Once again, Bedford, New Hampshire has a better idea about municipal government – secrecy in selecting a new Town Manager.
Oh, I can see their point.
The Town Council was elected to run the town. And like most Town Councils they hire a “professional” to actually do it. In this case it is a Town Manager who by statute and charter is something like a dictator once installed.
But getting the right guy is the trick.
Let’s take the once City Manager of Dover, NH. The one and only (we wish) Paul Beecher.
Little did the taxpayers in Dover know what a sneak Paul Beecher was before he dropped into their municipality. They did not know he had signed a $948,000.00 street light contract behind the backs of the Kansas City, City Council and was fired from that job.
It took a lawsuit by one steadfast activist to show that in Dover, Paul Beecher had pulled a repeat performance and signed plush retirement and benefit packages behind the backs of the Dover City Council.
Beecher escaped to Kingman Arizona and lo and behold attempted the same tricks there along with some bid rigging and questionable land deals. http://www.kingmandailyminer.com/main.asp?SectionID=13&SubSectionID=18&ArticleID=12151
The Kingman Arizona City Council fired Mr. Beecher and he was out looking for work again.
But this time, as was with Kingman, where The Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers contacted local taxpayers in Kingman and the local paper, The Kingman Miner, the NH taxpayer group kept a Google Alert for any town putting Beecher on a list of finalists in what might be his next victim community.
CNHT contacted several communities over the next few years and alerted the press of Mr. Beecher’s past. Beecher did not find employment until some liberal town in Massachusetts hired him knowing full well his “abilities.”
Here is a clip from the local paper, The Republican:
“SOUTH HADLEY - Selectmen Tuesday voted 4-1 to appoint Paul G. Beecher, the former city manager of Dover, N.H., the new town administrator here contingent on successful negotiations.
Selectmen, who did an extensive background check on Beecher because of controversies stemming from his employment in Dover and elsewhere, said they were satisfied he had done nothing wrong and with 30 years of experience would be a good fit with South Hadley.”
See that, “a good fit.”
So why would the Bedford Town Council want to hire a new Town Manger without the public knowing who was applying for the job?
I guess a guy with a proven, sneaky track record can get things done that may not be exactly legal or in the best interests of the taxpayers.
That is the only reason I know of to hire a new Town Manager in secret.