While standing outside the Municipal Building on Dec. 6, having just recorded my cable TV show “Upclose and Political” and waiting for my husband to pick me up, I saw first-hand how many citizens were unaware of the closing, no matter how many times and how many places the closing was advertised. In the six years that I served as Derry’s District One town councilor, I was unaware of any closing of the Municipal Building during working hours unless due to inclement weather. I can assure you that had I been aware, I would have brought my concerns forward to the Town Council.
In response to Town Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores letter to the editor titled “Nothing wrong with town employee lunch,” I would like to point out a few facts which I obtained per an RSA-91A request of Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau regarding the luncheon. First, employees were paid to attend the annual luncheon for time that exceeded their normal 1/2-hour lunch, which in this particular matter was 2-1/2 hours. Second, town management did not buy the catered lunch, Derry taxpayers paid for the luncheon and for the rental of the hall. Third, this is not about my “total disregard for town employees”, but a matter of what the Derry taxpayer can no longer afford.
In reality, municipal employees do not work any harder than employees in the private sector. It appears that Town Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores feels that the Derry taxpayers should pay homage to town employees with paid luncheons during working hours and finds it “grossly unreasonable” that I for one do not want my hard-earned tax dollars spent in this manner.
Perhaps going forward in the future, the Town Council and the town administrator could find a way to honor the years of service and exemplary performance of outstanding town employees without it being an expense to the Derry taxpayer that is in far excess of the $3,000 dollars (including employee wages) which Town Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores stated in her letter. More importantly, whatever and where ever the celebration, I hope that it does not require the closing of our Municipal Center during normally scheduled working hours.