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Gate City Musings: Finally, some restrictions on city's 'double-dipping'

Gate City Musings, a column on City Hall happenings and other Nashua items, is published every other Monday. It is written by a veteran political obse
January 13. 2013 11:39PM

Gate City Musings, a column on City Hall happenings and other Nashua items, is published every other Monday. It is written by a veteran political observer whose identity is known to the editors but who wishes to remain anonymous, and breathing.

"Musings" has long wondered why it has taken so long for politicians (and the Nashua daily) to come to the conclusion that "double-dipping" is wrong. As has been pointed out repeatedly, this practice is whereby government employees at all levels retire one day, collect a sizable pension and then within hours or days take another job (many times in the same department of their previous employer) and receive a sizable salary and their pension to boot.

Kudos to the Nashua Board of Education for taking the lead in hopefully making this practice less easy here in the Gate City. While it has been going on for years, it's nice to see, finally, the Gate City's daily paper also on board. Musings also acknowledges the New Hampshire Union Leader's opposition to "double-dipping" long before it became fashionable. In fact it wasn't that long ago when the N.H. General Court enacted legislation allowing seven long-time appointed state department heads to collect pensions and then be kept on the state payroll as "retirees" with salaries and pension for many of them at more than $200,000.

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Onto the Broad Street Parkway, which will cost local, state and national taxpayers more than $83 million, up from an original estimate of $40 million just a decade ago. Is it too much to ask our decision-makers to go a little light on "aesthetics" and a little heavy on watchful spending?

Kudos to At-Large Aldermen Dave Deane and Jim Donchess as well as citizen Geoff Daly and others for standing up in opposition to the expenditure of almost $2 million to make three of the city's bridges "more attractive." Mrs. Mayor chimed in, stating that the entire project is under budget and she wouldn't object to spending some of these excess funds to beautify the bridges' facades if she had more community support. Talk about taking both sides of the argument. "Musings" wonders why it is more financially feasible to look for ways to make public works projects more appealing to the eye in one sense and then not funding other more important street improvements?

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Another "Musings pat on the back" to Aldermen-at-Large and fiscal guru Deane and Mayor-wannabee Donchess to push for more security in our city's schools. A previous attempt to secure our schools with door monitors, alarms, a buzz-in intercom camera system, panic switches, etc., was made three years ago, only to be vetoed by the Mayor.

City mothers and fathers: is there anything more important than keeping our students safe? If there is, then pray tell us what it is.

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A "Musings knock" goes to At-Large Alderwoman Barbara Pressly for wanting to spend federal stimulus money just "because if we don't spend it some other community will." Where do federal funds come from, Barb, if they aren't from us ... and is Nashua obligated to spend them? Wouldn't it be unique if our city pols said: "Mr. Federal Government, we don't need to spend all you send us."

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And while we are on a roll, a suggestion to our newly elected legislators: Roll back that silly law giving the NH Liquor Commission the sole right to approve its own contracts that resulted (unless the court rules otherwise) in a well-respected local firm losing a contract renewal to warehouse wine and spirits for the next 20 years.

Law Warehouses and its dedicated and honest employees have done an admirable job for the state and it appears the now all-powerful Liquor Commission has chosen an Ohio firm, which doesn't give a hoot for what has been a successful relationship.

Any local, state or federal governmental entity with no oversight that chooses to operate in secret begs hanky-panky. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have right-to-know laws.

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Musings can't let it go by as the Gate City loses its only locally owned bank as The Nashua Bank, founded and funded by a majority of publicly spirited local citizens, becomes a division of a much-larger Granite State and Vermont banking enterprise this week. We can't fault the stockholders who made big bucks in the merger, but what about the many Gate City citizens who supported the fledgling bank because it was going to be local?

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Remember ... if you have a subject, complaint or praise about what our city officials are up to, or you have a suggestion for "kudos," email them to Musings would love to hear from you.

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