Londonderry’s finance director will fill vacant tax collector’s post
LONDONDERRY — It’s been several weeks since longtime Town Clerk Meg Seymour stepped down from her position, leaving a vacant seat in the Londonderry tax collector’s office.
Seymour announced her resignation during a Town Council meeting last month. Though she didn’t state her reason for leaving Londonderry, she did make a tearful farewell to her former colleagues, thanking them for all their support over the years.
Seymour’s last day on the job was June 28. She had worked for the town nearly 14 years, having been reelected to her most recent three-year-term in March.
On Monday, the Town Council voted unanimously to appoint Finance Director Susan Hickey as Londonderry’s interim tax collector and town clerk.
Town Councilor Tom Freda, a licensed attorney in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, said the move was consistent with state law, which allows town councils to appoint someone to temporarily fill a vacancy after 30 days.
Hickey will conduct Seymour’s former duties over the next eight months, and a new town clerk/tax collector will be elected by voters during the March 2014 Town Meeting.
“This is in the town’s best interest right now,” Freda said.
Not everyone present at the meeting agreed with him.
Resident Pauline Caron said she took issue with the council’s decision.
“I don’t think this should be done,” Caron told the council. “There should be a segregation of duties (between finance director and tax collector/town clerk) and considering we have eight months ahead of us, I think there should be a special election.”
However, Council Chairman Tom Dolan noted the council had consulted the state law books along with Town Attorney Mike Ramsdell and said it’s been determined there is no conflict of interest.
Acting Town Manager Bill Hart said that given the temporary nature of Hickey’s duties, the auditing firm tasked with analyzing Londonderry’s books also felt it was a nonissue.
“By statute, there’s no provision for us to have a special election,” Freda added.
“I still don’t think this is right,” Caron replied.