, Derry, New Hampshire

January 30, 2014

Derry Town Council races are wide open

Benson, Wetherbee will

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — Two incumbent town councilors are calling it quits after six years on the job.

Brad Benson and Neil Wetherbee both said they would not seek for another term for the open Councilor-at-Large and District 3 Council positions, respectively, after serving two terms each.

With the filing period now open for town and school district offices, both say their names will not be on the list.

They cite the lack of current council leadership and a general lack of progress on important town issues as reasons why they won't run again.

"There are a number of things that factored into my decision-making process," Wetherbee said, "but probably first and foremost is both the caustic environment of the current council, combined with the lack of leadership and progress over the past year."

Wetherbee said he is proud of many things the Town Council accomplished in past years, including overcoming personal differences with past groups and doing what was right for the community.

Now, he said, it's too difficult to focus on key issues like economic development, the tax rate and even just trying to get along.

For Benson, it's a lot of the same. He cited disappointment with council leadership and no vision in sight.

"We have not done what we were elected to do which is move this community forward," he said. "We were making progress at bringing the community together and now we are farther apart than ever."

With both Benson and Wetherbee off the list, the field remains open for anyone wanting to run for those open Town Council seats.

Candidates can file for both town and school office in Derry and Londonderry through Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.

In addition to the two open three-year Town Council positions, Derry town openings include town moderator for two years and library trustee spots for both Derry Public and Taylor libraries.

To date, newcomer Joshua Bourdon plans to run for an open at-large Town Council seat and David Fischer signed up for the District 3 position.

Incumbent Margie Ives will run for another two-year term as town moderator.

Other open Derry jobs are Supervisors of the Checklist and trustees for both Derry Public Library and Taylor Library.

Renee Routhier and her mother Lorraine will both seek to continue their jobs as Derry Supervisors of the Checklist and hope to win another term.

Margaret Mulkins and Janet Bhagat also will run for open supervisors positions.

James Thomas will run for an open Derry Public Library trustee job and incumbent Aimee Huntemann wants another three-year term as a Taylor Library trustee.

Derry Town Clerk Denise Neale said she expected many more candidates to file this week. Some people wait until almost the deadline to come in to the municipal center, she said.

On the school side, there are two School Board positions up for election. Incumbent Dan McKenna wants to win another three-year term and plans to file.

"I'm running for re-election to continue and build on the progress of the last three years," he said.

Incumbent Wendy Smith had not formally filed as of Monday.

Londonderry also has two open Town Council positions in 2014. Incumbents Joe Green and Tom Freda say they will run for three-year terms. Budget Committee member Christopher Melcher will run for Town Council.

The Londonderry School Board has two openings. Incumbents are John Robinson and Nancy Hendricks. Hendricks said she would seek another term, but Robinson is leaving the School Board to focus on a Town Council run.

Other open Londonderry jobs are Budget Committee, three openings for three years, with Dana Coons the only declared candidate early this week.

Incumbent Cindi Rice Conley will run for another two-year term as town moderator.

Londonderry voters will cast ballots March 11 at the Londonderry High School gym from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Derry voters will go to Gilbert H. Hood Middle School to vote from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.