Contested races in Derry include two Town Council positions, the Town Clerk position, two School Board positions and two Library Trustee positions each in the Taylor and Derry Public libraries. Incumbent Councilor at Large Joel Olbricht is opposed by Mark Osborne for a three year term.
Incumbent District 2 Councilor David Milz is being challenged by Tom Cardon for a three year term.
Olbricht said he’s running again “to continue the great leadership we’ve got going on. We are working on goals such as economic development, and we need to keep going forward.” Osborne, a local attorney, said he is running because “I am concerned about the direction the Town Council is taking the town. Like most of you, I think they could do better.”
Osborne said spending is “unrestrained” and the fact that the town is even talking about a property tax increase is disturbing to him. “If it goes up, we will lose a lot of friends and neighbors who can’t afford to live here,” he said. Milz said he is running again because, “In the last three years we have made tremendous inroads into some of Derry’s problems.” He said what the Council is trying to accomplish, with the tax rate and the school district, needs continuity. “And,” he said, “I love Derry.”
Cardon has a history of community involvement but wants more. “I think there should be more diversity on the Council,” he said, noting that many votes are 6-1. “I think I can contribute something,” he said.
Incumbent Town Clerk Denise Neale faces a challenge from former town councilor Janet Fairbanks for a three year term.
Neale wrote in a prepared statement that she has been Town Clerk since 2006, when the office was restructured. Since then, along with her deputy, she has reorganized and streamlined procedures, which include dog licenses, marriage licenses, maintaining and preserving all town records, transcribing and posting meeting minutes, and elections. “I am committed to my profession and maintaining the resources of the town,” she said.
Fairbanks said she is running because “no one should run unopposed.” A former Town Councilor, she said she has the time to devote to the office and, as a professional bookkeeper, the office and organizational skills. There’s a three-way race for two Taylor Library trustee positions. Ed Ciancio and Kim Burke face incumbent Candace Andrews for two three-year terms.
Burke, a 19-year resident of Derry, is a volunteer at the Taylor Library, having worked on events such as the Summer Carnival. Her whole family volunteers, with her older son doing an Eagle Scout project at the library and her younger son working on events such as the carnival. “I love their programming, and want to continue their mission of providing young children with quality programming,” Burke said. “I love it there!”
Andrews, current chair of the Taylor Board of Trustees, has been on the board for three terms. She wants to run again because, she said, “I love reading! I want to work toward having everybody love reading, and help the library out.” Ciancio, a recently retired Certified Public Accountant, has lent his financial skills to Little League, the Charter Commission, and the Taylor Library. “I like doing community service, and I can lend some expertise I worked 43 years as an accountant,” Ciancio said.
Incumbent Derry Public Library trustees Elizabeth Ives and Joan Crimlisk and newcomer James Thomas, are running for two three year terms. Crimlisk is finishing her first term as a Derry Library trustee, “and I would like a second term,” she said. “Our library is a wonderful resource with its collections, audio books, e-books and the New Hampshire room, which focuses on local history. I want to continue to provide the wonderful resources we provide.”
Ives, current chair of the Derry Library trustees, is on her second stint as a trustee, having been on the board several years ago. Her current tenure has been six years, or two terms, and she is looking for a third. “I am running because I want to continue the work we’ve started,” she said. Recent projects include updating personnel policies, reorganizing the Children’s Room and “brightening up” the meeting room.
Thomas worked at a library for more than a decade, so understands the issues, he said. “They are the hidden jewels of a community,” he said of libraries. He said he wants to make sure the Derry Public Library remains open, properly funded, and with the budget necessary to advance technology as needed, be that more computers or aid to people seeking employment.
“In this tough economic climate, there is still not room for level funding, poor funding or reduced funding,” he said. He also wants to advocate for library employees, who are on a different payment system than other town employees, he said. Uncontested Town races include the District 4 Town Council seat, with Albert Dimmock the sole candidate, and a seat as Trustee of the Trust Funds, with Kevin Coyle filing for that office.
Four candidates are running for three spots on the Derry School Board. Running for three-year terms are Melanie Davis, Jeri Murphy and incumbents Brenda Willis and Ken Linehan. Willis wrote in a statement, “We have worked hard to bring about positive change, but could not have done it without the community. We have worked hard to resolve issues. I want to continue to do what’s right for our children.”
Davis, a lifelong resident of Derry, has been a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) president and wrote in a statement, “It’s important to bridge the gap between the school and community.” She said she can contribute to the board’s work because “I am a straight talker, and I believe knowledge is power.”
Murphy, a longtime volunteer at East Derry Memorial and Barka elementary schools and Gilbert H. Hood Middle School, wrote in a statement, “I have worked hard behind the scenes, and in 2010 was named a Friend of Education by the Derry Education Association. I want to work with the School District, administration and community to get our children the best education possible.” Linehan could not be reached for comment.
Election Day is March 12.