Article 13: Independent CIP Committee

By S.D. Plissken | March 2, 2021

This year’s Article 13 should seem familiar to you. It appeared just last year, in exactly the same form (including even the same typos), but was known then as Article 17. It failed then with 345 (45.2%) in favor and 418 (54.8%) opposed.

Article 13: Establishment of Independent Capital Improvement Program Committee. Shall the Town vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to establish an independent committee pursuant to NH RSA 674:5 to prepare an amend the recommended program of Capital Improvement Projects and to make budgetary recommendations to the Board of Selectmen? The Committee, to be known as the Capital Improvement Program Committee, will have five (5) voting members to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen, and shall include at least One (1) member of the Planning Board. (Majority Vote Required).

Recommended by the Planning Board (7,0,0). Recommended by the Board of Selectmen (3,0,0).

It is apparent that the Town government is determined to have its “independent” CIP Committee. It would be independent only in the peculiar sense that its members would be selected by the Board of Selectmen, rather than elected by the voters. What could be more independent than that?

It was a bit of a speed bump when the voters “chose poorly” last year. Might the boards seek another, better solution? No, there must be an independent CIP Committee. Put it on the ballot again. We can keep doing it until the voters get it “right.”

This sort of thing is sometimes known as the “manufacturing,” “fabricating,” or “engineering” of consent.

We have seen this technique employed here before, most recently in the School Board election of last year. The pay raise measure on the School ballot was rejected then, but reappeared magically on the ballot in the very next election – the more lightly-attended September primary election – when it passed. That was some nice engineering. Not very subtle, perhaps, but it worked.

It is perhaps a bit disheartening that this little Article 13 “do-over” on the Town ballot has been recommended unanimously by both boards.

Now, the question on the ballot might be read as: “Are you as easily gulled as we think you are?” I hope not. I hope they are as wrong in this as they have been about so many other things. (Nil desperandum).

Vote “No” again, just as you did before but, if the measure should be rejected again, do not expect to have heard the last of this.


Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. – Article 8, NH Constitution


References:

NH General Court. (2002). Capital Improvements Program. Authorization. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXIV/674/674-5.htm

Wiktionary. (2019, October 14). Jiggery-Pokery, Retrieved from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jiggery-pokery

Author: S.D. Plissken

I thought he'd be taller.

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