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Derry council votes to ask for iPad back

DERRY - After receiving a legal opinion from town attorney Ed Boutin, the Town Council voted, 4-3, to ask former councilor Brian Chirichiello to return an iPad he received as a gift for serving on the council for nine years.

The iPad issue has consumed council time for the past two months and led to sometimes testy exchanges between councilors over the issue.

Typically, departing town councilors are presented with a chair valued at $356 as a parting gift. However, when Town Administrator John Anderson approached Chirichiello about a gift for serving nine years on the council, Anderson said Chirichiello stated he would rather have the iPad he had been issued as a councilor.

On March 26, newly elected Mark Osborne made a motion requesting Chirichiello return the iPad to the town. That discussion was tabled until Tuesday night's council meeting pending the legal opinion over whether Anderson had the legal right to give town property as a gift without council approval.

However, there was no consensus on the final meaning of the legal ruling. Osborne once again put forward his motion requesting the council ask Chirichiello to return the iPad.

"It appears that our town attorney has stated that the Town Council has the authority to pass a resolution that the iPad be returned," said Osborne.

Councilor Neil Wetherbee disputed Osborne's interpretation of the ruling, noting that it also stated that the town administrator has the right to waive the regulation and dispense of the town property.

Wetherbee asked Osborne if it was his belief that Anderson was acting outside of what he was allowed to do.

Osborne answered that the legal ruling gives the council the authority to request Chirichiello return the iPad.

"It also continues to say that would not be cost effective or practical," said Wetherbee.

Osborne replied that the ruling meant it would not be cost effective or practical if the town took civil action to have the iPad returned. Osborne stated he was merely making a motion to ask Chirichiello to return the iPad.

"That's not how I read it," said Wetherbee.

Osborne, Tom Cardon, Al Dimmock, and council chairman Michael Fairbanks voted to ask Chirichiello to return the iPad, while Wetherbee, Brad Benson and Phyllis Katsakiores voted against the motion.

"I'll ask him and he can say no," said Fairbanks. "That should put the issue to bed."

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