DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

August 8, 2013

Leadership at last


Derry News

---- — Londonderry officials took their time choosing a new town manager — more than a year, to be precise.

Last week, they chose Kevin Smith, a graduate of Londonderry High School, a former state representative and a onetime GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Smith says he will spend a lot of time listening and learning. But he’s a familiar face to many and he knows Londonderry, where his parents and in-laws still live.

At first blush, it would appear the Town Council did its job well, choosing someone who’s familiar with and to the town.

A year seems like an awfully long time to make that decision, but the town has been in the capable hands of police Chief William Hart in the interim.

Hart stepped into the dual roles a year ago and he didn’t hesitate to take his second town job seriously. Now he can go back to being the full-time chief.

Londonderry also named interim fire Chief Darren O’Brien to the permanent post. A native son, O’Brien has led the department since Chief Kevin MacAffrie retired in March.

He’s a known entity, having worked his way up through the department’s ranks since he joined it at the tender age of 19. That was a no-brainer.

Both appear to be good choices, but the manager decision was way too long in coming. Londonderry has a lot on its plate — Woodmont Commons and Pettengill Road come to mind immediately.

The town needs strong leaders. We wish both men the best.