, Derry, New Hampshire


March 13, 2014

Editorial: Public service deserves thanks

There’s a new Town Council in Derry with the departure of Councilors Neil Wetherbee and Brad Benson.

Given their recent tenure on a board so fractured and lacking in respect, it’s no wonder the two six-year veterans opted not to seek re-election Tuesday.

Perhaps for those same reason, it’s understandable, while also disappointing, that only three people chose to put their names on the ballot for election to a board that most would rather avoid. Also disappointing is the fact there was only a single contested race for a seat on this most powerful council.

The Town Council as a whole and its members as individuals are often the target of criticism, including in this forum. It’s difficult not to criticize when the body is largely dysfunctional, obstreperous, incendiary and so often bogged down in personal attacks as to little advance the town’s business. Just look at the lack of progress in the council’s efforts to search for a new town administrator.

It takes little imagination to see why few would seek to join its ranks.

That must change. So, too, must the tone of its meetings, its progress, and its dedication to serving the community which elected its members come about and fly straight.

At last week’s meeting, resident Mark Brassard eloquently spoke to the council’s unwillingness to compromise, its propensity for personal attack, its lack of leadership.

He also took ordinary citizens to task for their disrespect and grandstanding when addressing the council during public forums. He suggested the councilors “learn to pull together on the same end of the rope.” Quite so.

Unfortunately, the lack of a simple public thanks to Wetherbee and Benson for their years of service from the whole council was absent at their final meeting.

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