Re-Organization at Town Hall

Acting Town Manager Bill Hart today announced a re-organization of Town Government.  In a letter to the Town Council, he stated, “I have determined that the function of the position of Assistant Town Manager is redundant and unnecessary to efficient functioning of town government responsibilities.”

The plan will eliminate the position of Assistant Town Manager, and reduce the pay for the position of Director of Finance and Administration from $120,231.07 base pay to $109,523.71.  That office will continue to supervise the Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s Office, Welfare Operations and the Human Resource Manager’s responsibilities.  Information Technologies will be shifted to the Office of the Town Manager.  The guidelines regarding the Director’s fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers of the Town also were clarified and strengthened.

“The recent situation involving impact fees meant provided the impetus to examine how Town officials could serve the residents of Londonderry more effectively.” said Hart.  “This is a start towards that goal; indeed we will continue to assess our operations taking action where needed.”

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  1. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1WTF?

    I read in LTimes that Caron got a severance package. Since when do people who resign get paid…for 8 months!??? TC….wtf???

  2. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1john

    Perfect, now just get rid of the Fire Chief. We pay him 114K a year and he doesn’t seem to know anything about his department and never answers the conceals questions

  3. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1One Percenter

    Tom Freda was right !! Several years ago when Tom proposed at Town Meeting to eliminate the funding for this position he was attacked. Seems he was right all along. Keep digging Mr. Hart, their is a lot more waste on the town side; and don’t forget to take a look at your own department. It is functioning well without a chief. How much could that save us ?

  4. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

    If you read between the lines, the “resignation” of the TM looks more and more like a firing because of the impact fee debacle. Allowing someone to “resign” is a face saving move for the individual and is not deserving of an 8 month paid vacation. Whether it was a “resignation” or a firing, we’ll never know. The records are sealed and unavailable to the the people that are truely the bosses and the payers of the salary.

  5. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

    Is there anyone else expecting the “resignation” of the assitant TM to happen shortly?

  6. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Jill

    Let’s not get crazy…we still need a fire chief and a police chief. I think Chief Hart has his department under control and is probably spread very thin while having to do other people’s jobs because they screwed up. If I read John correctly I think he means we need a fire chief that can be knowledgable about his department and worth out money, not that we do away with the position. That being said, I do not think anyone who is resigning in the face of being fired deserves paid vacation. How can we pay his salary plus a new town manager if we can’t afford an additional firefighter? If this town is so interested in saving money I don’t see how this is something we are allowing to happen!

    1. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1Fred2

      I think this fire chief can be let go. Does he do anything but drive around in his car?

      How can the newest hired department head be the highest paid Department head in his few year.

      Any guesses?

      1. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1Janie

        I am going to lose it if I read anymore of these ridiculous posts on this site like this one from Fred2 above. It’s either stupid inane posts here like Fred2′s or the sophomoric self-serving editorials in the L-Times that make us look like a bunch of uneducated hayseeds that just got home from a date with one of our cousins. Geesh.

        1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

          Are you related or something? How is stating that the chief could be let go make US look like hayseeds that date our cousin? Fred didn’t say eliminate the position, he just said get rid of the current chief. Just ask any of the firefighters that 2 years ago gave him a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in his abilities. I’ll bet they would say he can go.

          1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Nancy

            I have to agree with Janie.

            Haven’t any of us ever filled in for someone temporarily at work because they were on leave or transferred? It is usually pure hell to do someone else’s job while trying to do your own. So because we have people filling in for others during this period we should eliminate the position??? How stupid are we to call for that?

            So next time your boss at work says: “SInce you been filling in for Joe these last 4 weeks, we decided to eliminate his old job and want you to do it as well as your original job. Have a nice day.” When that happens, post on this blog that you’re now working 60-90 hrs a week, never see your family anymore, and that you now feel 80 when you’re only 50. You can either post it under “I” for “I told you so” or post it under “S” for “Stupid remarks coming back to haunt you”

  7. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Save more $

    Why don’t we save more $ by contracting out our fire dispatching or combining with the police?

    How about a public safety chief overseeing both departments? Everyone knows the people that work under the chiefs are the ones who really run the organizations. The chiefs are just there to politic for their departments and manage the budget.

  8. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tired of it

    $109000 a year is a demotion. This is crazy! The Finance Director should be let go after over 1 million impact fee fiasco. Isn’t the public always told they win an award – what a joke!

    1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Fred2

      109K is not a demotion. It is the close to the salary range a finance director should be paid. However, if you take into account all the years we’ve been paying top notch dollars I’ll take any reduction to the taxpayer wallet.

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

        There is no reduction to the taxpayers wallet. We will in essense be paying for 2 town managers until March 2013.

  9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Go Chief Hart.......

    Go thou ALL dept. get rid of them all, the building inspectors office, for one, they are going to be oking the Woodmont Commons project as it happens, please pray for us? Look for all policy’s that have not been followed and look at the policy’s that get followed to the letter depending on who you are and how much you can do for the town! Make it mandatory for all town workers to live and work in this wonderful for bussiness community. Get people in these offices that really truely work for the taxpapers, and I don’t mean the company’s that are showing an interest in the new PORTSMOUTH that Londonderry is about to become, with a new exit, and a 600 acre city.

    We all choose Londonderry for different reasons, but if you have or had kids the school system was top grade, a push in the right direction, if you wanted a child to grow up and become a taxpayer, no matter where they would end up. Start thinking of the familys that have lived here for years and can no longer afford to. But don’t think your going to get top dollar for your loving homes, because you won’t people. FOLKs are still losing homes every week in Londonderry, it some thing no one talks about, drive down, High Range or Hovey Dr… The forecloser are there, the ones with the lawns that haven’t been cut, or the windows with no treatments. DO you think they wanted to walk away? I don’t think so. Do you think the town leaders care about them or you, the one who has to decide, do we keep treading barely above water, with a major set back a week or two pay checks away. It’s insane and a shame and if we don’t do something to make it so we all live within our means, we are doomed!!! If you think not, God Bless you, because I assure you, while you my not be worried, you next door neighbor, or your child’s friends school mates family might be next, but we keep these things to ourself because of shame or we don’t want our nieghbors to know we are in trouble. Wake up Londonderry, because it could be you next!

    Excuse the spelling errors, I am just so mad, i don’t care, its the same old people saying the same old thing over and over, and quess what, NOTHING IS CHANGING…….. Clean house Chief! and thanks for making our town as safe as you have with your leadership and team of officers!!!

    1. +10 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

      Taxes are high because you don’t want a business tax base. Have you seen the Appletree Plaza? Empty. We should be inviting businesses to build on Route 102 and Route 28. Merrimack is doing it beautifully. We are losing our businesses to surrounding towns. So sad. I agree that Chief Hart is doing a good job.

  10. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Martin Srugis

    Did you vote in the last election?
    Did you show up at any budget hearings??

  11. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1resident

    Attention Residents of Londonderry,

    This town is NOT business friendly. Builders don’t want to build here and companies don’t want to move here due to ridiculous fees and exorbitant taxes. Did you know it costs a builder $10k in impact fees to build each home?
    We spent all this money on hiring a consulting firm to attract businesses, but haven’t changed the reason why they don’t come. It’s all smoke and mirrors. They don’t come to Londonderry because we’re known for having a bureaucracy of red tape.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Save more $

      I agree. There’s too much red tape here. Bring in businesses of all kinds. Attract a few more builders to develop 55+ neighborhoods.

      I watch some the meetings of the various committees and it seems like they are more focused on finding ways to stop a new business/project rather than working with them.

  12. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Changesaregood

    @ save more $
    @ resident

    Great points. Lets continue to move forward with the re-organization at town hall. The press release did say re-organization begins.

    Hart has been doing a great job! Once a town manager is found lets move him to the Department of Safety and eliminate the chief at the fire house. BINGO another $100K (at least) in savings.

    Love the fact that the Planning Board is now going out for bid on who will do engineering fees for the town. It isn’t in the pocket of the same old firm who has been here forever costing business, local boards, residents, and civic groups tons of money in over engineering the plans.

    It seems the people of Londonderry know where the problems are. Now with Caron and the inner circle breached, maybe the new Sheriff (pardon the pun) will have the courage and support of the sitting council to make the changes that are so desperately needed.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Louis

      And then move on to the Clam Shack?

  13. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1John

    I hope that Chief Hart is throwing his name in the hat for the Town Manager postion. This guy gets it! He is downsizing where possible and consolidating postions to save money. I think its exactly what this town needs, smaller, more efficient govenment!

  14. +10 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

    Here’s another idea to save money… Get rid of the Library Department Head. In 2010 she made $104,000. Chief Hart made $107,000 that same year. As far as I’m concerned, this is ridiculous. She has maybe 1/4 the responsibilities of the chief and she makes three grand less. And this library has less public operating hours than many of the surrounding towns. Sorry, she makes way too much.

  15. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Fred2

    I wonder if TM Hart will be able to do anything else at Town Hall? All the other department heads are members of the Executive Union.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

      “Executive Union”, what a farce. You won’t find an “Executive Union” in the dreaded private sector. In fact ALL department heads in town should be on employment contracts that are renewable annualy if performance warrants it.

  16. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1L'derry Reader

    Sorry, but they all make too much money for a group that hasn’t performed for the town citizens. By that I mean, become more efficient, reduce taxes, bring in a solid consistent tax base, improve department performances and of course maintain high educational standards.

    Our tax bills are constantly increasing with no leveling off – or, dare I say it, reduction in sight. People move here, and when their kids graduate, they leave because they don’t want to pay the ridiculous tax bills they are served with.

    1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

      Less than 6 years until my youngest graduates. The “FOR SALE” sign will go up the next day.

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

        Watch out where you move to. You’ll go to town meeting, and someone will step and say “We need a new town hall, police station, 2 new fire stations, etc… ” Remember, you’ve paid for all that stuff here already, and those bonds could be almost paid off. And if Londonderry does need another new building, be sure it doesn’t have custom stained furniture ( our police station ) and many more frivolous items.

        1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Fred2

          That is why I’m holding out. The Library dropped off this year. I’d be curious to know what the next item is to drop off. The Kindergarten has got to be close. What about the addition on the Middle School? Some of the Open Space Bonds must be close. This was all bonded around the same time.

          If the town and school have managed their finances correctly, some of the bonds might have been re-rolled. It would be nice to know when and what is falling off.

          1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

            We just need to be sure that if a new building is proposed, it is truely needed, and built without the “bling” we have everywhere else.

          2. Vote -1 Vote +1CMelcher

            Middle school 2017 high school another 10 years or so. There is a town one dropping off this year but I don’t recall which one.

      2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

        2019 my daughter graduates and I have no intent on staying in this town any longer myself. Why live in a town where 80% of my taxes go to the school and not have any children?

        1. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1REsident

          Good thing those expensive schools your children have enjoyed and benefited from over the past 12 years are the #1 reason someone will move to Londonderry and buy your home. Bye Mike

          1. Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

            Yes REsident, I am leaving. Why would I want 80% of my taxes going to something that I have no investment in? And why would I want to stay in a town that has no interest in allowing new businesses? Instead of a Target we get a SECOND Bus Terminal. Just what every town needs is two bus terminals. Trust me, I won’t shed a tear as I close the door to my house for the last time…

        2. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Judy

          My kids graduated and I stayed. I love it here. Makes no sense to sell and move to a lesser community like Derry and pay 20% higher taxes there. If you want lower property taxes then move back to MA….of course you’ll get an income and sales tax too. Pick your poisen.

          1. Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

            Who said anything about moving to Derry? Or Massachusetts for that matter? I’m talking about going somewhere that has a lower tax basis. Take Candia for instance. I could buy a house there that is roughly the same as mine and pay $3000.00 less in taxes. In Bedford it would be $2000.00 less. There is a lot I could do with an extra 2-3 thousand dollars.

          2. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mac

            Anyone looking to escape the Londonderry tax problems will not go to a town like Derry. There are many nice towns in Southern NH that have much lower tax rates that offer just as nice (if not nicer) lifestyle.

          3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

            Who said anything about Derry? Or Massachusetts for that matter? I’m going somewhere with a lower tax base. Take Candia and Bedford for example. I could buy a house similar to mine in every way and pay two to four thousand dollars LESS in taxes every year. There’s a lot I could do with $4000…

          4. Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

            I’ve looked into other areas of the country, not just other areas in NH. How does a 2100 sg/ft house valued at $219,000 with a tax bill of $865.00 A YEAR in Arkansas. OR a 1600 sg/ft house valed at $249.000 with a tax bill of $1,400 A YEAR in Florida with no income tax. What I’m getting at is that there are MUCH cheaper places to live than NH. I do love it here, but when I have no children to educate, don’t stand in my way out of town or you’ll get run over.

          5. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Mac

            I know someone in Georgia (lives in a large suburb of Atlanta) that was complaining when his annual property tax reached $800 a year. This was 2 years ago. He lives in a beautiful home with close to 2000 square feet and a nice piece of land in a well maintained development that abuts a lake.

          6. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Nancy

            @ Mike: In the 15 minutes beween your 2 posts, taxes dropped $1000!! Can we all spell hyperbole?

            Bedford is just starting to build the infrastructure Londonderry is finished with. Just built a very expensive HS and just put over $20M in to roads. Their taxes are on the rise; and fast. The one thing Bedford has done well is develop their tax base with commercial/industrial development. Londonderry could learn from them. Good thing is we have the most potential for future development in that area of any community in NH. That should help us for years to come with our tax base.

            Candia?? Please. You must be kidding!! Funny.

          7. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

            Nancy,

            For more than 10 years the taxpayers of Londonderry have been fed the line about how valuable the idustrial/commercial property in town is. How that property will stabilize the taxes once it’s built out. The same line will probably be spewed for the next 10 years with zero results.
            As far as Londonderry having built out our infrastructure, are you kidding? Take a look at the capital plan for the next 5 years. I believe that there is over $20 million ( thats million with an m) in capital projects being proposed. Whether it’s Londonderry, Bedford or even Candia, “the infrastructure” is NEVER finished.

          8. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

            I don’t see why Judy has a -4, as I thought her comment made sense.

            As for Nancy, you are correct, we do have quite a bit of commercial space to develope, but that always will come with the question: Who will pay to build Pettengill Road? Thankfully, we have plenty of commeercial land that we can develope without building roads for the short term. The 1,000 acres near the airport is a good nest egg for the future.

          9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Nancy

            @ Bill: I’m aware of the Capital Plan. The current Capital plan is a long wish list with a low priority on everything. From what I observe with the Town Council, none of that stuff is making it through thos guys. If it wasn’t for state cost downshifts to the town, our town/school tax rates would have already dropped.

            And without much political fanfare, the TC is making changes at town hall. Glad to see it. It’s overdue and good for the future. When I tell people I’m from Londonderry they still say “Ooo, now that’s a nice town.” I reply, “Yup. It is” and smile.

            I plan on retiring right here. And I want my town lean and forward thinking. I plan on attending at least another 25 Old Home Days celebrations before I’m planted. Londonderry is on the right road.

          10. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill

            A couple of those councilors that you are praising voted in the pud that has spawned the Woodmont nightmare. Do you think that is heading Londonderry in the right direction?

          11. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Nancy

            @Bill: I may be wrong, but I don’t believe any of the current 5 Councilors were on the Board when that was voted in. They just now have to deal with the consequences and make the best of it. Can’t go back. Those 5 are all gone. I like what the current 5 are doing so far.

          12. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

            Nancy, I didn’t mean to sent both posts. My computer was acting up.

          13. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

            And I am all for the Woodmont Orchard re-do. I just wish they started planning it 15 years ago.

          14. -7 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

            Nancy, I think your right about the current council not being involved with the PUD.

            Mike, You are all for Woodmont? I’ll bet you don’t live near it, do you. If I may ask, why did you move to Londonderry when you want to be in a Portsmouth downtown looking type of area? We have that in Manchester, and don’t need it here. Wait until we need a new elementary school to support the 3,000 units coming. It started out as a tax positive developement, then equal, but I’ll bet $100 to the food pantry this will have a negative tax impact here.

          15. Vote -1 Vote +1Louis

            Nancy wrote: ” I may be wrong, but I don’t believe any of the current 5 Councilors were on the Board when that was voted in. They just now have to deal with the consequences and make the best of it. Can’t go back. Those 5 are all gone. I like what the current 5 are doing so far”

            Nancy, Councilor Farrell was the vice chair of the Planning Board while the PUD was written and passed. He was aware of Woodmont long before a lot of the rest of us. So if the Council is now ‘dealing with the consequences’ it’s consequences that, he as a Plannning Board member, voted on.

  17. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Steve Homsey

    Hold on Bill, wait until the new Master plan comes out. I understand it includes a plan to get our taxes back to what they were 20 years ago. I think people realized when taxes were half people moved here, now that they doubled people move away, hmmmm. Also, the House will be voting on putting a % cap, as a percentage of value towns will be allowed to charge on a home, that outta help too. Followed by a sales tax. Yes, your State has decided it no longer hates you and really does love you!

    I want a dream lover so I don’t have to dream alone…

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Martin Srugis

      Funny, I don’t remember seeing you at the planapalooza? this suggestion never came up?

  18. -16 Vote -1 Vote +1Betsy McKinney

    Instead of getting rid of the Library Director perhaps we should clone her.

    2008 the Library Budget was $1,212,000 six years later the budget (2013) is $1,200,000. I doubt there is any other budget that has dealt with that type of reductions. It is the Director and the staff that has made this possible. It is impossible t o compare salaries but the L.Director has been there for 11 years. (In 2008 her salary was $99K and the then Police Chief was $124K.) Even if you assume a 2% inflation rate and union contracts I think she’s done a great job.

    “Truth in advertising” I’m a Library Trustee…

    1. +13 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike

      So what you’re saying is that she makes 1/10 of the operating budget of the library. Like I said, this is way too much. Chief Hart is in charge of nearly 100 people. She’s in charge of what, 10? 15? Way too much.

  19. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Larry

    Just glad to see the local town government methodically going through the steps to make the changes. No political posturing, no fanfare, no chest thumping, none of the “look what I did for you” garbage we often see from others. No public hand wringing. Just get it done quietly and professionally; turn the page. Thank you Councilors and Chief Hart.

    1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Ken McLoon

      But who will do this on the school side of things when we are done with Town Hall?

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