By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Some town councilors called for a parting council gift to be returned; others wished the issue would just go away.
At a meeting April 16, town councilors continued a heated discussion of what to do about the farewell gift of an iPad presented to retiring councilor Brian Chirchiello when he stepped down in March.
By a vote of 4-3, the council decided to ask for its return.
The iPad issue divided the new council. Some members hoped the issue would go away, but others kept the discussion going.
Councilors approved the purchase of 10 iPads last summer to help cut down on the stacks of paper they have to pore through at each meeting. Some used them, some said no.
When Chirichiello decided to step down after nine years, he asked to keep his iPad as his goodbye gift instead of the traditional rocking chair. He paid the town the $50 cost difference.
But several residents complained about the gift.
After a meeting earlier this month, councilors decided to consult with the town legal team to see if there was a way to ask Chirichiello to give his gift back.
That charge was led by new councilor and lawyer Mark Osborne, who previously had made a motion to ask that the iPad be returned. That would help keep things transparent, he said, and correct moving forward.
Councilors also voted earlier to discontinue the tradition of presenting gifts to departing councilors.
Town attorneys told councilors they had the right to ask for the iPad back. Councilors then voted 4-3 to ask Chirichiello to return it.
“We’ll ask (Chirichiello) to return the iPad,” Osborne said. “But he can say no and we can put this issue to bed and be done with it.”
Councilors Phyllis Katsakiores, Brad Benson and Neil Wetherbee opposed asking Chirichiello to return his gift.
“I think it’s a shame,” Katsakiores said. “Brian is a very respected businessman in this town.”
Councilor Al Dimmock said it would be good to end the iPad talk.
“All it takes is for (Brian) to say no and it’s a done deal,” Dimmock said.
But, he said, he did believe the iPad was town property and should never have been given as a gift in the first place.
Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks said he would call Chirichiello to ask that the iPad be returned.