The Town Council approved with a 3-0 vote an amendment to the Municipal Code that ensures the town’s hiring practices aren’t biased by nepotism.
Council Chair Tom Dolan and Vice Chairman Jim Butler were not present for the meeting.
The Nepotism and Conflicts of Interest Ordinance prevents any town employee or official from hiring a family member; and requires town employees and officials to recuse themselves from decisions by which they would realize a direct or indirect financial gain.
Jake Butler, who owns a landscaping business based in Londonderry, asked if the new ordinance would affect his ability to contract with the Town because his brother, Fire Lt. Bo Butler, is a town employee.
This doesn’t prevent family members from being employed by the town, its purpose is to prevent individual family members from impacting the hiring of their relatives, Councilor Tom Freda said.
“It would affect you if Bo Butler is the one hiring you. He just wouldn’t have any say in your hiring,” Councilor Joe Green said, adding that under the ordinance, Butler’s brother may supervise his work for the Town and issue him orders in the day-to-day operations.
Butler asked the council why the nepotism and conflicts of interest ordinance has just been established now.
Freda said until recently, he wasn’t aware the town didn’t have the policy.
“We have 150 employees and 30 are related,” he said. “This is not necessarily directed at anyone, but it’s to show from the outside looking in, the perception is everyone has an equal opportunity at being hired for a position.”
In other news from the Monday night meeting:
• The Council continued to their Sept. 22 meeting a public hearing on an amendment to the Municipal Code relating to approval of sanctioned recreation groups.
Councilor John Farrell said the continuance will allow the Recreation Commission to hold their next meeting before the hearing and will enable other groups that want to weigh in on the matter an opportunity to participate.
The Town Council appointed Ann Chiampa an alternate member of the Planning Board. The vote was 2-0-1, with Councilor John Farrell abstaining. Chairman Tom Dolan and Vice Chairman Jim Butler were not present for the meeting.
Farrell cited “something brought to [his] attention in non-public session” as the reason for his decision to abstain from the vote. At the Council’s Aug. 11 meeting, Farrell expressed concern there was a conflict during a vote to appoint Chiampa to the Planning Board, then invoked “Councilor Privilege” to table the vote to their meeting Monday night.
Chiampa must resign her position on the Heritage Commission before she may begin serving on the Planning Board.
• The Town Council vote 3-0 to approve appointing the Heritage Commission as the Local Byway Advisory Committee to meet the needs of the New Hampshire Scenic and Cultural Byways program.
The committee will assist with updating designation of the Apple Way as a Scenic Byway.
• The Town Council was given a presentation on the new Outdoor Recreation Guide by John Vogl.
He showed the council the current on-line guide and how it can be used by residents to explore the conservation land in town.
The guide can be found at: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=c9d5141533bc4336a97d7198d168312c