Taxpayers group releases copies of Manchester candidate surveysBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
October 20. 2017 10:37AM
MANCHESTER — A newly resurrected version of the citizen group that helped bring a tax cap to Manchester has released copies of surveys returned by candidates for office in next month’s municipal election.
The returned surveys were released Thursday on www.concernedtaxpayersofmanchester.com, the new website for the Concerned Taxpayers of Manchester (CTM) group.
CTM — a new incarnation of the citizens group that collected over 5,100 signatures during a petition drive proposing a city spending cap in Manchester back in 2005 — launched in September with a new board of directors including Sean Thomas, a former aide to Mayor Raymond J. Wieczorek and Mayor and Congressman Frank C. Guinta; Will Infantine, business owner and former state representative from Ward 6 and former chairman of the Manchester City Republican Committee; Rich Girard, current at- large school board member and former alderman-at-large; former Ward 6 Alderman Nick Pappas; Ward 12 Alderman Keith Hirschmann; state Rep. Larry Gagnon of Ward 6; and Manchester conservative Mike Biundo, among others.
“We are a volunteer organization that has re-formed because of the growing concern about the future of Manchester,” said Thomas, CTM chairman. “On two separate occasions the citizens of Manchester have voted to support the tax cap, yet it seems to have very little influence at City Hall.”
The new website includes information about the group, its officers, and copies of the returned candidate surveys sent out by CTM following the Manchester municipal primary.
“The mission of our group, and purpose of our website, is to advocate for support of the tax cap by our elected officials and educate the voters on the candidates’ commitment to the tax cap,” said Thomas.
The survey was composed of five questions requiring yes or no answers with an opportunity for candidates to provide commentary. Topics included queries regarding a candidate’s support for:
• A pledge not to override the tax cap.
• Eliminating health benefits for part-time members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Board of School Committee.
• Setting a salary cap for municipal department heads and senior managers.
• A charter change for the conflict-of-interest policy.
• Freezing Yarger-Decker, the current municipal compensation plan.
According to Thomas, copies of the survey were sent to each candidate via U.S. mail at addresses on file with the City Clerk’s Office.
Additionally, surveys were sent to each candidate via email twice.
“We gave everyone multiple bites at the apple,” said Thomas. “Candidates from both parties took part. Many Republican candidates returned surveys, but not all, and some Democrats responded.”
A check of the website shows among the candidates for mayor, incumbent Ted Gatsas returned the survey with responses, while challenger Joyce Craig did not.
Others who returned surveys include candidates for alderman Chris Stewart (Ward 1), Bob O’Sullivan and Will Stewart (Ward 2), Patrick Long and Tim Baines (Ward 3), Brenda Noiseaux and William Shea (Ward 7). Candidates for Board of School Committee Joe Lachance (Ward 1), Debra Gagnon Langton and David Scannell (Ward 2), and Ross Terrio and Ethan Moorehouse (Ward 7) also took part, among others.
A full list of those who returned surveys — and those who did not — is available online at www.concernedtaxpayersofmanchester.com.
“While we were hopeful we would receive 100 percent participation from the candidates, we are pleased with the number of surveys that were returned, although it is a shame that some candidates have not taken this process seriously,” said Thomas. “The website will be a good resource for the citizens of Manchester as they educate themselves on the candidates’ support for the tax cap and their positions on important issues affecting spending and how the city is governed.”