The Town Manager has proposed a reorganization of the Planning Department and Economic Development at the January 23rd Town Council meeting.
Here is a brief time line of the events leading up to the proposal, complete details are in the video below.
1/19/2023 Associate Planner Laura Gandia was called to the Town Managers office. She was informed that the department was being reorganized and her position was to be eliminated if the Town Council agreed to the reorganization on 1/23/2023. Gandia was escorted out of the building and instructed not to return to work. If the reorganization was approved here last day of employment would be 1/23/2023
1/23/2023 Town Council Meeting
- Laura Gandia spoke during public comment in defense of her position and requested the council not support the reorganization.
- Multiple residents, town employees, and ZBA members spoke in favor of Gandia and requested the council not support the reorganization.
- The Town Council closed public comment and moved on to new business discussing two proposals from the fire department.
- Town Manager, Michael Malaguti presented his reorganization plan and addressed several questions from the Council.
- Councilor Joe Green stated he would not vote on the proposal citing Town Charter Section 4.8 ‘Non-interference with Town Administration’
- Green requested the Town council enter non-public session under RSA 91A II (c)
- The Council entered non-public session for approximately 25 minutes.
- The Council sealed the minute from the non-public session indefinitely.
- Council member were unsure of the legal requirement of section 4.8 and wanted a legal opinion before proceeding.
- The Council discussed several options and finally voted to continue the discussion pending legal counsel to the February 6, 2023 meeting.
The video below has been edited to only contain comments and discussion related to the reorganization. A full length unedited video can be found HERE
RSA 91A II (c)
II. Only the following matters shall be considered or acted upon in nonpublic session:
(c) Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine, or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.
Town Charter Section 4.8. Non-interference with Town Administration
The Council shall act in all matters as a body. Except as expressly provided elsewhere in this Charter, neither the Council nor any of its members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to office or employment; or direct the removal, suspension, discipline, adjustment in pay, benefits, or working conditions of any employee by the Manager or of any of the Town department heads.
No Councilor shall give orders to or interfere with the performance of the duties of any of the administrative officers or employees, either publicly or privately. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the Council from meeting with the Manager to discuss the operation or conduct of any department head or employee and to recommend an investigation and report by the Manager of any complaint. Any violation of the provisions of this section by a Councilor shall constitute grounds for forfeiture of office under the provisions of Section 3.3.
Town Council Supports Reorganization with a 4-1 Vote
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