Chester Selectman Chastised for Acting Without Board OK

CHESTER – Selectmen Rich LeBlanc has been called out for overstepping his authority as a selectman.
After LeBlanc explained improvements he authorized on the municipal building’s fire alarm system, selectman Jack Cannon took issue with the move, pointing out that not only was it done without any other selectman’s input, but it was done in direct opposition to a motion made and approved by the board at its most recent meeting.

“That’s all well and good,” said Cannon to the alarm fix, but added that he did not think LeBlanc understood what he was allowed to do as a single selectman.
It’s an issue that has been skirted before when LeBlanc unilaterally authorized expensive upgrades to the town’s security system last May.
The root of the most recent matter lies in the fact that the municipal building’s radio box alarm to Derry dispatch had not been functioning for a couple weeks previous because of equipment failure in Derry, as reported previously in the Tri-Town Times. Concurrent was a local equipment malfunction in the strobe and siren for the fire alarm.
In response, the town has been paying a member of the fire department to be on fire watch when the building is closed. A discussion at the selectmen’s Sept. 26 meeting saw the board vote to continue the overnight fire watch for two weeks or until Derry’s system was fixed, whichever came first.
At the selectmen’s Thursday, Oct. 3 meeting, Cannon read from the minutes outlining that decision, pointing out that LeBlanc voted in the affirmative.
“That’s what this board did,” he said. “You had absolutely no right to go over and change this direction, in my opinion. I have every right to be consulted when significant material changes are made in how the town’s assets are being protected. You decided not to do that. You decided to act alone and counter a motion made by this board, and I think you were wrong in doing so.”
LeBlanc said he thought the matter was a maintenance issue. While stating in a brief exchange with Cannon that he knew about the motion in question, he added that he stood corrected.
“I apologize to the board, and it won’t happen again,” said LeBlanc.
Meanwhile, according to Derry Fire Battalion Chief Mike Gagnon, a new radio box receiver unit has been ordered and was expected to be received Monday or Tuesday.
In a phone interview Friday, Gagnon said the Communications Center had been unable to receive some calls due to the defective receiver. He noted the failure did not affect all the radio boxes.
The radio box that failed was in the Hampstead Road station, and affected service to Hampstead and Chester.

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