Following the inaugural ceremonies held at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH on January 5, the Board of School Committee (BOSC) and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) held their first organizational meetings of the year.
In electing the vice chairman of the board for the BMA, Mayor Ted Gatsas had to break a tie between long time Chairman Alderman at-Large Daniel O’Neil and Ward Three Alderman Patrick Long. Voting in favor of Long, Gatsas removed O’Neil from the position. Those voting in favor of O’Neil were as follows: Aldermen Kevin Cavanaugh (Ward 1), Ron Ludwig (Ward 2), Christopher Herbert (Ward 4), Anthony Sapienza (Ward 5), and Normand Gamache (Ward 11). Aldermen voting for Long included: Nick Pappas (Ward 6), William Shea (Ward 7), Thomas Katsiantonis (Ward 8), Barbara Shaw (Ward 9), Keith Hirschmann (Ward 12). At-Large Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur abstained from voting and Ward Ten Alderman Bill Barry was absent.
The mayor was forced to participate in another tie-breaker for the BOSC vice chair. With a tight race between Ward Nine Committeeman Arthur Beaudry and Ward Twelve Committeeman Connie Van Houten, Mayor Gatsas voted for Beaudry despite their history of hostility.
Voting in favor of Beaudry were: Debra Gagnon-Langton (Ward 2), Mary Georges (Ward 3), Lisa Freeman (Ward 5), Rich Girard (at-Large), Ross Terrio (Ward 7) and John Avard (Ward 10).
Voting for Van Houten were: Sarah Ambrogi (Ward 1), Leslie Want (Ward 4), Daniel Bergeron (Ward 6), Nancy Tessier (at-Large), Erika Connors (Ward 8) and Kate Desrochers (Ward 11).
Van Houten voted against a motion to make the vote be unanimous saying Beaudry has not allowed certain vice chairs to receive an unanimous vote in the past. Connors and Want also voted against making the vote unanimous.
Members of both boards were also handed their committee assignments towards the end of the meetings. Bergeron asked for discussion on the committee assignments, but was told that the mayor, by charter, has the right to appoint both the committees and their chairs. There were some significant changes to the committees, especially the committees for the BOSC.
In regards to the BMA committees, there were only a few surprises and twists. O’Neil was removed as the chair of the Committee of Accounts, Enrollment & Revenue Administration, and now does not hold any leadership position. Some long-time city hall observers found it interesting that Hirschmann was given both the chair position for the Committee of Human Resources and Insurance and vice chair of the Committee on Finance.
The BOSC witnessed a much more dramatic shift in committees and committee leadership. To begin, Connors was removed from the Curriculum and Instruction Committee, Avard was removed from the Building and Sites Committee and Desrochers was removed from the Student Conduct Committee. Each had chaired the committees they were removed from in the last term.
Prior to the distribution of committees, the BOSC had a little unrest over their willingness to accept the board’s old rules. Van Houten wanted to propose some amendments and reformatted the rules in order to make them clearer. Beaudry had also proposed a slate of rules changes. In respect to time and wanting today to be a short meeting, the mayor suggested that the board members who proposed rule changes iron out as many of their differences as possible before the next meeting of the BOSC on Monday, January 11, and come prepared to discuss them. The consensus was that the rules would be discussed and voted on at the Monday meeting.
With the new year, new members and new committees, it appears that Mayor Gatsas intends to bring fresh insights to each committee and truly shake up the BOSC’s group dynamics to incite change. The BMA and the BOSC will have to settle into their new roles on their respective boards and their committees in order to begin working towards their everlasting goal of improving the city of Manchester.
The committees and their members are as follows:
BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN
Accounts, Enrollment & Revenue Administration:
Levasseur (C), Hirschmann, Ludwig, Sapienza, Katsiantonis
Administration and Information Systems:
Sapienza (C), Cavannaugh, Pappas, Shea, Levasseur
Bills on Second Reading:
Ludwig (C), Barry, O’Neil, Levasseur, Hebert
Shea(C), Gamache, Sapienza, Shaw, Hirschmann
Human Resources and Insurance:
Hirschmann (C), Shea, Katisiantonis, Long, Ludwig
Lands & Buildings:
Long (C), Shaw, Cavanaugh, Hebert, Pappas
Public Safety, Health & Traffic:
Katsiantonis (C), O’Neil, Barry, Long, Gamache
BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Athletics & Extra Curricular Activities:
Tessier (Chair), Georges, Bergeron, Desrochers, Van Houten
Building & Sites:
Ambrogi (Chair), Want, Connors, Terrio, Girard
Coordination & Administration:
Beaudry (Chair), Gatsas, Langton, Terrio, Van Houten, Ambrogi, Tessier
Curriculum & Instruction:
Langton (Chair), Avard, Girard, Freeman, Van Houten
Mayor Gatsas, Vice Chairman and all school Committee Members
Sub – Committee on Finance:
Girard (Chair), Beaudry, Desrochers, Bergeron, Tessier
Terrio (Chair), Langton, Georges, Freeman, Avard Alternate: Bergeron
Information & Technology:
Bergeron (Chair), Want, Connors, Desrochers, Avard