SANBORNTON — Dave Nickerson, a member of the Sanbornton Budget Committee and one of three candidates recently interviewed to fill the seat vacated by Selectman Katy North, has resigned, citing many of the same concerns North voiced at the June 26 selectmen’s meeting.
“In reading Katy’s letter, she was right in a lot of things — things that happened with personnel … A lot of small towns have these issues, but there are people who love this town, and Katy’s been around a long time — longer than I have — and when you put your heart and soul into something and someone turns things upside-down … It was almost like banging your head against the wall for no reason,” he said.
Nickerson said he was elected to the Budget Committee on a write-in vote after having previously served three years on that committee and nine years as a selectman. He applied to fill the vacant selectmen’s seat until voters can elect a replacement for North next March. Nickerson told selectmen during the interview on Sept. 4 that he has “a lot of experience for that small amount of time I’d be in here, and I’m very familiar with budgets, and know the department heads. I’ve got a lot to offer, and I have the time to put into it.”
Chair John Olmstead was concerned about the candidates’ ability to attend every meeting, but the candidate they selected to fill North’s seat, Jim Dick, said he could not commit to attending every Wednesday because his job requires a great deal of travel. Instead, he said, he would be available by phone. The interview itself was conducted by phone because he was out of state on Sept. 4.
Neither Dick nor the third candidate, Glenn Frederick, had experience on a municipal budget committee.
Olmstead favored naming Frederick to the seat, but Selectman Tom Salatiello insisted that Dick was the better candidate, even if he could not attend every meeting. In the end, Olmstead agreed to Dick’s appointment.
Nickerson said, “There are a lot of double standards. Tom Salatiello, at one point in time, four or five years ago, got after a selectman because he was going to be out of town and suggested participating over the phone. Tom said you can’t do that, but they did it for this particular person.”
He continued, “A lot of this stuff has included friendships — sometimes they would go with what their friends wanted, rather than what was good for the town.”
Nickerson said that, when North’s position opened up, several people wrote letters to the selectmen suggesting that they appoint him because it was a good idea to have someone with experience, with the budget coming up. Neither of the other candidates had served on the Budget Committee.
Nickerson said the Budget Committee has not been very active in its scrutiny of the budget, in part because the selectmen told the department heads that they did not have to meet with the Budget Committee unless they wanted to do so.
“The Budget Committee had to dig in hard to get a lot of the information they needed” to put together the budget that goes before the voters, he said.
He blames the selectmen for the number of resignations in town, including four town administrators and the town clerk-tax collector, and said selectmen got rid of the town planner and town assessor — people who, Nickerson maintains, “were some of the best town administrators in the state of New Hampshire.”