The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen met last night and it was a much longer than it needed to be meeting.  The board got bogged down in discussions over the future of Harriman Park in Ward 5 at the corner of Lake Ave. and Hall St. and in the details of a proposed $10 million upscale residential development across from the Market Basket downtown.  Ultimately, they sided with Ward 5 Alderman Ed Osborne‘s position that the dilapidated basketball court in the park should be replaced as proposed with a parking lot.  Ward 1’s Joyce Craig and Ward 8’s Tom Katsiantonis were opposed.  The development project was put back on the table with Mayor Ted Gatsas instructing the parties involved to negotiate a solution or be faced with board action they may not like.  That led Ward 2 Alderman Ron Ludwig to remind His Honor that he gave the same direction a month ago and the parties failed to come up with a deal.  Quote:  “We take the hits a lot of times for being the dopes around here.  We’re not the dopes this time.  They are.”  The issue was drawn out in part because Alderman at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur insisted that the city owned the streets because of a news article he read from nineteen nineteen.  It didn’t seem to matter to him that city staff presented facts to the contrary.  The real problem here is that there are two parties that don’t want a third to do what he’s proposed and so they won’t come to an agreement.  Period.

In other news, after some minor modifications requested by Gatsas and a lot of discussion over parking, the board issued Requests for Proposals for the Bedford and Pearl streets parking lots to see what they might fetch to develop the parcels, it received information from its health care consultant that as things currently stand, the city will have to pay approximately three million dollars just in Obamacare Cadillac Taxes on its employee health care plan in two thousand fifteen and, thank God, it finally confirmed appointments to the Conservation Commission whose members had been meeting illegally for about a year after their terms expired.  Former chairman Jane Beaulieu first blamed the planning department, then the mayor, then board of aldermen and finally the man behind the trees she wants to save for not informing her and the rest of the expired commissioners that their terms were done.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Mayor Ted Gatsas nominated William Moher Craig, son of prominent Democrat and recently appointed Labor Commissioner Jim Craig, and Policy Director and Advisor to Governor Maggie Hassan to be the city’s next Economic Development Director.  Craig, an attorney admitted to the Massachusetts Bar, has a pretty thin legal resume, but a very extensive one working in Democrat campaigns and for Democrat political figures.  He was one of nine who applied for the job.  We’ll be asking the mayor about this pick as candidly there’s little on his resume to indicate he’s qualified to lead the city’s economic development efforts.  In nominating him, Gatsas claimed his knowledge of city and state government would be an asset.

Ward six aldermanic candidate Joe Whitten will officially launch his campaign tomorrow night with a function at Moe Joe’s Family Restaurant, the former Lantern Restaurant, on Candia Road near the Massebesic Traffic Circle.  The event is scheduled to start at 6 and will be headlined by Mayor Gatsas.  Whitten says more than one hundred people have R S V Pd and the event is open to the public.  If elected, he said he’d restore the ward’s tradition of electing aldermen who were responsive to its residents.  We’ve posted Whitten’s release and statement with all the details right here with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.

The Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has put out the last call for it’s annual Chamber Rotary Golf Tournament.  The organization partners with the Rotary Club to provide a fun filled, prize laden social and business networking event to help draw the Summer Season to a nice close.  The event is this Monday, September 9th at Campbell’s Scottish Highland in Salem.  We’ve got all the details linked to this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.  Sounds like it’s going to be fun for all involved.