How Feather Beds are Made - One Feather at a Time

A word of caution to taxpayers about letting your town get involved with questionable planning organizations and people who inhabit them. Especially the ones in this mess.

Case in point: The Derry Economic Development Corporation also known by its acronym - ICK!

Here goes: A Derry Town Councilor and man about town, Jack Dowd, who was also a state legislator, past Derry Planning Board member, and founding member of ICK!, resigns from the Derry Town Council to take a seat on the ICK! Board of Directors.

The icky parts:

1. The Town Charter precludes sitting councilors from being “employed” by the town for one year.
SECTION 5.11 Town Councilors - Incompatible Offices.
Except as otherwise provided in this Charter, members of the Town Council shall not hold any other office or employment with the Town. Former members of the Town Council shall not be eligible for appointment as a compensated Town officer or EMPLOYEE until one year after the expiration of their service.

2. Former Town Councilor and man about town, Jack Dowd, without letting other Derry Councilors in on his premeditated move, resigns his vaunted Council seat to be employed by his old company ICK! He did it with a unanimous vote of the ICK board of directors even before the deadline for applications to the prestigious ICK! position were over! A proper wheel greasing if ever there was one. Too bad the Town of Derry wasn't greased before Dowd and ICK! gave it to them.

3. Dowd is now claiming he is not “employed” by Derry but by ICK! And is only a “contract” worker for the town. Clever Eh? They learned this from the Concord City Council hacks milking of the cable franchise I'll bet.

4. Back when Jack Dowd created ICK! It was a private company but recently ICK! was taken over by the Town of Derry and it appears the taxpayers were taken in the process.

5. You'll love this! Not long ago, the former non-profit ICK! Executive Director, Cheryl “call me Cheri” Crawford, was arrested on charges she stole nearly $250,000 from Depot Square Holdings, the for profit investment arm of ICK! (Why is there a for profit arm of a non-profit?)

6. Crawford was named Citizen of the Year by the Greater Derry Chamber of Commerce in 2000 when she was vice president of Key Bank in Bedford. (Somehow I knew the Town of Bedford would be in this story somewhere.)

7. Back in 1995 ICK! Bought 13 acres of land from the Town of Derry for $1 and sold it to New England Pioneer Associates for $185,000.00. Not too long ago ICK! convinced the town to sell an old downtown train depot for $150,000, about $38,000 less than what the town bought it for. Not a bad investment of tax dollars. Thanks for the advice ICK!

Need a barf bag yet?

Here from their own web page is ICK!'s list of things they do for/to towns dumb enough to hire them. I have added a touch more detail in my expert analysis found in the quotation marks. (Just making it easy on ya.)
So here is what ICK! hacks will do for you:

Relocation and Expansion assistance. (read: other hack jobs, and their waistlines)

  • Interface with Town Agencies (then stab them in the back)
  • Inventory of Available Space (more sneaky $1 deals like this on the way?)
  • Program / Resource Center (as long as taxpayers fund it)
  • Regulatory Assistance (we know “people we can trust”)
  • Financing Assistance (not from Key Bank any longer if their smart)

Bottom line: Some good news!

Fiscally responsible voters and The Alliance of Derry Taxpayers have at long last taken the helm in this town and these kinds of deals are going to be exposed and ended. Derry voters have begun to see light at the end of the tunnel and the upcoming Town Charter change will steer Derry in a new direction for decades.

Check their web site at:

or from the link on our site at