DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Opinion

April 4, 2013

Editorial: Town can’t afford parting gifts for officials

(Continued)

Chirichiello also notes that when Fairbanks and Kevin Coyle stepped down from the Town Council, they, too, were offered chairs. Fairbanks wanted to use her money for charity and Coyle asked that a bench be placed on the Derry bike trail in his honor for the entire town to use. Chirichiello said those gifts were equal in value to his.

The flap illustrates a number of concerns. The first is the whole matter of town issued iPads. The electronic tablets are personal by nature. People inevitably form attachments with them, using them for personal purposes and storing personal data on them. This is problematic when the devices are owned by the town.

Another problem is the idea that councilors are owed some kind of lovely parting gift when they leave. If they decline the proffered rocking chair, why do they feel they are entitled to something else in its place?

Two newly elected councilors, Tom Cardon and Mark Osborne, want to look at the idea of providing gifts when councilors step down. That’s a good idea.

Osborne said he didn’t think Anderson had the authority to give the iPad to Chirichiello without Town Council approval.

“I have no doubt the gift was done with good intentions,” Osborne said. “But why give the town administrator the power to give away town property without a vote? I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the town to ask that the iPad be returned immediately.”

At this point, it’s best to let the matter go. Chirichiello has paid the town the difference between the value of the iPad and the chair he would have received.

But the Town Council ought to take a vote declaring the end of the parting gift tradition.

A cake and a handshake — that’s a sufficient farewell for anyone.

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