Tom Cardon looked out at the crowd of people at the March 24 Town Council meeting and wisecracked, “I like to see everyone here, but I wish it was quieter for my first night as chair.”
Cardon was unanimously elected chair of the Derry Town Council that evening. He faced a large group of residents and their supporters who had come to discuss proposed changes in the town budget, and he had a chance to wield his new gavel more than once.
Al Dimmock will continue as Chair Pro Tem. Phyllis Katsakiores nominated Joshua Bourdon as vice-chair, but Bourdon received only two yes votes, along with one abstention and four no votes. Dimmock won unanimously on the second vote.
Outgoing Chair Mark Osborne gave his last report, noting that he agrees with former Chair Michael Fairbanks that it is good practice to rotate the leadership.
After Katsakiores, an incumbent, and Richard Tripp, a new member, were sworn in, Osborne thanked the other candidates for Council, Marc Flattes and Maria LeBel. “Thank you for putting yourselves out there,” he said, noting that running for office in Derry is different from Washington, D.C. “In Congress you might see your constituents every one or two months,” he said. “Here, you see them every day. Thank you for giving Derry a choice.”
Osborne listed the accomplishments of the past year, including:
• Drafting the Property Maintenance ordinance, also known as the Blight Ordinance;
• Hiring Town Administrator Galen Stearns;
• Tackling the issues of zoning;
• Hiring Chief Financial Officer Susan Hickey;
• Hiring a new Fire Chief;
• Dispensing with town-owned property;
• “Acting as transparently as we can within the confines of RSA 91:A.”
This Council also brought the tax rate down, Osborne said.
“Anything we’ve done well, we’ve done as a group,” he said. “Anything we didn’t accomplish, I take full responsibility for.”
He thanked Stearns, Assistant Town Administrator Larry Budreau and Executive Assistant Sheila Bodenrader for their support.
Osborne nominated Cardon and Al Dimmock seconded the nomination. Before the vote Katsakiores asked Cardon if he would support having the department heads come in to discuss their budgets.
Osborne said, “The chair carries influence, but it is not just the chair’s decision. The majority of the Council would have to decide.”
“I am a facilitator,” Cardon said. “I can’t answer that by myself.”
Cardon was unanimously elected chair.
The new Council chose the following committee representatives:
• Conservation Commission, Cardon;
• Planning Board, Osborne;
• Heritage Commission, Katsakiores;
• Finance Committee, Cardon;
• Audit Committee, David Fischer, Richard Tripp;
• Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Tripp;
• Downtown Committee, Bourdon;
• Public Works, Dimmock;
• Safety departments, Bourdon;
• Derry Public Library, Fischer;
• Taylor Library, Tripp;
• Energy/Environmental Advisory, Cardon;
• Legislative Delegation, Katsakiores;
• Southern New Hampshire Hazardous Materials Mutual Aid, Bourdon;
• School Board, Tripp.