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Hooksett town councilor quits to spend time with his family

Hooksett will have one more council seat than expected open this year after a town councilor submitted a letter of resignation earlier in the week stating that he had become "overextended" between his responsibilities and his position on the council.

John Danforth, town councilor for District 2, submitted a letter dated Tuesday to Council Chair Jim Sullivan declaring his intent "with regret" to resign his position as town councilor. The letter stated that he had become "overextended" as his "personal and professional responsibilities have grown," having a "negative impact on those affected."

The council voted at their Wednesday meeting to accept Danforth's resignation, effective at midnight that evening. An interim councilor will be appointed at the council's next meeting Feb. 27. The appointee will hold the office until a replacement can be elected in May, with the next term beginning on July 1.

Danforth has indicated his willingness to serve as this appointee. His term would have expired June 30, 2014.

Much of Danforth's decision to resign has to do with his involvement with his sons' Cub Scout packs. With several leaders and "key players" in the pack having their sons "aging out" of the program, producing "challenges" and leadership gaps for the pack, the choice appeared to him as one between family and government.

"Something just had to go," he said. "You don't choose something such as a town council seat over your family."

"Scouting is a big part of our life and our family. Both of our sons are scouts, and when it came down to making a decision of what I would have to give up to have things on an even keel, it was basically 'Do I choose town council, or do I choose scouting?' Seeing that both of my young boys are in scouting, it didn't seem appropriate to pick the council over that. In a sense, I would be choosing town government over my family, and in a sense that didn't seem appropriate."

Danforth said he made the choice to resign earlier in the week, but had been weighing the pros and cons over the last several months.

He said he will probably run for a position in town government again sometime in the future.

Danforth is proud of several accomplishments on the council, chief among them the recently negotiated contract between the town and its relatively young union.

"We have successfully negotiated an agreement between the town union and the town, that both sounds are comfortable with," he said. "That's something long coming for those folks."

Danforth expressed regret for "some of the shenanigans" which occurred between the council the police commission, in particular the council's September vote of no-confidence in the commission in response to complaints of a "lack of transparency" and poor communication on the part of the commission.

"At the time, when we did that vote of no-confidence, my intention was to get the police commission to come forward and just talk a little bit about what they were doing," said Danforth. "And that just kind of blew up in our faces. We should probably have gone about it in a different way, but there's not much we can do about it now."

Anyone interested in serving as the District 2 appointee may send a letter of interest to Chairman Sullivan at 35 Main Street, Hooksett before Feb. 25.

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