DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Opinion

December 19, 2013

Letters to the editor

Nothing wrong with town employee lunch

To the editor:

On Friday, Dec. 6, I proudly attended the Town of Derry’s 15th Annual Employee Recognition Luncheon, held at the First Parish Church. The Town closed the Derry Municipal Center and Veterans Hall from 11 AM to 2 PM. The transfer station remained open.

Begun by Town Administrator Carol Granfield in 1999, the Recognition Luncheon is the only opportunity for town employees from all departments to come together. It is not a “holiday party.” Town Council members are invited. Some have spoken and thanked employees for their hard work and accomplishments. The town administrator addresses the group, a meal is shared, and milestones of service to the Town are recognized. The event has been regularly budgeted and costs $3,000. Employees attend the program over their lunch period; partly on their own time and partly on the town’s time.

Advance notice of the Municipal Center closing was posted on Derry Community Television, on the town’s website, on the Municipal Center’s door, in local newspapers and announced at Town Council meetings. To those citizens who were unaware and inconvenienced, I apologize.

Ms. Fairbanks stated that she was “saddened to say that the Derry Town Council was not only aware of this closing, but appears to have condoned it.” How can she be so critical of continuing a practice that existed throughout her six years on the Town Council?

Ms. Fairbanks said: “What a blatant display of total disregard for the citizens of Derry who are forced to foot the bill for this latest excess in an economy that is still struggling.”

As a past and current town councilor and long-time resident, I could not disagree more. Ms. Fairbanks’ letter is a blatant display of total disregard for town employees. She places so little value on our people that she would prohibit town management from buying lunch and meeting with its employees once per year. That is grossly unreasonable.

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