DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

May 15, 2014

Councilors ponder candidates' visits to town

LONDONDERRY — It’s a common practice for the Town Council to welcome new businesses and candidates. They often stop by and introduce themselves to the group.

But one councilor wants the public to realize the group is strictly a non-partisan body.

Town Councilor Jim Butler told his fellow councilors at a meeting May 5 that he wanted to make sure residents understand that no visits from candidates running for any office are anything more than a way to meet and welcome them before the board.

“I think we should set some policies,” Butler said.

He wants at least a week’s notice before the council entertains a political visitor.

Most recently, GOP gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein paid the Town Council a visit.

U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown has also visited Londonderry. Republican Executive Council candidate Jim Adams is expected in the next several weeks.

With short notice, it’s almost impossible to offerr tours or get visitors on a meeting agenda, Butler said.

He also wants Town Manager Kevin Smith to be a part of every official town tour or visit from candidates, and post the visit on the town website and in media outlets.

Town Council Chairman Tom Dolan said the group has always operated in a non-partisan way. He said any candidate who want to come in and introduce themselves or take a tour of the town is welcome to do so.

Residents, too, are invited to come before councilors at regular meetings and speak their mind during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Dolan said he welcomes candidates.

“It’s an opportunity for them to address us,” he said. “If citizens want to do a Q&A with candidates they could do that out in hallway. We don’t want it to turn into a press conference.”

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