach.
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Postby Brian McCarthy » Sat Dec 14, 2002 3:05 pm

The BOS has a tracking report - however, they have to request items get put on and taken off and the review of that report is not done at each meeting.

In the previous forum I used the traffic lights by BK at exit 11 as an example of something the BOS voted on but has been forgotten. It still has. They don't track/follow up on decisions they make.

If I voted to make something happen, I would make sure it got on SOME list somewhere and that list was reviewed on a regular basis (at least once a month I would think) to see how decisions I voted on were followed up on. More work, yes but I would consider it part of the job.


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Postby Brian McCarthy » Sat Dec 14, 2002 3:31 pm

The BOS has a tracking report - however, they have to request items get put on and taken off and the review of that report is not done at each meeting.

In the previous forum I used the traffic lights by BK at exit 11 as an example of something the BOS voted on but has been forgotten. It still has. They don't track/follow up on decisions they make.

If I voted to make something happen, I would make sure it got on SOME list somewhere and that list was reviewed on a regular basis (at least once a month I would think) to see how decisions I voted on were followed up on. More work, yes but I would consider it part of the job.


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Postby Chuck Mower » Sat Dec 14, 2002 5:16 pm

Joe 179,

I post the following and challange anyone to defend the Merrimack selectmen.

TITLE VI
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
CHAPTER 91-A
ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS AND MEETINGS
Section 91-A:1
91-A:1 Preamble. – Openness in the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.
Source. 1967, 251:1. 1971, 327:1. 1977, 540:1, eff. Sept. 13, 1977.


The law is clear and vigorous in it's intent. It has been brought to the attention of the BOS numerous times and met with indifference and hostility. It is not as if the selectmen have been doing the best they can. They have been unaccountable to better performance becaus they choose so.
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Postby Chuck Mower » Sat Dec 14, 2002 5:17 pm

Joe 179,

I post the following and challange anyone to defend the Merrimack selectmen.

TITLE VI
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
CHAPTER 91-A
ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS AND MEETINGS
Section 91-A:1
91-A:1 Preamble. – Openness in the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.
Source. 1967, 251:1. 1971, 327:1. 1977, 540:1, eff. Sept. 13, 1977.


The law is clear and vigorous in it's intent. It has been brought to the attention of the BOS numerous times and met with indifference and hostility. It is not as if the selectmen have been doing the best they can. They have been unaccountable to better performance becaus they choose so.
Chuck Mower
 
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An apology

Postby Carolyn G. Whitlock » Mon Dec 16, 2002 6:28 pm

Back on November 21, I posted the following incorrect information about Betty Spence:

The previous board felt that her years of being a secretary in the Town Clerk's office, serving as the elected Town Clerk and then as the Town Manager's Executive Assistant provided her with sufficient education to serve in the capacity of Assistant and/or Town Manager.


It has been brought to my attention that Betty Spence was never a secretary. She was an Accounting Clerk and an Office Manager.

I apologize for posting incorrect information. No offense was meant.
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