March 1, 2015
Why change our form of town government? That’s the question citizens will face next Tuesday, March 10th when we decide whether Article 15 – adopting a Town Manager, is right for Goffstown.
As the 13th largest municipality in NH, with a population of over 18,000 citizens, now is the time to make a modest change in our local government. By voting yes on Article 15, Goffstown will transition to a Town Manager form of government. With this form of government, rather than a five member, part- time Board of Selectmen supervising the day to day operations of the police, fire, public works and parks departments, a town manager would now have these operational responsibilities under NH RSA 37.
With a Town Manager, our Selectmen could focus their time and energy towards larger issues such as enhancing economic development to lower taxes, focusing on long term capital and infrastructure needs, and revamping an outdated employee compensation and benefit plan. Simply put, a Town Manager would be a more efficient way to manage our local government, and enhance accountability.
Many people have asked , is this a big change for Goffstown? Actually it’s not. Our two largest local governmental entities are the town and school district. For decades we have operated under a school superintendent who manages the operations of our schools, and who directly supervises our principals and other administrators. I couldn’t imagine a system whereby our school administrators would each be directly supervised by the school board. Essentially the town manager would be very similar to a school superintendent.
By voting yes on Article 15- Town Manager, many things will not change. We’ll still have a budget committee to develop the School and Town budgets. We will continue with all of the current committees in town, and we’ll still have a Deliberative Session and Town Elections so you the voter can decide on town budgets, labor contracts, planning and zoning changes and many other important issues.
Change is not always popular, but often it is necessary. I realize that some are satisfied with our current system of local government. However I hear an even greater voice in Goffstown wanting our government to be more accountable and efficient. If you are one of those voices who would like to see a more streamlined local government, then I urge you to vote yes on Article 15.
Former Selectmen and School Board Member