By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — The Town Council has a new leader.
Michael Fairbanks was elected chairman at a meeting March 26.
He replaces Councilor Brad Benson, who said he didn't want another term as chairman.
Fairbanks, who's starting his second year on the Town Council, won the job, 4-3, over Neil Wetherbee. Council member Al Dimmock was elected vice chairman.
Councilors also chose town boards and committees they wished to serve on as liaison members.
The meeting was the first with three new council members including Dimmock, Mark Osborne and Tom Cardon.
The meeting was tense at times as councilors clashed over some issues. Wetherbee said it's part of getting to know each other when new councilors join the fold.
"I apologize if we got off to a bit of a rough start, but we'll work that out," he said.
Council jobs and committees assigned are Neil Wetherbee, Conservation Commission, School Board liaison, and Safety Department; Al Dimmock, Planning Board; Tom Cardon, Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Taylor Library, Energy/Environmental Advisory Committee; Phyllis Katsakiores, Heritage Commission, state legislation delegation and Southern NH Hazardous Materials Mutual Aid District; Brad Benson, Downtown Committee, Finance Committee; Mark Osborne, Derry Public Library and Audit Committee; Michael Fairbanks, Human Services Council representative.
Councilors will begin the budget season with a series of workshops and hearings to be scheduled. A list of meeting and workshop dates will be available on the town's website.