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April 4, 2013

Some irked by gift to former councilor

DERRY — The town traditionally gives a rocking chair to departing town councilors. A deviation from tradition in the gift given to Brian Chirichiello is not sitting well with some residents.

After nine years on the council, Chirichiello stepped down this year and received his town-issued iPad as his farewell gift.

Now, former councilor Janet Fairbanks is calling for Chirichiello to return the iPad, saying it’s town property and not something that should be awarded as a farewell gift.

Previously, councilors stepping down received a chair valued at $356 as a goodbye gift.

“This is another example of blatant disregard and disrespect for the citizens of Derry by our local town government,” Fairbanks said.

She called for Chirichiello to return the iPad.

The Town Council approved the purchase of 10 iPads last year for councilors to use. The move was designed to cut down on the stacks of paper that traditionally make up meeting agendas and information booklets prior to meetings and to save time for administrative staff.

When Chirichiello decided not to seek re-election, Town Administrator John Anderson said the former councilor asked if he could keep his iPad in lieu of receiving a chair. Chirichiello agreed to pay the difference in price between the chair and the iPad.

“Brian brought the ($51.99 difference) check in and we gave him the iPad,” Anderson said. “I don’t think I did anything wrong.”

Chirichiello said it was a fair exchange.

“Just like every other councilor before me, all retired councilors received a gift of a rocking chair,” he said. “I have two at home so I thought I would ask that the money that would be used for my chair be used for the iPad.”

Chirichiello said he paid the difference and the town cashed his check.

When Fairbanks and Kevin Coyle stepped down from the Town Council, they, too, were offered chairs. Fairbanks wanted to use her money for charity and Coyle asked that a bench be placed on the Derry bike trail in his honor for the entire town to use.

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