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Chairman says quorum is tough for Plaistow Budget Committee

Union Leader Correspondent

December 30. 2013 9:55PM

PLAISTOW — With a membership that includes a dozen representatives from various town departments and boards, the town’s budget committee has had issues reaching a quorum for some meetings.

Recently, Budget Committee Chairman Kristin Savage approached Selectman John Sherman about the possibility of the town drafting a warrant article that would reduce the number of members on the committee.

“They have had a difficult time coming up with a quorum,” said Sherman. More than half the members of the committee must be presented to have a quorum for a meeting.

Currently, the Budget Committee is down several members, making it even more difficult to secure the seven members needed to hold a meeting, Sherman said.

“Unfortunately, not enough people have signed up for the Budget Committee,” he said. “People have had work schedules that had to be adjusted and they had to resign. Right now, they are down to nine members, including the selectmen’s representative, and they need seven for a quorum.”

Sherman said it is especially difficult to get a quorum during the holiday season when people have many commitments.Under state statute, a municipal budget committee can have three, six, nine, or 12 members. Sherman said Savage recommended reducing the committee to nine members.

“We have 12 members and we’ve always had 12 members for at least as long as I’ve been aware,” said Sherman.

Selectmen Chairman Robert Gray said he would support decreasing the size of the Budget Committee provided there was a formal request from the committee itself.

“I would support that if we had a recommendation from that committee about what they think the membership should be,” said Gray.

Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said the town would also continue to post the openings on the Budget Committee in the hopes of increasing its size back to a full 12

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