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Manchester folly: An idea, killed in its crib

Manchester's Board of Aldermen may have cut off the noses of taxpayers, and some of its own, in order to spite the mayor with a vote last week.

Mayor Ted Gatsas took the occasion of the sudden departure of the city's economic development director earlier this year to rethink that office and its expense.

With initial aldermanic approval, the mayor added the office duties to those of his own staff.

The idea, we gather, was to both save money and to try to determine exactly what worth such an office is to the city, and whether the mayor's office could do the job.

Incidentally, the City of Nashua's economic development office is part of the mayor's portfolio. So is it thus in several other New Hampshire cities.

But no sooner had the change been made in Manchester than some aldermen raised objections. The mayor would politicize development, it was said. The office would lack stability, it was said. If a new mayor came in, the old development team and plan would go, apparently even if it was doing a terrific job. And the Chamber of Commerce, which we wonder more and more about, expressed concern.

None of these interests, however, bothered to specify just what "stability" had there been in the previous economic development setup or what it had actually done to promote economic development.

Instead, barely months after the new setup had been put in place, a majority of the aldermen voted to kill the plan and return to the old setup. Hold onto your seats. No doubt economic growth in Manchester will now be impossible to contain.

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