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Soliciting ideas: Manchester has an opportunity

July 08. 2017 11:52PM

In a recent Union Leader commentary, Attorney Chuck Douglas noted the increasing number of New Hampshire towns and cities where certain appointed officials are pulling down six-figure salaries, courtesy of the local taxpayers. Included in the list were Manchester's airport director ($233,788), public works director ($167,355), and city solicitor ($161,133).

Even when the airport was flying a lot higher than it is these days, we questioned that director pay level. The mayor, incidentally, is paid just $72,000. And the mayor's job performance is reviewed by the taxpayers/voters every two years.

With the city solicitor's post vacant as of the end of July, this is an opportunity for a thorough review of the position, its duties and responsibilities, and the size and caliber of its staff.

Given the state attorney general's scathing criticism of the solicitor office's handling of domestic abuse cases, there is clearly room for improvement.

Why is the city lawyer even involved with criminal cases? Isn't that a job for police and the county attorney? Might the city attorney's office provide assistance to the school district? Are there areas of overlap there, if only in backshop work?

What else is the solicitor doing or not doing or could be doing? What role is there for enhanced technology? Could there be some downsizing and cost-saving for the city? The taxpayers would appreciate knowing.

Crime, law and justice Courts Crime Local and County Government Editorial Manchester

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