Gilford BudCom will invite residents to volunteer to serve as its 12th member

GILFORD — The Budget Committee voted unanimously last night to advertise for interested candidate who would be willing to serve the final year of the vacancy created when Richard "Rags" Grenier was elected selectman.

The special meeting was called last night by Chair Phyllis Corrigan because she wanted the Budget Committee to be at full strength before the summer vacation season scattered the members.

Typically, the Budget Committee begins its review of the annual proposed budget in October however occasionally an item will arise over the summer that requires the committee's attention.

After convening the meeting, Corrigan told the members that state law stipulates that if a Budget Committee elects its members, then it is up to the committee to determine how the seat will be filled. Since the number of members was set at 12 by annual Town Meeting, the committee must fill the spot said Town Administrator Scott Dunn.

There was some initial discussion, initially broached by School Board representative Karen Thurston, about filling the seat with Scott Davis — the candidate who finished fourth of five in the last month's election.

Most other members were against that, saying that in the past vacancies have been filled by asking for letters of interest followed by a public interview and a vote by existing members.

Corrigan said she hasn't heard of anyone who is interested, however fifth place finisher David "Skip" Murphy was at last night's meeting as an observer and said he is still interested in serving.

Thurston, who herself went through the same process when she was appointed to fill the balance of a term on the School Board, said she wanted people to know that the interview process is not "an interrogation."

Member Sue Greene agreed saying that she didn't want people to be intimidated about the public session and that it is a reasonably casual thing.

For the two years Grenier was on the board, his vote was often a swing vote in what can be called a philosophically divided Budget Committee. Rarely has the Budget Committee completely agreed on an issue except for the recent unanimously vote to support the renovation of the Gilford Police Station. Grenier will continue on the Budget Committee as the selectman's representative.

The deadline for letters of interest is May 8 and they should be sent to the Gilford Town Offices. The Budget Committee will meet on May 15 at 7 p.m. to select its 12th member.

In other business, the committee voted unanimously to re-elected Corrigan as chair. Kevin Leandro was elected as vice chair by vote of nine-to-one.