PJ Cyr: Opposed to changing the Town Manager form of government

To the editor:

On March 14, Gorham voters will be presented with a ballot vote on Article No. 2 “Do you favor the continuation of the Town Manager plan as now in force in this town?'' As administrative heads in the Town of Gorham, we have seen many selectmen as they come and go, and realize the one position that should remain consistent is the Town Manager. To cast a competent vote on Article No. 2, one must read NH RSA 37; in short, it defines the authority, powers, and duties of the Town Manager. After taking the time to consider the law, one will immediately realize the Town Manager’s position can be easily described as “the glue” of town affairs. If the Town Manager form of government is rescinded, on April 12, the Board of Selectmen will assume the statutory authority, powers and duties once held by the Town Manager.

The Town of Gorham has operated under the Town Manager form of government for decades. How does the change affect our current Board of Selectmen and their understanding of the responsibilities of their elected positions? During a time with significant capital infrastructure projects and emergency service studies on the horizon, we feel this is a critical time to have a Town Manager in place to organize town affairs for the Board of Selectmen, so they can effectively govern the Town of Gorham.

At the 1990 Gorham Town Meeting, voters elected to change the Town Manager form of government only to rescind their decision the very next year. At the 2008 Gorham Town Meeting, voters faced Article No. 2, “"Do you favor the continuation of the Town Manager plan as now in force in this town?'' The article gained majority vote (Yes-450/No-167) to keep the Town Manager form of government. We feel the revocation of the Town Manager form of government and the change of authority, power and duties will have a detrimental effect on the administration of the Town. We go on record as opposed to the change in the Town Manager form of government as it does not serve the best interests of the Town or its residents. Please vote “Yes” to Article No. 2 on March 14.

PJ Cyr, Chief of Police
Austin Holmes, Director of Public Works
Denise Vallee, Director of Finance and Administration