Manchester Alderman At Large Q&A
Alderman At Large
1) What is the most important issue facing the city?
2) Do you support hiring additional police officers? If so, how would you propose funding the positions?
3) What are your thoughts on the tax cap?
Daniel P. O'Neil
Occupation: Electrician/Construction Consultant
Relevant experience: I currently serve as an Alderman-at-Large. I have served as the Ward 4 Alderman and also served in the NH State Senate
1) Two important issues: Provide a quality education for the young people of our city; provide the needed public safety for our citizens, especially police protection.
2) I do support hiring additional police officers. We should begin by applying for every federal grant that we are eligible for.
3) It is the law, as approved by the voters. Elected officials need to work within the framework of the cap but need to make sure it does not adversely impact the services we provide our citizens.
Joseph Kelly Levasseur
Occupation: Owner of Theo's, attorney, register of probate
Relevant experience: Property owner, restaurant owner, attorney, father, incumbent
1) The lack of trust that government is providing us with adequate protection from an ever increasing crime problem; the tools necessary to provide our children with an adequate education necessary for the 21st century; the never ending burden placed on businesses; and the lack of trust citizens have that laws apply equally to Manchester law enforcement as they do to ordinary citizens.
2) Chief Mara told a crowd of angry residents that Manchester needs 300 police officers, but never shared that amount with aldermen. The Chief also stated that he could solve more crimes if he had a software package that could get finger print results back to him faster, but again never mentioned that to aldermen. Without a strong Chief running the police department there is no way to know exactly how many officers are needed to get the job of protecting our citizens done. The Chief must communicate his needs more directly so we will know what those needs are. We rely on the professionals to inform us; in order to fulfill needs, a more professional approach by the Chief must be taken. I am always willing to listen to needs and then apply a fiscally responsible approach to fulfill them.
3) Many argue that the wheel was the greatest invention of all time, some say sliced bread, others say baseball. Although baseball is a close second, I will always say it was the tax cap. The person that invented the tax cap should have a library or monument named after him or her. Needless to say, I strongly support it and always will.
Occupation: President, Aspen Insurance Agency
Relevant experience: Six-term state representative; business owner; service on a number of not-for-profit organizations; 2013 Charter Commission; experience in real estate and finance.
1) Drugs and drug-related crime; employee health care cost and the Yarger Decker salary scale; school district funding
2) I would support hiring officers that will focus on the out-of-control drug problem in the city. The new officers would have to be dedicated to this endeavor and be very aggressive in areas where drug sales are being conducted. The criminals must get the message that their days are numbered in the city. We cannot let the current drug-related crime become the new normal. I would use a combination of federal grants and some of the savings from continued health insurance savings to fund the additional officers.
3) I completely support the spending cap, and will not vote to remove or this rule from the City Charter or weaken it. I would agree to override the cap in the event of an unforeseen crisis where I felt the citizens, employees or students were in danger.
S. Daniel Mattingly
Occupation: Car rental agent at the Manchester Airport
Relevant experience: I have lived in my memere's hometown of Manchester for five years. I formerly substitute taught within the Manchester school system and worked at a hotel in the city limits. I have voted in all local elections and even ran for state representative for Ward 4 in 2008.
1) The most important issue facing the city is to find a way to facilitate its further growth. The 2010 census showed the slowest growth in nearly 40 years and add to that the closing of multiple supermarkets, our future growth seems to be in jeopardy. The most cost-effective way to support growth is improved transportation and that will be focus of mine if I am voted in.
2) I would leave the exact number of officers needed to the police chief's discretion but it has been my experience that a cooperative and attentive citizenry is far more helpful to quelling disturbances then simply adding more officers.
3) I view the tax cap as a twice supported measure that the city government should operate under unless the people vote it down as a specific question on a ballot.