Merrimack’s 2021 “Election Day” – is this the Death Sentence to Municipal Democracy?

Merrimack, New Hampshire is a unique town because they are the only municipality that has “elections” outside of First Tuesday of November and the Second Tuesday of March for Town Meeting or officially the “Deliberative Session” type of election or better known by “SB2”, the second article proposed in the New Hampshire Senate season* in the mid 1990s (’95 if I am not mistaken.)

*that is not a misspelling, I like to call the budget period a “season” and most of the issues debated last about 3 months, even if the General Court hangs into late May for budget matters on the odd years.

I am not surprised there will be a general election on April 13th. The general special election is for the late State Representative Dick Hinch, who was also elected by the House Representatives to be the Speaker of the House. He essentially died of COVID19, from likely being exposed at a conservative get together around late November, and some were not using common sense during a pandemic.

As a result, the town was forced into a special election. I am not surprised at all that it coincides against the “Town Election”. I can imagine the lower than average voter (compared to other towns of the same scale in the very same state) to think Well, let’s do them both on the same day to save time, money, etc. SB 2 has knowingly trivialized* municipal issues, and I have written this extensively, and beat SB2 like it was a dead horse. Some are not “published” at the time of writing from 2016 and 2017

*trivialization: make (something) seem less important, significant, or complex than it really is: the problem was either trivialized or ignored by teachers. – New Oxford American Dictionary. Emphasis was placed in italics 

This is what I call “cutting corners”, in the name of frugality, rigidity and not understanding the New Hampshire Way of separate powers. Our government by state statues requires municipal governing bodies to be equal in towns. That’s why a Town Council cannot fire or hire teachers, and School Boards can’t hire or fire police officers.

The Town government is assigned by state law to be the collection agency for multiple municipal governments ,whether that’s the school district, or water district (if there’s municipal water.) While local libraries are chartered to be financed through trusts, they are essentially a town department, and as such they are employed, budgeted and accounted.

Municipal and State government is complex in nature, not just a regulatory or bureaucracy. The Merrimack voter is below average. They are more passionate than being rational. They masquerade as authorities acting so formal in meetings, but in reality they are useless idiots. They port over the small (and often corrupt) business practices that is known to employers less than 20, paper and pencil “bookkeeping” over advanced GAAP accounting budgeting in less than five years, concerned over “spending” over concerns of under “investment”; they look at just “little ol Merrimack” instead of Southern New Hampshire; they think perhaps running government should be done completely frugal. They think they live in no man’s land. 

(When it involves technology, you can’t mess with acting like a mum and pop shop, particularly  what occurred with their Exchange server a decade ago resulting in a Technology Committee, and the recommendations were to make Merrimack’s town technical infrastructure more of a  Communist world with recommending fifth-rate “free and open source” software for the bureaucrats.  Say what you want about Cisco Unified Communications, the use of that at the town, was the reason why they are still using Exchange and Outlook.)

They talk the talk, but rarely walk the walk. They have no nuts to crack when they have the option to speak. They prefer privacy in a ballot.

Issues cannot be done in private and coloring bubbles. That’s what kids do, not geriatric adults!

Municipal involvement from citizens have gone down over the years, and any civic engagement today is done in ballots, not in open meetings. Perhaps the females get scared of stalkers, even if it can’t be verified. Perhaps people hate public speaking. Maybe people just chicken out when the official “public hearing” occurs on a hot-topic issue.

People need to be fearless and speak up and question the powers. But its a two way street too. The town’s elected members need to stop acting like they are members of Congress and go from an inverted pyramid of power. People will laugh at you behind a screen! They need to stop acting so elitist and so formal, because many are not lawyers and yet they talk like one. Likewise the town employees need to be responsible and not get involved in policy, such as the Department of Public Works encouraged residents to vote in favor or replacing the highway department’s digs a few years ago.

Our media needs to get more involved and if they get any inkling of wrongdoing, it needs to be reported! WMUR-TV, The Union Leader, the Telegraph, etc. should not be giving voice to the power, that’s not what the First Amendment is about. No one is defending 1A rights in this alleged “free-state” at the moment, but that’s whole another subject for another day.

Sadly I suspect people will be voting for municipal election only because they there to vote for replacement of Rep Hinch’s late seat. And if they are, I hope and pray they aren’t making million dollar mistakes (i.e. voting “NO” indiscriminately without understanding long term impacts of a short-moment issue.)  Whoever was behind this clearly made a boneheaded error.

Cue the “private” Facebook groups sharing this post behind closed doors stabbing me in the back. 😛