Derry offices to remain closed from campaigning by political candidates
DERRY — With election season fast approaching, Derry will continue to not allow political candidates to visit town offices during the work day.
Town Councilors agreed last week to continue to not allow the practice after learning from acting Administrator Larry Budreau that a town employee had asked about the town’s policy on candidates coming into local offices.
Budreau said the employee’s perspective was that over the years, the town administrator and town council have wavered on the policy somewhat.
But Budreau said he wasn’t aware of the town allowing political candidates to visit town offices. He added that there is a policy that was put in place about 10 years ago and the town has consistently denied requests for holding political activities in town facilities.
Budreau said a town union had asked if a candidate could come into town facilities, such as a fire station or the tax collector’s office, to meet with employees and campaign.
“The practice of the town for the last several years has been not to allow that,” he said. “And I’m here today to seek some guidance.”
Councilor David Fischer said he was strongly against allowing candidates to visit with employees.
“I think that interfering with employees by talking to them during the work hour is totally inappropriate,” he said.
Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores asked how the policy would apply to federally-elected officials such as U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte.Budreau answered by saying that the town has historically made a distinction between seated officials and campaigning officials.
He said there has been the distinction: “campaigning ‘no,’ visits by other government officials ‘yes.’’’
Budreau said seated elected officials sometimes look for a convenient site, such as Town Hall, to talk to their constituents. “We allow seated officials to visit and conduct business; we don’t promote electioneering,” Budreau said.
With the council’s consent, Budreau said he will continue to enforce the directions regarding candidates that were set by a previous town administrator.
The council agreed to allow Budreau to continue with the policy after being asked by Council Chairman Mark Osborne.
“Mr. Budreau, I think you have our blessing in that regard,” Osborne said.