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