, Derry, New Hampshire

January 2, 2014

Derry councilors ax another grant request.

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — Town councilors rejected another grant request.

The Town Council voted, 4-2, not to accept a state grant authorizing the fire department to purchase four portable ventilators.

The money would have helped supply equipment to the EMS staff. It was available through the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Money was earmarked for the equipment through the federal Homeland Security Grant and would have been provided to the town at no cost. Annual costs may have totaled approximately $1,250 to use the ventilators, including routine calibration and maintenance costs.

Fire Chief George Klauber told the Town Council the equipment would give emergency staff better outcomes when it came to transporting patients.

“In the past 12 months, 25 advance life support patients would have benefited from this technology,” Klauber said.

But the conversation got heated when Councilor Brad Benson requested holding off on any vote until absent Councilor Neil Wetherbee was present.

Wetherbee requested a vote be put off until he was present. Chairman Michael Fairbanks had suggested postponing the vote until a meeting Jan. 7, based on that request.

Councilors split on that request, 3-3, meaning the motion failed. Benson, Fairbanks and Phyllis Katsakiores voted to postpone.

Benson voiced his concern over a lack of respect to honor Wetherbee’s request.

“Isn’t this just common courtesy?” Benson asked.

Councilor Mark Osborne said the group needed to stick to the agenda.

Town Councilor Tom Cardon said he wouldn’t expect special treatment if he were unable to attend a meeting.

“I can’t imagine myself calling up and asking to change an agenda item because I’m not going to make it to a meeting,” he said.