Community members are pressing the Derry Town Council for answers on the process of selecting a new Town Administrator.
Earlier this summer, the Nutfield News reported that the Council had discharged Municipal Resources, Incorporated (MRI), the Meredith-based firm that was conducting the search for an administrator. At that time, Chairman Brian Chirichiello said the Council was conducting the search internally.
Residents wanted answers in the Sept. 20 Public Comment portion of the meeting.
Former Councilor Mark Osborne took the microphone to question the transparency of the Council. “During the last year, the members of the current Council campaigned on transparency,” he said. “They criticized the previous Council for its lack of transparency.”
The current Council’s “unwillingness to describe the process” brings the word “transparency” to his mind, Osborne said.
Osborne wanted to know two things: What is the process for selecting a new Administrator, and what is the timeline?
“It’s not necessarily a right process or a wrong process,” he said, “We just want to know.”
Osborne, an attorney practicing in Nashua, also pointed out, “RSA 91:A protects potential employees. It does not protect the process.”
Former Councilor Janet Fairbanks also took the microphone, addressing one question to Councilor Jim Morgan. “One of your campaign promises was to select an administrator,” she said. “Where are we on that?”
Fairbanks said, “We need an administrator, and it can’t be a friend of yours. What is the process?”
Chirichiello said he would get back to them.
In a phone interview the following day, Chirichiello confirmed that the Council is conducting its own search and that it is “ongoing. We are continuing to look for the best possible candidate out there,” he said.
“We are not looking for a ‘hatchet man’ like the previous Council did,” he said, referring to a recent Council’s fiscal policies.
They are not formally advertising the position but are using “every possible means” and “every tool available” to bring the best candidate to Derry, he said.
Since everything is done in nonpublic session, with sealed minutes, they can’t say much more, according to Chirichiello.
But, he said, “When we’re done, I fully expect people to be extremely satisfied with the result.”
Chirichiello said Derry has gotten a bad reputation in the past. “People had no interest in coming here to work,” he said. After last year’s turnover in the Council, he said, “A number of high-quality people are interested in coming here.”
Chirichiello hopes that decision will be made “sooner rather than later,” though he’s in no hurry. “Steve Daly is doing a good job,” he said of the Acting Town Administrator.