Residents may have recently noticed on the Londonderry town website that the Planning Board’s page underwent some changes, specifically concerning the changing of certain members.
Recently, Tony DeFrancesco was named an Ex-Officio for the Planning Board by Town Manager Kevin Smith. Although originally listed alongside him on the page, DeFrancesco served to temporarily replace Giovanni Verani for the position.
According to the Town Charter, three Ex-Officio’s, or someone who holds a position by virtue of holding another office in the government, must hold positions within the board alongside six full members and three alternate members. Of these three Ex-Officio’s, one must be an administrative officer for the town, which applies to Board Member Rick Brideau, one must be a part of the Town Council, which applies to Councilor Jim Butler, and the final Ex-Officio would either be the Town Manger or a designer of his or her choice.
This designer was originally Verani, but he was recently forced to step down for a time due to family concerns, which is what constituted DeFrancesco’s appointment.
One major question about the appointment concerns why Smith did not instead choose one of the alternate members for the role. As both Smith and the charter explain, however, a set number of seats must be filled on the board, so if an alternate were to replace Verani, it would simply leave an empty alternate seat for the town to fill while Verani was absent.
“You have to have a full alternate of seats”, Smith stated.
As for DeFrancesco’s qualifications, he was noted for being a Londonderry resident for around forty years and being consistently involved with town business, watching meetings online or in person for both town government and the school board. Furthermore, Smith chose DeFrancesco because of his real estate background, which was the same reason why Verani acquired the position.
DeFrancesco is expected to step down as Ex-Officio upon Verani’s return sometime in the future.