Board member Reed, road chief Hart quit Derry government

By Bruce Frauman
©2017-Telegraph Publishing LLC

In the wake of the Londonderry Town Meeting last week, two key government officials have resigned: Select Board member Will Reed, who was starting the second year of a two-year term, and Road Foreman Duane Hart.

Will Reed at last year’s Town Meeting, where he was elected. All photos copyright The Chester Telegraph.

Reed offered this written statement to The Chester Telegraph:

“There is a conflict of interest with another board member which would prevent me from serving impartially and in the best interest of the Town. It is a private matter which I don’t believe is worthy of public discussion. I will say, I valued my short time on the board and serving the town. I regret the circumstances under which I felt it was necessary to step-down and look forward to serving again in the future.”

Reed apparently will ask the board to allow him to remain on the Energy Committee, which he started.

There are several options to fill Reed’s seat. When Jim Ameden resigned from the Select Board last spring — 18 months into a three-year term — the board could have held a special election. Or it could have appointed someone to fill the full term or to serve until the next election — March 2017. The board chose the third option when Bill Wylie was appointed and asked to serve only until this past Town Meeting, when Tom Cavanaugh was elected. (In a twist, Ameden returned to public life, standing for and winning election for the three-year seat left open with the death of Steve Prouty. In the third board election, George Mora was chosen for the two-year position vacated by Wayne Blanchard.)

Since Reed was elected last year to a two-year position, whoever replaces him will serve for one year. The board could appoint someone or it could authorize a new town vote. And it could choose to appoint the person who received the 4th highest number of votes during last week’s election to fill three seats. If they choose that route, that person would be Emmett Dunbar.

Road Foreman Duane Hart last December as he explained his proposal for Public Works director to the Select Board.

The board will decide on Wednesday, March 15 which process it will use to replace Reed. The board would have made that decision at a special meeting set for tonight, but due to the snowstorm, it postponed the meeting.  You can read the agenda here.

Road Foreman Hart could not be reached for comment on his resignation. But board member Paul Gordon said Hart turned in a resignation letter on Tuesday, March 7 following Town Meeting.

During Town Meeting, voters rejected the addition of more than $63,000 to the town budget for the  new position of Public Works director, which Hart had proposed and intended to fill.  Portions of the salary had been put in the budgets of the departments, which the director position was to oversee. These included Highway, the Transfer Station and Town Properties and those were reduced accordingly.

Gordon said that Hart gave two weeks’ notice and offered to continue to help with grants and in dealing with some issues.

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