"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Thursday, December 31, 2015

BoS Highlights December 30th 2015

  • The BoS approved a plan to move forward to recruit and hire a new full time Town Planner. We are hopeful that this can be accomplished by the end of March. Bruce Woodruff will continue as a contracted Town Planner in the interim. 
  • A transitional plan was approved for the Road Agent/DPW Director with the departure of Scott Kinmond effective January 11th. In addition, the BoS agreed to put the question on the warrant for Town meeting of whether the Legislative body wants to continue to elect a Road Agent or allow the BoS to appoint one. 
  • The School Board will attend the next BoS meeting on January 7th. Among the agenda items to be discussed is whether to discontinue the joint School Board/BoS subcommittee and a joint marketing plan. 
  • The BoS and ABC will meet Friday January 8th beginning at 08:30 to finalize the budget and related warrant articles.
  • A number of projects not yet completed had encumbrances carried over to 2016. This is money already appropriated. Revenues for 2015 are currently about 26% over budget. The undesignated fund balance is healthy enough to allow purchasing some items planned for appropriations in 2016 with 2015 revenue. This includes a new police cruiser, two electronic road signs and a new trash compactor and related site work for the implementation of single stream recycling. This will significantly reduce 2016 appropriations.
  • Lastly, we approved a bid waiver to allow local contractors to do the site work necessary to remove the glass recycle bins and pour a concrete structure for the new compactor which will be ordered as soon as possible. This will allow single stream recycling to occur much sooner than planned...if the weather cooperates.


Anonymous said...

What is wrong with an elected road agent?

JustAround the Corner said...

BoS likes having the control.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

If you watch the video you will hear that the current Road Agent recommended that the position be appointed. The BoS are not in agreement that it should be appointed nor is there any issue of more control. Since this is an elected position it seemed appropriate to put the question to the legislative body on how to proceed. The BoS were quite clear that we will abide by whatever the voters decide, but I would expect to hear strong arguments pro and con from the BoS at Town Meeting

Joseph Cormier said...

"652:12 Vacancy. – A "vacancy'' shall occur in a public office if, subsequent to his or her election and prior to the completion of his or her term, the person elected to that office:
I. Either dies, resigns, or ceases to have domicile in the state or the district from which he or she was elected; or
II. Is determined by a court having jurisdiction to be insane or mentally incompetent; or
III. Is convicted of a crime which disqualifies him or her from holding office; or
IV. Fails or refuses to take the oath of office within the period prescribed in RSA 42:6 or to give or renew an official bond if required by law; or
V. Has his or her election voided by court decision or ballot law commission decision; or
VI. Is a member of the general court of New Hampshire and a member of a military reserve or national guard unit; and
(a) The member was called to serve in an emergency; and
(b) Service in such unit causes the member to be unable to perform his or her legislative duties, as determined by the house of representatives in the case of a member of the house of representatives and by the senate in the case of a member of the senate, for longer than 180 consecutive days; and
(c) The selectmen of any town or ward in the district from which the member is elected request of the governor and council that the office be declared vacant.

Source. 1979, 436:1. 1991, 216:1. 1994, 70:5. 2003, 22:2, eff. April 24, 2003."


"669:74 Highway Agents. – Vacancies in the office of elected highway agents shall be filled by appointment made by the board of selectmen for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Source. 1979, 410:1, eff. July 1, 1979."


I believe the word "shall" has a legally significant meaning!

For Competent Decision Making said...

No question the successor to the Road Agent (RA) shall be appointed due to a vacancy, RSA 669:74. It would seem that as roads are an essential obligation of the Town and that for administrative convenience it might make sense to place the Department under the auspices of the BoS and TA. It might actually save some money and eliminate some political debate as the position of a RA should be non-partisan.

Fred Van Magness said...

In thinking about whether the Road Agent should be elected or appointed, there are a number of things that come to mind:
1. Two whom is the RA accountable? If elected, sounds like the accountability is to the voters who elect them, much like the BOS, School Board, etc. If appointed, then the accountability is to the appointing authority.
2. If a RA is elected, the option to remove from office would generally be the next election and then at the will of the voters. If appointed, the appointing authority would have the ability to remove based on specific criteria at any time during the persons employment.
3. Who sets goals, priorities, etc. etc. ? If elected, then the RA can operate somewhat autonomously, although Town Meeting would still have the power of the purse. If appointed, then their goals are set by the hiring body and budgets are run through the BOS and ABC.

It seems to me...a newcomer to local Moultonborough politics.... that an appointed RA would better serve the town than an elected one. For example, I have seen the benefits of locally appointed search committees that pre-screen / review potential candidates, have in depth interviews, sound out applicants for past performance, etc. etc. and pass on recommendations to the hiring body. Seems this process has worked well for the Police Chief, Town Planner, Town Engineer, etc. etc. I see no reason why this process would not benefit selecting a strong RA by appointment. To the contrary, having an elected process that does not fully vet candidates and often relies on a portion of the voters not being fully informed can create a significant exposure for the town. It comes to mind that in an election process, the RA candidate may be restricted to being a resident of the town....but I am not sure of this. However, if there is a resident restriction, the town could loose by not having the benefit of hiring a person with more experience or knowledge from a larger search area. Electing an RA with such a low voter turnout, possibly restricted to local residents, and with no formal vetting or in depth review of qualifications other than a meet the candidates night or some sort of advertising leads me to conclude an elected RA is a potentially flawed process.

As a result, I hope the BOS has a robust discussion before the town election and provides voters with a pro / con analysis of benefits or detractors for an elected vs. appointed RA. They should create an unbiased position paper of both sides to help folks decide. I for one, would be interested in having that data. For now, I think appointed is the best way forward but will keep an open mind.

Joseph Cormier said...

Also consider "employee" v. "official"

It could be argued, possibly, the selection criteria for the governing body, the BoS, an elected body, yields what kind of service to the town?

Appointees of/by the BoS, can be insinuated to be partisans, and how would anyone know. Does that make for better service?

The road agent is supervised by the BoS, either elected or appointed, by statute. A big difference is an appointee is subject to NH 's "at-will" doctrine, while an elected official is not.

"Municipal employees are also protected by a number of state and federal laws that do not apply to municipal officials."

"Municipal officials are not subject to personnel policies and may only be removed by the governing body in very narrow circumstances as set forth in the statutes."

"Unlike employees, municipal officials generally are not “supervised" and are not subject to municipal personnel policies. Statutes provide that a few specific officials will be ... supervised by the selectmen, such as highway agents ...(sic) RSA 231:62. In general, however, the duties of municipal officials are set forth in the statutes and the officials themselves are responsible for making sure those duties are accomplished. This means the legislative body cannot force an official to serve part-time or full-time; the official works as many hours as he or she decides is appropriate."


RSA 231:62 Highway Agents
"... each town shall elect by ballot, or by major vote authorize the selectmen to appoint, one or more highway agents, who, under the direction of the selectmen, ..."


Joseph Cormier said...


The NHMA article above, in my post, states:

" Land use board members may only be removed by the appointing authority (if appointed) or the selectmen (if elected) for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office. RSA 672:13."

I believe that is erratum and should read RSA 673:13, not 672:13



Rick Heath said...

By a "nation wide" BoS search and appointment we got a TA who, through his actions of aggressive deceit, went after two worthy volunteers on the planning board and embarrassed the town of Moultonborough state wide. He finally resigned and we had to pay him nearly a year's salary.
By election we elected the present town road agent that has served this town well AND with no embarrassment.
So let's go ahead and take one more opportunity away from the voter and screw things up.