, Derry, New Hampshire

February 28, 2013

Let's get town manager position filled|Editorial: Let’s get town manager position filled

Derry News

---- — Londonderry has had to learn a hard lesson. “He who hesitates is lost” or as it is also put: “You snooze, you lose.”

The search for a new town manager must start over as the favored candidate chose to accept another position. Londonderry has been searching for a new town manager since August. Police chief William Hart has been serving as acting town manager since June, when former Town Manager David Caron took a leave of absence. Caron officially resigned a month later.

About 50 people had applied for the job and the field had been narrowed down first to the top 10 candidates, then a few finalists. Londonderry officials were ready to make an offer to their top choice, but that person withdrew after accepting another position.

Officials had hoped a new town manager would start by April 1. Now, that date is no longer realistic. July 1 is the new target.

“We received a number of candidates, all of whom had outstanding credentials,” Hart told our reporter. He described the setback as frustrating.

Now the process must begin again. The job will be advertised and applications accepted.

“We feel strongly that it really has to be the right fit,” he said.

Hart has been doing an good job as acting town manager, so there is little sense that the failure of the first search has created any crisis in town.

That said, it would be good to get this position filled with a qualified candidate quickly. Town Council needs to make processing the applications and reviewing the candidates a priority.

Potato merits ‘official vegetable’ honor

How much longer must New Hampshire endure without an official state vegetable?

Not long, if Derry Republican state Rep. John O’Connor has his way.

O’Connor is the driving force behind House Bill 535, which would make the potato the state’s official vegetable. The noble spud is well on its way to success: The House approved the bill on a 276-75 vote Feb. 20. One might say those 75 naysayers were “mashed” in defeat.

If the measure passes the Senate and receives the governor’s signature, the potato as state vegetable would join the state dog (Chinook), state amphibian (spotted newt), state beverage (apple cider), and state fruit (pumpkin) on the roll of official honors.

The measure has the full support of the Derry delegation, as the potato has a rich history around these parts. Derry, established by Northern Irish emigrants, is reputed to be the first place in North America that a white potato was grown.

“It has been confirmed that Rev. James MacGregor brought a sack of seed potatoes and planted them in 1719 in an area called Nutfield, now known as Derry,” O’Connor told our reporter.

Fourth-graders from the Derry Village Elementary School assisted with the project and were on hand at the Statehouse when the potato bill passed. Town historian Rick Holmes also helped with local potato lore. He wrote about the potato’s local claim to fame in his book “Nutfield Rambles.”

The potato is surely a major player in New Hampshire’s history. The tasty tuber is deserving of the honor as the state’s official vegetable.