Derry to re-combine town, zoning admin posts Board assesses surprise snowstorm response, recovery

Board member George Mora weighs keeping positions as one. All photos by Bruce Frauman

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

In response to an applicant for the zoning administrator position, Londonderry Select Board member George Mora revealed on Monday, Dec. 3 that the board had decided to combine this open position with the town administrator, as had been the case under Robert Nied, who held both positions until he resigned. He had been in the post for a year.

With Nied’s resignation on Nov. 5, the board had accepted his recommendation that the two posts be separated into two full-time jobs.

Board member Bob Forbes told The Telegraph on Tuesday that, after the request for resumes went out for two full-time positions, the Select Board and Planning Commission reconsidered their plans. And both now believed that one full-time combined position with a part-time assistant is the better route.

Board member Bob Forbes said the former administrator had managed to get rid of much zoning backlog.

Forbes said Nied had tackled a lot of backlog, especially in zoning violations, and once that is completely caught up, two full-time administrators may not be needed. Mora also said that two full-time administrators would be expensive.

Sharon Crossman, recently added as his assistant, is now the interim zoning administrator while Kevin Beattie, who is also her Crossman’s husband, is the interim town administrator. Both have worked in various capacities in town government.

The 31-minute open session was sandwiched between two hour-long executive sessions to interview candidates and discuss the open administrative positions. No decisions have been made.

Snowstorm, power outages
spurs town into action

Commenting on last Monday’s wet, heavy snowstorm,  Chair Jim Ameden noted that all roads are now open. Route 100 and Middletown Road had been closed due to fallen trees. Mora added that electricity has been restored to everyone in town.

During the storm, more than 1,000 Green Mountain Power customers in Londonderry were without power, some until Saturday. The Londonderry Volunteer Rescue Squad building on Route 100 was used as a warming shelter during the day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with about 30 people taking advantage of it.

Kevin Beattie and the board discuss the town’s response to the recent snowstorm and power outage.

Beattie, who is also Emergency Management director, said he learned from Windham Regional Commission planner Alyssa Sabetto that Windham County has met the threshold for disaster relief funds. Ameden said a lot of brush still must be removed from ditches and the remains of trees removed from roads. He added that some work will have to wait until the spring.

Beattie said a generator, paid for with the help of a FEMA grant, had been delivered to the Twitchell government office building last Wednesday and installers were to have it operational on Tuesday, Dec 4. This will allow the building to be used as an Emergency Operation Center during a power outage.

Beattie also said he was surprised to learn that state emergency management now requires buildings to undergo a fire inspection before they can be opened as shelters. Flood Brook School is the town’s designated shelter with Red Cross providing cots, blankets and water.

In other action, Forbes said he has been asked for advice by a town resident on how to approach the board in support of the Nature Conservancy’s plans to purchase 3,500 acres on Glebe Mountain, 1,500 acres of which lies in Londonderry.

And finally, Treasurer Tina Labeau is rescheduling the nine town departments for budget talks after the town offices were closed for several days last week.

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