, Derry, New Hampshire

January 30, 2014

Derry councilors meet to talk search process

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — Town councilors were scheduled to host a special meeting Tuesday night to initiate the search for a new town administrator.

The administrator search had been on the council’s agenda Jan. 7, but was never discussed as the meeting was adjourned at the group’s 10 p.m. time limit.

A subsequent meeting Jan. 22 did not address the administrator search.

The special meeting comes after Councilor Neil Wetherbee cried foul earlier this month after Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks sent text messages or called several councilors to ask about planning the special meeting, something Wetherbee said was illegal.

“My understanding is that two or more councilors besides myself received a similar communication representing a quorum of the town council,” Wetherbee said in an email to the group.

That, he said, violated the town’s rules when it comes to meetings and communications among members outside of a meeting forum.

With something as important as finding a new administrator, Wetherbee said, it gave an air of being disrespectful and mistrust among the group.

“The fact that this issue has taken this long to get on our agenda at all is disgraceful in my opinion and shows a complete lack of leadership,” he said.

At the meeting Jan. 22, Fairbanks addressed Wetherbee’s concerns.

“If I was in the wrong, I will accept it,” Fairbanks said.

Wetherbee said he was not attacking Fairbanks personally, but just the process and how it is being handled. He said it has taken too long to get the administrator search going.

“As we have been without a town administrator for nearly seven months, I agree that the time is long overdue to address it,” he said.

Wetherbee said it’s important that all seven councilors are involved in all aspects of the town administrator search.

“My concerns were just with the process,” he said.