Indeed, town officials formed a united front against residents with several town councilors arguing that complaints were few and the roads were fine.
“Out of 34,000 residents, I heard only one complaint from a Derry resident,” Councilor Mark Osborne said. “For me, the roads were quite navigable.”
Councilor Tom Cardon said he had heard no major complaints about the road conditions in town.
Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores said she did hear from a few residents about the slush level on the roads.
“Some said it would have been nice if they came around a second time to clean up all the slush,” she said. “But we do the best we can.”
Councilor Neil Wetherbee said he heard from only one resident and said that throwing down road treatments that are ineffective is neither fiscally nor environmentally prudent.
“I found conditions to be less than ideal almost everywhere I went,” he said. “I think we need to be realistic. We live in New Hampshire. Expecting bare roads and speed limit driving after nearly a foot of snow over 30 hours, accompanied and followed by sub-zero temperatures, is just not realistic.”
Town officials could stand to listen more and dodge criticism less.
While there is some truth in Wetherbee’s observation, it’s unfortunate that town officials are so defensive.
When residents complain about the condition of the roads after a storm, the proper response is not to tell them they are wrong. The better choice is to get the plows out and clear the roads -- and try to do a better job the next time.