Town Councilors Differ on Method of Calling Meeting

A special meeting to discuss the search for and selection of a new Town Administrator was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 28, after miscommunication on the issue was addressed at the Jan. 22 Town Council meeting.

In his Chairman’s Report, Chairman Michael Fairbanks addressed concerns expressed last week by Councilor Neil Wetherbee as to whether or not Fairbanks had violated RSA 91:A and the Town Charter when he contacted the other six members regarding scheduling a meeting.

Fairbanks had been trying to reach the other members to see about scheduling a meeting to discuss the Town Administrator  search process, which had been squeezed out of the Jan. 7 meeting.

“In order to see if anyone had scheduling conflicts, I talked to two Councilors, called one and texted three,” Fairbanks said. “It was out of consideration for their schedules.”

Fairbanks disputed allegations that it was an “illegal call,” saying, “By charter, this is the only way I could contact them.”

He said the Jan. 22 meeting was full, and he didn’t want to reschedule the Boards and Committees workshop, which is mandated by charter to occur in January.

Fairbanks asked for a consultation with the town attorney, saying, “If I violated 91-A, I want to accept the consequences and learn from it,”

Wetherbee responded, “I was not personally accusing you. It was a process issue. You can set a meeting date once you’ve discussed it with the Council. But a deliberation should be discussed in a public meeting. There’s no urgency to it.”

Wetherbee said, “It’s very important to me to have all seven Councilors here to discuss things.”

Fairbanks responded, “Why I did what I did was because I wanted to give everyone seven to 10 days to look over their schedules.”

“I would rather not see us spend the money on an attorney,” Wetherbee said. “Let’s not blow this into a huge issue.”

The meeting to discuss the administrator search was approved and scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 28, after the Nutfield News went to press.

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