The Derry Town Council will make a greater effort toward civility, after an honest discussion at the May 21 Council meeting. Chairman Michael Fairbanks, citing comments in previous meetings that “meetings were not being run as they should,” referred to Robert’s Rules of Order. Council members should be allowed to finish their statements, he said, without being interrupted.
“If it’s a point of order, it should be brought up,” Fairbanks said.
Fairbanks recognized the fact that, “Promoting one’s own position should be expected. Being disrespectful is not.” The varied viewpoints, he said, are why the town has a multi-person Council.
“Under no circumstances,” Fairbanks said, “are anyone’s motives to be attacked.”
New councilor Al Dimmock observed, “Before I was on the Council, I was told we do not run under Robert’s Rules.”
The classic guidebook for meetings is a fallback position, Councilor Neil Wetherbee clarified, saying, “Anything not covered by the Town Council rules falls to Robert’s Rules.”
Councilor Brad Benson, referring to comments in a previous public hearing, called them “derogatory, accusatory and inflammatory.” He said he had asked Fairbanks to investigate them.
Fairbanks said he did, and had determined that they were “questions, opinions, suggestions, requests.” In his opinion, he said, there was no way to respond to them.
“If I veer off course,” Fairbanks said, “I am counting on you other six to get me back.”
In other business, the Council discussed the remaining iPads that were purchased last June for Council use.
Resident Kelly Martin expressed concern that they were “sitting on shelves” and as technology progressed, they would not be useful.
Town Administrator John Anderson said the iPads are currently being used in the town’s GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping program, and five staff members were out in the field with the iPads the day before.