Committee Seats Raise Discussion at Town Council

In a meeting that occasionally turned contentious, the Derry Town Council appointed board and committee members to new terms for 2017 and beyond.

The names were brought forth for consideration for open positions during the April 5 Town Council meeting. While some applicants received a seamless approval, other names raised questions among various Councilors.

Ready to serve

Council chair Brian Chirichiello began with the Building and Property Maintenance Committee, for which there were three openings for one-year terms, and five applicants. Chirichiello nominated Serge Michaud, Ernest St. Pierre and John Patrick Tuohy. His three names received a second.

Councilor David Fischer nominated Albert Dimmock, who lost his bid for re-election to the Town Council at the March election. “Al has a history in the town,” Fischer said. “He is unavailable tonight due to a death in the family, but he is interested in serving.”

Fischer’s nomination received no second. Chirichiello’s original list of three names was unanimously approved.

Three full memberships, each for three-year terms, were open on the Conservation Commission, along with three alternate positions. The Council made short work of this, approving Margaret Ives, James Degnan and Neil Wetherbee to the full positions and Ryan DeSimone as the alternate.

Residents nominated to the Economic Development Committee included three-year terms, Terri Pastori, Steve DeMattia and Chris Black; two-year terms, Andrew White, Craig Cunningham, Scott Graves and Nicholas del Etoile; and one-year terms, Catherine Taylor and Christina Gosnell. These names received a second.

Fischer once again nominated Dimmock, but the nomination did not receive a second, and Chirichiello’s original slate was approved.

For two openings on the Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee, former Councilor Tom Cardon received the nod for a full membership and Chris Cox was approved for an alternate membership.

Two full positions and one alternate position were open on the Heritage Commission. Chirichiello at first nominated alternate Paul Lindemann and incumbent Rosemary Fesh for the full positions and Leonard Whitney for the alternate. Councilor Joshua Bourdon nominated longtime member Roger Konstant, but Chirichiello said Konstant’s letter came in after the deadline.

Council members supported the nomination, however, and Konstant was eventually voted back into his full position, along with Fesh, and Lindemann retained his alternate slot.

Six open one-year positions were presented for the Highway Safety Committee. Chirichiello nominated Randall Chase, Walter Deyo, Scott Savard, Tom Landers, Andrew McInnis and John Potucek. Fischer nominated Dimmock, who did not receive a second.

Bourdon nominated former member Donald Burgess. But Chirichiello said Burgess had requested to be nominated for an alternate position on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and Bourdon said he was fine with that.

“I like the idea of involving as many residents as possible,” Bourdon said. “I withdraw my nomination of Don.”

Chirichiello’s slate was approved unanimously.

Three regular positions were open on the Planning Board and Chirichiello nominated current chair David Granese, Jim MacEachern and Lori Davison.

Fischer objected to Granese’s appointment. “I believe strongly,” he said, “that David Granese is unfit to hold any position in the Town of Derry. During the Dumpster Depot hearings, his conduct was arrogant and rude. He only listened to one side of an issue before closing a hearing.”

The Council approved the Planning nominations 6-1, with Fischer the dissenting vote.

There were also two alternate positions open on the Planning Board and Chirichiello encouraged anyone who had an interest to send a letter to Administrative Assistant Sheila Bodenrader.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) had two regular positions and three alternate positions open. Chirichiello nominated incumbents Steve Coppolo and Heather Evans to the full positions and incumbent Dana Naures to one of the alternate slots. In addition, he nominated Burgess for one of the alternate slots and Randall Kelley for the other.

Fischer again nominated Dimmock, a former ZBA member. This time he received a second.

Chirichiello asked the Council to vote on Dimmock, and Fischer objected, saying, “It’s ridiculous, after all the time and effort he’s put in, to single him out.” Chirichiello said he wasn’t singling Dimmock out but having the board polled because Dimmock was not part of his original nomination.

Fischer and Richard Tripp voted for Dimmock but the nomination failed, 2-5. The original slate passed 6-1, with Tripp the dissenting vote.

Joel Olbricht and Laura Fraser were approved for the REDC (Regional Economic Development Center) Loan Review Committee, 7-0.



In other business, Chirichiello nominated Randall Chase to reprise his role as the Town Administrator’s representative to the Planning Board.

While Council members did not object to Chase, Fischer observed that the Council is just a month or two away from choosing a new administrator (See related story page 2). Fischer observed that the new Administrator might want to assign his own representative, or attend the meetings himself.

He recommended that the language be altered to approve an interim representative to the Planning Board, and the other Councilors agreed. Chase was approved, 7-0.

Someone to sign

The Council also addressed the issue of designating a third Councilor to sign payroll and accounts payable warrants. In a memo, Acting Town Administrator Stephen Daly observed that Sec. 9.16 of the Town Charter authorizes the chairman or chairman pro tem to sign authorizations for the Treasurer to disburse town funds.

However, Daly wrote, the 2016 election, in which both the chair and chair pro-tem were not reelected, created some “extraordinary measures” in which legal counsel was consulted to obtain signatures of new and not yet “constituted” Council members, so people would get paid. Appointing a third member would mitigate that situation if the chair and chair pro tem are unavailable at the same time, Daly said.

Daly wrote that the third Councilor would “carry out the fiduciary duties of the chair and chair pro tem in the absence of both when time is of the essence regarding signing payroll and payables warrants to the treasurer.”

Chirichiello recommended Tripp as the “third Councilor” and the Council voted unanimously to approve him.

Daly said, “I realize it seems like a bit much, but this establishes that role in a formal way and all the reasons behind it for posterity’s sake.”