, Derry, New Hampshire


January 2, 2014

Editorial: Towns must manage growth well

It’s a new year and an appropriate time both to look back at the major issues of 2013 and ahead to what to watch in 2014.

In Derry, town leaders will continue to deal with the fallout from the departure of former Town Administrator John Anderson. Hiring a new administrator will be a priority for 2014.

In July, Anderson was charged with two counts of lewd behavior and indecent exposure following an alleged incident at his East Derry home involving a satellite TV salesman. Anderson has a date in court this month.

Anderson was placed on administrative leave immediately following the incident. Derry cut its ties with Anderson in October and declined to renew his contract.

Derry’s fractured Town Council will need to work together to find the right candidate to replace Anderson. So far, the signs are not good as council members recently squabbled over the details of how to proceed.

“I’ve been baffled by the direction and/or lack thereof that council leadership has taken for months,” Councilor Neil Wetherbee said recently. “I have personally asked for some of what I feel are the more global issues to be placed on the agenda, but have thus far been disregarded.”

Wetherbee’s remarks came after a late November goal-setting workshop, which the councilor said served mainly to emphasize the difficulty members of the council have working together.

“It more highlighted what we have failed to do as a council over the last nine months,” he said. “At the rate we’re moving, it will be months before we simply address the process to fill the vacant town administrator’s job, let alone consider candidates.”

Derry’s leaders need a greater sense of both cooperation and urgency. The longer the council goes without the mediating influence of a town administrator, the more fractured it will become.

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