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

Why did DPW (and D'Avanza) keep selectmen in the dark?
August 17, 2007

On July 23rd, Public Works Director Carl Quiram informed selectmen that his previous estimate of $600,000 for the Rosemont neighborhood drainage project had suddenly risen to nearly $900,000.  

In explaining the discrepancy, Quiram stated that he had
he had never shown his original plan to the city of Manchester (which would be involved in the project) prior to submitting his estimate, and that after he did, Manchester pointed out numerous issues (gas lines, water lines, existing sewer composition, required digging depth, and more) that suddenly would add $300,000 to the cost of the project.

Unknown study

Selectmen were dismayed at the sudden change in the estimated cost. 
Eventually Quiram was asked if the project might be done in stages to help spread the cost.  Quiram stated that indeed the project could be done in various phases, and then mentioned a 2004 study that outlined a five-phase plan for the project.

What 2004 study?

Selectmen (except, of course, Phil D'Avanza) had never heard of, or been told of, a 2004 study conducted by McFarland-Johnson, Inc. of Concord, N.H., which recommended a 5 phase approach to the project, as follows:

        Phase 1 - $307,000
        Phase 2 - $162,000 
        Phase 3 - $ 75,000
        Phase 4 - $ 53,000
        Phase 5 - $203,000

The study also "highly recommends" phases 1 and 3 as priority portions of the study, as those two phases "...would alleviate the majority of the primary stormwater ponding near the Rosemont/Mast Road intersection and the properties adjacent to the wetland.

Why weren't selectmen told of this before?  Why is it that Quiram never volunteered the existence of the study, and only did so after being asked about multi-phasing the project? 

And what about D'Avanza?  He was on the board at the time the study was released - why did he remain silent about it as well?

Perhaps D'Avanza simply assumed that Quiram intended to multi-phase the project as outlined in the 2004 study all along.  Or perhaps D'Avanza, an adamant opponent of change, and a staunch supporter of all things past, simply decided to keep the information to himself so as not to upset the DPW applecart.

But Quiram's reasons for withholding the information seem clear to us.  He certainly wanted his $600,000 back in the road plan, and coming in with a higher estimate almost insured his success at getting it, to wit:


The Rosemont project was originally included in the proposed 2007 operating budget.  But late last year, the Budget Committee voted to move the project to the town warrant as a special article for voters to decide on.

But in January, the project was moved back into the operating budget for fear the much-needed project would fail at the March 13, 2007 town vote.  The committee also recommended to selectmen that Quiram's Road Plan budget be reduced by $600,000 to compensate for the additional expense.

Selectmen agreed.  And thereafter, with his road plan budget cut by $600,000, Quiram was not a happy camper.  

Lie by omission?

So how could Quiram get his $600,000 back?  Here's what we think...

While being chastised by selectman Nick Campasano on June 18th for having spent excavator purchase savings without authorization, Quiram was told that had the cost exceeded the allotted amount, the purchase would not have been made and the monies would have been returned to the budget.

Armed with this information, it is apparent to us that Quiram now believed that if the Rosemont project estimate came in higher than the allotted $600,000, the monies would go back in the budget and the project would be cancelled - at least for now.  And if cancelled, he'd get his road plan money back.

Sweet, he must have thought.  

So now Quiram had two choices:  1) Inform selectmen of the optional approach of multi-phasing the project, or 2) keep his mouth shut, see the project cancelled or postponed and, most importantly (to him), get his $600,000 back for his road plan.

So what did Quiram do?  He approached selectmen and gave them his "bad news" $900,000 "revised" estimate, then kept his mouth shut, never volunteering anything about the 2004 multi-phase study.  Notably, D'Avanza kept quiet about it as well.

Oh well, too bad, right?  Looks like the project is too expensive, so the $600K will just have to go back into the road plan...

Sound far fetched?  Read on.

On July 19th, a week before his "bad news" presentation to selectmen, Quiram had already appeared before the CIP committee to request that the $600,000 be returned to the Road Plan in 2008.  

And he did so before ever informing selectmen about his "new" doomsday estimate.  His apparent plan was already in place long before he informed selectmen.

Obviously, Quiram certainly wanted his $600,000 back, and keeping selectmen in the dark about a multi-phase option would certainly have served towards that end.

Fortunately for taxpayers, selectmen were finally made aware of the study (only after asking), and as a result, the bulk of the project, no thanks to Quiram, will be completed this year - and for far less than the budgeted $600,000.

So why did Quiram keep selectmen in the dark about it?

We think the reason is obvious.  

Quiram wanted the $600K back in his road plan, no matter what.

Quiram, during the long-gone days of the Bob Wheeler-led "Good Old Boys" network, always pretty much had a free hand to do whatever he wanted, so long as Goffstown never again received a "worst roads in the state" award as it did years ago (currently, Quiram's only remaining ally from that group is D'Avanza).  This is evidenced by Quiram's recent expenditure of town resources to accommodate a local developer (see Developer works with - and against - town ), his unauthorized expenditure of savings realized by DPW's excavator purchase (see Selectmen again question DPW spending), his subsequent rental of a second excavator, negating the savings he himself professed the town would realize by buying the first one (see Selectmen reel in DPW), the fact that the Grasmere roundabout is behind schedule and over budget, and Quiram's continuing habit of quoting inaccurate figures to selectmen when questioned as to whether or not his department can complete projects at a lower cost to taxpayers than contracting the work out (see Have you stopped and smelled the asphalt?).

In short, we believe Quiram is out of control.  Worse, it appears he has been withholding information from selectmen to further his own agenda, and has done so at the expense of  Goffstown's taxpayers.

As local resident Ray Johannet asked selectmen during public comment on July 16th, "Why is that man still on the payroll?"

Frankly, we have no idea.  

And as for D'Avanza?  Well, he's the last of the remaining
"Good Old Boys", and fortunately for all of us, his term expires in March.


Rosemont project to go forward
  2004 Rosemont Area Drainage Study
  Selectmen reel in DPW
  Selectmen again question DPW spending 
  Last round of construction proceeds in Grasmere


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  Copyright© 2007, Goffstown Residents Association.  All Rights Reserved.


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