Former councilor challenges town clerk in Derry
DERRY - Incumbent Town Clerk Denise Neale is facing a challenge in the March 12 town election from former town councilor Janet Fairbanks.
Fairbanks said she believes Neale has done well in the position she has held since 2006, but said she believes in term limits and that no one should run unopposed.
"I've been interested in that position for a little while, and thought now is the time," said Fairbanks.
She said she has over 20 years of bookkeeping experience, as well as a half-dozen years of office management experience.
Fairbanks said her bookkeeping jobs are down from 30 hours per week to about six hours per week, giving her the time to commit to the town clerk position.
Neale said she is committed to her position's professional goals and to the residents of the town, which is why she decided to run for reelection.
"I've been the town clerk since 2006, when the town restructured this office and reassigned the motor vehicle division to the tax collector's office," said Neale.
She said she saw this as a positive move for the clerk's office, giving her and the part-time deputy clerk the opportunity to reorganize, upgrade and update the office.
"That resulted in easier accessibility and more efficient services to our residents," Neale said.
The duties of the clerk's office include managing dog licensing, vital records, marriage licenses, voter registration, and the maintenance of all town records.
"The town clerk plays a critical role in all elections and is critically important to ensure election results are accurate and in accordance with all state and federal guidelines," Neale said. "The clerk's office acts as the hub or referral center for all the town's citizens."
While Fairbanks said Neale has done a good job in the clerk's role, she said she would make sure the clerk's office was staffed during lunch hours.
"If someone is going to go to the office between the hours of 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., I would make sure there is someone there, whether it is myself or the deputy assistant clerk," said Fairbanks.
With two people working in the office, Fairbanks said there should be coverage at all times.
"Denise has done a great job in the past, but I am someone who believes in term limits and would like a chance," said Fairbanks.