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

Board of Selectmen off to a great start
March 21, 2007

Those of you who watched or attended Monday night's meeting of the Board of Selectmen may have noticed as we did that the atmosphere during the meeting seemed completely different than those of the recent past.

After the swearing in of newly-elected members Vivian Blondeau and Scott Gross, selectman John Caprio was elected chairman by a margin of 4-0-1 (Caprio himself abstained).  The motion to nominate Caprio, seconded by Gross, was made by Nick Campasano (Caprio thereafter deferred his selection of a vice-chairman until next week).

Then the board immediately got down to business.

For us, it was a pleasure to watch them work.  There was an obvious spirit of cooperation among all five members as the board immersed itself in discussing the tasks ahead with enthusiasm, optimism and decisiveness the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time.

References to such things as finding ways to increase revenues, reduce spending, streamlining operations, working more closely with town department heads and taking extra measures to keep the voting public informed - and involved - were prevalent throughout the meeting.

It is clear this edition of the BOS is on a mission, and with a newfound spirit of cooperation among the members, we have no doubt they will succeed.  

This was evident in discussions on some issues which had caused hot debate and disagreement on the previous BOS.  One was the board's agreement to go forward on modification of current department reporting processes involving the initiation of performance metrics and measures.  To this end, agreement was reached to purchase two publications.  One is a training tool called Measurement for Results: Implementing Performance Measures in Local Government Training Package. This tool is a comprehensive training program containing a step-by-step process of creating such municipal measurement standards, surveying citizens for input on current and desired levels of service, minimize apprehension of staff and develop performance measures.  Effectively, it is a roadmap for the board of selectmen and department heads to develop performance-based initiatives, get a handle on spending, increase productivity and streamline operations.  

Another item discussed was the Grasmere Town Hall restoration.  At the recent Town Vote, a warrant article requesting $100,000 to be put towards that effort was voted down by a wide margin for the second year in a row.  Selectman Phil D'Avanza has been a long-time supporter of the restoration efforts, yet joined in discussing options on ways to increase revenues generated by the facility, the possible elimination of some of the proposed improvements, and even selling or donating the building outright.  In so doing, D'Avanza exhibited restraint and cooperation with other board members while putting the will of the voters ahead of his own personal preferences on the project.  

Selectmen also discussed stepping up plans to set a realistic goal for coming up with a comprehensive 24/7 coverage plan.  The board would like to have a detailed plan ready by fall, seek public input on it and only then put it on ballot.  The plan, Campasano said, needs to encompass all concerns which were not addressed in this year's Article 21, i.e., living quarters, station locations, scheduling, labor contracts, etc.  Blondeau agreed, suggesting the BOS needed to put together good, detailed plan and make a good presentation to public to answer those issues left unanswered by Article 21, no later than Sept 1.   She stated, and the rest of the board agreed, that it must be done in timely fashion and the public needed to be better educated about what will be proposed.  The feeling by the board was that the plan put forth in Article 21 two weeks ago was rushed together at the last minute, leaving unanswered many questions on the details of its implementation. 

In our view, the new Goffstown Board of Selectmen is off to a great start.  

We urge all residents to support the new BOS in their efforts to accomplish their goals and make the changes we elected them to make.  With support from a better-educated and more involved public, they can only succeed.



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