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Your Turn, NH -- Chuck Douglas: Conflict of interest doesn't bother Cavanaugh

September 19. 2017 11:20PM
Manchester Alderman Ron Ludwig, left, and Alderman Normand Gamache each have sons working for the Fire Department. 

KEVIN CAVANAUGH (Union Leader file photo)

MANCHESTER HAS TWO ALDERMEN with sons who work for the city and yet those aldermen voted for budgets and pay raises that directly help their kids get a pay raise.

Ward 2 Alderman Ron Ludwig has a son working for the fire department, making $99,000 a year in pay and benefits, while his second son earned $76,000 in pay and benefits last year.

Alderman Norm Gamache has a son who happens to be the district fire chief, Michael Gamache, who earned $209,449 in pay and benefits last year. Yes, a municipal employee earned $209,449 in salary and benefits!

So, when a couple of taxpayers stepped up to the plate and asked that the conflict of interest provision of the Manchester Charter (section 9.03 (e)) be invoked and that the two aldermen who voted for their sons’ pay raises be referred to the conduct committee, the vote went 6 to 5 against the resolution.

Amazingly enough, Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh, our new state senator, did not even want the conduct committee to look at this clear violation of the city charter, but helped his buddies on the board by being the key vote to kill the taxpayers’ request that the conduct board look into this situation.

Sen. Cavanaugh needs to read section 8.15 of the Manchester Charter that says: “It shall be the responsibility of all elected officials to ensure the enforcement of and compliance with this Charter.”

By being the deciding vote to make this blatant conflict of interest swept under the rug, Cavanaugh has shown he’s not up to his duties as either an alderman or a state senator.

Doing the right thing yielded to protecting blatant conflicts of interest.

Chuck Douglas is a former New Hampshire congressman and state Supreme Court justice. Reprinted with permission of the Bow Times.

Politics Guest Commentary Manchester Local and County Government

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