With the added candidate forums and candidate exposure the voters of Exeter had a good opportunity to meet the candidates, see the candidates and ask questions of them. The other interesting issue is the questions that were asked. These questions tell you what is on peoples minds and what concerns them.
During the town employee event the questions were very revealing. They centered on hostile work environments, bad communications and asking if the selectman candidates would take the time to talk to them. For clarification the questions asked, except for the public portion, were submitted in writing and read by the three interviewers. That way no employees could be singled out for retribution at a later date which was a main concern for those who wanted to ask questions.
I do not think the selectman know of the problems festering just under the surface. We didn’t have time to get to about 100 more questions; but, they were informative; many centered around simple things like pay checks being routinely wrong. If you want to cause low moral, continually get a person’s pay check wrong. Bad communications between the town managers office and the employees was a major area; this just seems to be the result of bad management coming from the town office building.
Hostile work environment issues became evident through private conversations and the deliberative session when the director of finance publicly attacked the two people who the town manager’s budget tried to get rid of. Then at the town office building candidates forum the town manager’s secretary attacked the local union chapter who held the first candidates forum; these are all town employees with the attacks coming from the headquarters staff against anyone who doesn’t keep their mouths shut and talk about the problems within the town. Instead of attacking the staff, fix the problems and move on to other issues facing us, like the capital improvement projects and reducing taxes. This is not rocket science it is common sense. For this little group of merry liberals trying to control the board and the town, focus on fixing the problems for the betterment of everyone, not just you.
There is no question that a “bunker mentality” has set in at the town office building. Only two members seem to care about these problems, Matt and Bob Eastman and Bob is leaving in a couple of weeks. Due to the make up of the board the political clique was the three liberals against the two conservatives so nothing could get done. The only way to fix this is to make the changes we need on the board and put on two new faces. Julie Gilman needs to go, she is part of the problem and not part of the solution; fortunately, more and more people are seeing that.
Between Ann, Brian and Sandy anyone of them would be a good choice; my personal choice is Sandy for his business experience and his no nonsense style of dealing with problems. That only comes from starting a business, making it grow and making payroll.
As taxpayers the mess in the finance office needs to be cleaned up; finances are the most important part of any government or business. They may need more staff; but, because of the general incompetence it is impossible to tell.
The voters, taxpayers and the Town of Exeter in general deserves better than what they have been getting and this election will determine the direction the town will go.
On March 9 the liberals will do the best they can to turn out the vote to keep their power base on the board; but, the winds of discontent are blowing and hopefully we will have a good voter turnout to make the changes we need.