Ted Siefer's City Hall: No power play in aldermanic chambers, mayor in good spirits
A week ago, O'Neil seemed poised for a power play. He expressed his "frustration" with the lack of communication with the mayor or his staff since Gatsas underwent heart bypass surgery on April 8. He noted that state law required that the board chairman assume mayoral powers in the event of the mayor's "absence or disability."
In the that-was-quick department, Alderman Bill Barry was before the Administration Committee on Tuesday to present his proposal for a comprehensive policy on how the city deals with right-to-know requests.
The current charge for a paper "copy" is $1 for the first page and 50 cents for each page thereafter. The city had not been charging for electronic records, the format by which much of government business is transacted these days.
At 50 cents a page, the fees proposed in the new policy would add up quick.
Girard said the interpretation of "copy" was off base, since an email never existed in any form other than bits, no copying is necessary to furnish it.
Levasseur, not surprisingly, had a different take. "I was amazed at the work that's gone into this. At least we have a policy drafted, where there are fees," he said. "The problem before was departments were often spinning their wheels."
Not sure who gets to claim victory on that one.
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In case you haven't heard, the city's in a bit of a financial crunch. So it was on Monday that a somewhat familiar idea was again debated by the school board: putting busing out to bid.
Whitten said the board only had to look to neighboring communities, such as Nashua, to see what would likely happen if busing were put out to bid. One of the big contractors would put in a lower bid than the MTA could, and in subsequent years it would jack up the rates, and the district would be stuck with a bus service without the accountability of a government entity.
Assistant Superintendent Karen Burkush also noted that the last time the board considered outsourcing busing several years ago, an independent analyst determined that the district was better off sticking with the MTA.
Ted Siefer is the City Hall reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tbsreporter.
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