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Editorials published by the Goffstown Residents Association are written by various members and contributing non-members of the GRA.

Duffy Missed the Point
April 17, 2006

In her letter of April 14th to the GRA (see Letters to the GRA) responding to a GRA article entitled "Will of the Voters Ignored Again", Planning Board chairman Jo Ann Duffy makes some valid points.  Indeed, the article's mention that Dick Georgantas garnered only 28.5% of the vote does not clearly reflect that his third-place finish resulted in his failure to be elected to one of the two open seats by 148 votes.  And we also acknowledge that historically, the planning board has tended to appoint individuals who were the losing candidates with the next highest vote total to fill vacancies.

But we believe Duffy completely missed the point of the GRA article.  What has been done "historically" is exactly what the voters have clearly indicated they want stopped!  A good example of this is the way Barbara Griffin reacted on April 3rd when newly-elected selectman Nick Campasano voted against Griffin's nomination for chairman of the Board of Selectmen (see official meeting minutes).  Historically, such a vote has nearly always been unanimous, at least according to Griffin.  And she was not a happy camper about Nick's vote, chastising him for breaking from the tradition of unanimously approving BOS chair nominations.   

Indeed, how dare Campasano ignore history?!?  

The answer is simple.  Nick understood the will of the voters and acted accordingly.  Kudos, Mr. Campasano.  You heard us back in March.

Consider the following hypothetical:  How do you suppose the taxpayers would react if, say, one of our current selectmen were to suddenly step down, and the Board of Selectmen subsequently appointed recently-ousted Gossett McRae to fill the vacant seat?  Do you truly believe such an action would serve the clear mandate of the voters on March 14th?  Do you believe such an action could be justified based on Gossett's past experience on the BOS, or worse, on the basis of past practices?  Do you believe the voters would stand for such an action?  Granted, McRae wasn't the losing candidate with the next highest vote total (Pamela Manney was).  But Gossett was an incumbent who was voted out of office.  Such a result sends a very clear message - in any election. 

A similarly clear message was sent to the Planning Board - which it ignored. 

To wit:  Georgantas was indeed the losing candidate with the next highest vote total.  But he was also an incumbent - and a long-term incumbent at that.  As Duffy pointed out, his third-place finish was by 148 votes.  But he was an incumbent with a 2 out of 3 chance of being re-elected, and still he was voted out of office.  What message do you think the voters were sending there?  It was obvious on March 14th that voters were angry with the way things were being run in Goffstown government, and the results of the voting clearly indicated as much, and in numerous ways.  As the GRA article pointed out, the election was a mandate by the voters - a very loud and clear one.  Georgantas didn't lose the election - the taxpayers clearly voted him out.  There's a tremendous difference between the two, and that mandate by the voters was ignored when Georgantas was put right back on the board.

The Goffstown Residents Association supported you as a candidate back in March, Jo Ann.  A large part of the reason had to do with the way you handled the Glen Lake kindergarten site.  You, and Bill Wynne, both showed integrity and forcefulness in standing your ground against what is proving to be, as expected, an expensive and sub-par location, and you did so even after Georgantas called your abstention from voting "a coward's vote" at the 9/22 planning board meeting.  And you have demonstrated such integrity on many other issues in the past.  

But by voting for you - and for Alan Yeaton, the majority of Goffstown taxpayers were also obviously casting their votes against putting Dick Georgantas back in office.  The message from the voters on March 14th was crystal clear: they wanted change, Jo Ann.  That was obvious by the BOS vote, the many police/fire merger articles, the TIF Plan articles, the budget responsibility articles, and the planning board vote.  Even the Grasmere Town Hall vote took a hit this year!  Wasn't the planning board listening to us?  

By appointing Dick right back to the very board he was voted out of, you have completely and effectively ignored the clear will of the voters.  And now, thanks to your actions, you have negated our votes, and the result is that NOTHING has changed on the planning board.  

As such, we are disappointed in your first substantial action as chairman of the planning board.


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