To The Daily Sun,
Having been involved in town government in Ashland for the past several years in many capacities, including Budget Committee, Capital Improvement Program Committee, Economic Development Committee, and now as a member of the Ashland Selectboard, I have seen, studied, experienced, and participated in the challenges of small-town municipal government.
This experience has made it clear to me that if we want to increase the chances of developing and continually operating Ashland as a financially sound town and enjoy our small town New Hampshire community, the five-member board is more likely to make that happen.
Some facts and thoughts to support a five-member board and reject going back to a three-member board:
— Five Selectboard members that have the desire and skills to help govern the town and participate in the many important committees and boards involved is more likely to be successful then with a three-member board simply because tasks can be shared by more people.
— Collaboration and communication with the town committees and organizations as well as tapping resources of regional, state and federal organizations is critical for a small town. Five people make it easier than three and is still a small enough group to make decisions.
— If a three-member board has a member missing it can cause major problems in effective decision-making.
— One member in a three-member board can much more easily control decisions by getting one member to
go their way consistently.
— A five-member board increases the likelihood of transparency and new ideas and opinions.
Ashland has moved forward with several initiatives recently under the first year of a five-member board format to include:
— A continually inclusive, collaborative and informative Financial Forum that involved many different departments of the town to help identify, communicate and plan for short and long term capital project costs.
— An active Ashland Economic Development Committee to help grow our tax base and lower tax rates.
— Participation in numerous regional and state organizations to help find funds and improve the efficiency of our systems.
— Beginning the coordinated process for applying for and obtaining grant money to help fund town needs.
— Creation of a priority list to track and ensure follow thru and transparency on key initiatives.
— Evaluated our I.T. infrastructure to keep it progressive but inexpensive.
— Began a long overdue process to bring GIS technology into our tax maps and will eventually help digitize many aspects of our recordkeeping and allow for more transparency.
— Significantly increased collaboration among departments and committees that is absolutely critical to our future success.
— Begun to review ordinances and processes to help ensure consistency, transparency, and efficiency in how we operate.
These all are much more likely to be managed effectively with a five-member team as opposed to a three-member team.
Some final facts:
— Approximately 87 percent of the votes taken in both a three-member board in 2013 and a five-member board in 2014 were unanimous votes from March to December, which would appear to show no significant disagreement after discussion of facts.
— Only three votes out of 98 were 3-2 votes in 2014.
Vote "No" on Article 23 on Tuesday. March 10. We do not want to go back to a three-member Selectboard
Ashland Selectboard Member
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2015 12:08
To The Daily Sun,
Brett Currier — write in candidate for Gilmanton selectman!
Brett has done an excellent job the past three years as our selectman. He has tried to keep taxes down and provide the town with essential services. In doing so, he has had to make his choices which some do not agree with, but they were necessary choices.
He stated he would run for one term and has kept that promise, but we asked him to run as a rite in candidate and he has agreed. Please join us in re-electing Brett Currier by writing him in as selectman. Brett Currier is a friend of taxpayers and the people of Gilmanton.
Wayne Ogni, John Weston, Bill Mahoney
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2015 12:00
To The Daily Sun,
At the candidates forum for the Governor Wentworth Regional School District, Robert Theriault, Ossipee School Board candidate, questioned the high cost of the annual warrant article setting aside in a capital reserve fund $60,000 for the impeding replacement in nine years of the turf field at Kingswood. This is an annual request. Every 12 years the field will have to be replaced at an estimated $700,000.
Although, a sports fan and lifelong resident who is proud of our Kingswood athletics this will get my "No" vote on Tuesday. If you are from Wolfeboro, Ossipee, Effingham, New Durham or Brookfield think about this and vote "No."
Capital reserves are set up for many reasons. They do lessen the impact on a huge amount being voted on and voters are more than likely to approve a small amount over a period of time. The argument used to be that it saved on interest a bond would have. Now that is not an issue. A bond also requires a two-thirds vote — hard to get most of the time. The article also says that it has no impact on the taxpayers. However, the money always comes from somewhere and if it is out there, should be used for something more needed or better yet returned as a credit to the tax assessment.
I feel that this is one of the things with the new school that rode in on a trailer and even the most avid watchdogs did not see it coming. Also I heard on national TV that the current turf fields can cause burns that may lead to cancer. We have a so-called few of a kind in the state that is used infrequently, (and) will be a never-ending burden on taxpayers.
I agree with Bob of Ossipee and hopefully after the useful life of this field it will be returned to good old Mother Earth.
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2015 11:13
To The Daily Sun,
A Gallup survey of 1 million people concludes that people quit bad bosses, not companies and organizations.
The last few years have exhibited a revolving door of school administrators, both principals and superintendents, in Gilford and Alton. No matter who is elected this spring, it is incumbent upon both the school boards and budget committees of these two towns to conduct a self examination to discover why they have been unable to provide stability in these two important roles.
As bosses, what kind of environment are you creating in which these roles are carried out?
Have you been poor leaders? Has your leadership been arbitrary? Has it been partisan and political? Have you failed to coach and on-board new hires, to orient them to the local culture? Have you made poor selection decisions in the first place, failing to ascertain the underlying characteristics that will lead to success in your town? Have you created a succession pipeline of current talented personnel within your own districts? Must you always go outside for lack of planning?
What priority is given to education by your budget committee? Have you failed to pay competitive salaries? What is your reward strategy? At what percentile do you compete for talent? Why? Is that strategy successful. Have you starved the school departments of the resources they need to succeed in a misguided "no new taxes" ideology? Why are people leaving for greener pastures? Find out.
"By their fruits, you will know them." So far the fruit has not been very good in terms of stable educational leadership; but all is not hopeless if you are willing to "read the handwriting on the wall" and right your ship. The status-quo is not acceptable.
John B. Larrere
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2015 11:09
To The Daily Sun,
It seems there are some immature people in Gilmanton who think that thievery and bullying is the right way to win an election. That is why there are laws in place that make it illegal to steal political signs. Driving down the wrong side of the road is very dangerous, and it is also against the law.
Our sign in support of Michael J. Jean was in place in front of our residence for three days, when in broad daylight, some hooligan drove a dark blue pickup truck down the wrong side of Highway 140, jumped out, lifted our sign, and threw it in the truck bed. He then jumped back into the truck and continued speeding down the highway to the east with screeching tires.
This type of activity is turning Gilmanton once again into a 21st century "Peyton Place." Why are these people afraid of Mr. Jean? Are there secrets that some people want to smooth over and hide? Michael Jean has pledged an open door policy, and he has stated that there are very few reasons why the selectmen would go into a closed-door session. There are good reasons why what goes on in this town should be transparent.
A few weeks ago, the Academy building was flooded. It is very curious that the job of restoration was not advertised for bid. I can see for myself that this work is going on when I pass the building. I wonder if things are being done properly so that our historic academy will be a healthy environment for years to come.
I think there are many people in this town who believe it is time for some "new blood" in our Selectmen's Office. We need to end the "good ol' boys" club. We should have fair-minded people who can make unbiased decisions that build Gilmanton into a quality place to live. The candidate that fills this description the best is Michael J. Jean.
Please cast your vote for honesty and integrity: Michael J. Jean.
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2015 11:06