As you may have read in the NH Register and the NH Independent today I voted not to re-hear the Executive Pay Scale and vote that to pass it. For the reasons why I think it is a good idea please check out my earlier post here.
The issue at hand is that one member of the public felt that he did not have the opportunity to testify on the item. He wrote a letter to the President of the Board of Aldermen to stating that the original meeting in February 2007 was not properly noticed and therefore we should rehear the item.
I sit on the Finance Committee and I was in attendance at both meetings. I would like to point out the following
The staff of the BOA has noticed meetings in this format for over 7 years. The chair of the committee had staff pull the hearing notices for then and they were worded the same just the dates and topics changed. No one ever had a problem understanding that this was open for public testimony.
The Chair of the committee at the February meeting did call for public testimony and no one asked to speak. As is the rule he called out 3 times does anyone wish to testify on this item. No one responded.
The committee voted to move out of the public portion of the hearing and go to the closed portion (only members of the BOA can speak at this time). During the public portion and in the closed part of the hearing a number of colleagues had issues with the plan as presented. So during the closed part we said that we will table the item for now ask the city staff to get back to us with the answers we wanted (they did) and then we will reconsider the item.
After we got what we asked for, it was June. Then, because the item already was heard back in February we just had to un-table the item and vote on it. The chair of the committee decided that there was no reason to rehear the item, as a committee, had heard from the public and discussed the item already in the closed part of the hearing. There was relatively little discussion in the closed part because we got the answers and documentation we were looking for.
When the time came last night to vote on it I felt – and a majority of my colleagues as well – that the rules were followed and that we should enable the city staff to be able to have the opportunity to get raises after waiting 6 months.
This is a bit more detailed then usual but this is a complex issue and to be understood needs the details.