Residents could draw little encouragement from a workshop attended by Derry councilors that was intended to help them work better together. Councilors, themselves, could not agree on the results of the session.
The seven town councilors attended a goal-setting workshop last week to talk about priorities for the town and provide a focus for the selection of a new town administrator. In theory, if the Town Council has specific goals for the town, it can then hire an administrator best suited to reaching those goals.
Derry cut its ties with former Town Administrator John Anderson in October and declined to renew his contract. Anderson has a court date Dec. 13 to face misdemeanor charges of lewdness and indecent exposure stemming from an encounter with a satellite television service salesman at his Lane Road home in July.
The council has yet to begin a formal search for a new administrator and has been divided on how to proceed. The workshop did little to change that.
The facilitators of the workshop were Carl Webber and Jen Claise of the New Hampshire Public Risk Management Exchange. Primex has worked with Derry since the late 1970s, offering support with workers compensation, unemployment programs, and other municipal programs and support. Primex led a similar workshop for Derry in 2009.
Town Councilor Neil Wetherbee said the council remains divided.
“I’ve been baffled by the direction and/or lack thereof that council leadership has taken for months,” he told reporter Julie Huss. “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 expressed disappointment in the workshop, saying that it 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.”