DERRY — The Town Council has a new leader.
Councilor Charlie Foote was named the council's new chairman at a meeting March 24, replacing Neil Wetherbee for the lead position.
Named as Councilor Pro Tem was Richard Tripp.
Four councilors took their places at the head table in the third-floor meeting room at the Derry Muncipal Center, practicing social distancing while three others, Phyllis Katsakiores, Jim Morgan and Joshua Bourdon were calling in remotely via video conference call.
Foote went up against Councilor Brian Chrichiello for the head job. Chrichiello was nominated by former chairman Jim Morgan.
For Morgan, it was Chirichiello's many years of experience that he felt would make a good leader, especially in the current trying times, and with the town budget season about to start.
"I think leadership experience is important," Morgan said. "I felt it was important to have someone with experience."
Chirichiello has served as a council chairman in past years. He said his job as a realtor gives him time to spend on council business, and he's done it twice before since 2004.
"I don't have to stay at home and teach my kids school, " he said, adding there have been recent council times when leadership was needed, citing several years ago when a sitting council cut many budget items and closed a fire station in East Derry
"Those were troubling times," Chirichiello said. "We got through, I'm up for the challenge, I'm ready to go."
Bourdon nominated Foote for the top job, saying according to council rules, the role of the chairman was to oversee meetings, provide efficiency and make sure meetings run smoothly. That's why Foote was perfect for the job.
"Charlie is the most non-partisan guy I know," Bourdon said.
For Foote, it's all about being a concise group, working together.
"I think whoever sits in this chair is no more important than any other member," he said. "We are all in this together. It's not an 'I' but it's a 'we.'"
Foote added he has the health background and life experience to understand what families may be going through at this time. He survived two kidney transplants and said that was "his normal life."
"I have no agenda, no political thing either way," Foote said. "We are a team, we need to act as a team."