November 2, 2010

Council ready to set goals as new administrator takes his place

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Derry’s new town administrator will meet with councilors for a goal-setting workshop directly following Wednesday’s regular meeting. “This agenda is very short, so we thought we’d take the opportunity and the time to start some dialogue about where we’re going and how we’re going to get there,” said council Chairman Brad Benson on Monday.
And while Wednesday’s discussion with John Anderson, Derry’s new town administrator, will only start the goal-setting process, Anderson will be expected to come up with a series of concrete, measurable action items for his first year on the job.
In the next few weeks, Anderson will bring those proposed goals to the council for final consideration, Benson said.
“We don’t want to have to wait a whole year, and we want to make sure things are measurable and accountable,” Benson said. “I think the council has done a good job of that this year, and as we transition from Gary (Stenhouse) to John, we want that to continue.”
Benson said much of Anderson’s charge from the council has been to foster economic development in town.
“The thing that we’re most focused on is to try and move forward with economic development within the community and doing some community outreach in the town,” said Benson. “I think that’s kind of the direction the council has given John through the interview process, and I think that many of his goals will probably tie in somewhere along that.”
And Anderson, who is in his second week at his new post, said growing Derry’s business community is at the top of his list, too.
“I think the biggest thing is clearly the economic development issues facing Derry and the downtown redevelopment and the TIF district,” Anderson said in an interview last week.
Anderson said he’s spent time working with former town administrator Gary Stenhouse to get a sense of the issues facing the town during his transition. But that work will continue for many weeks and months, he said.
“I really want to spend the next 30 to 60 days just listening and asking questions,” he said.
And so far, Benson said he’s pleased with the way Anderson has begun to assimilate into the community.
“People are excited that he’s here and that’s half the battle to be well received and with open arms, and the community has done that,” he said. “I’m excited to see where this takes us.”
While Wednesday’s workshop is primarily intended for discussions between Anderson and council members, Benson said members of the public wishing to speak will be given the time to do so.
This week’s council meeting, which has been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday to avoid conflicting with the counting of ballots, will begin at 7:30 at the Derry Municipal Center.

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