Aldermen discuss Gill signs, trash roundtable, branding update and more

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Gill signs
Aome of the Gill Stadium signs. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, NH – Although controversy regarding a proposed ceasefire in the Israel/Hamas conflict was the biggest topic of discussion on Tuesday night, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) had plenty of other things they were talking about.

Dumpster roundtable

After a controversial proposed garbage pickup ordinance change was tabled last fall, the BMA Special Committee on Solid Waste Activities is planning a community roundtable discussion on the change and associated waiver process before any possible future action is taken.

The proposal would have cut municipal garbage pickup eligibility to many downtown properties unless they received a waiver.

No date was set on Tuesday night for the proposed discussion. However, Manchester Department of Public Works Director Tim Clougherty indicated that he has 53 vacancies in his department and any proposal where downtown residents would pay for municipal waste pickup would not alleviate this problem.

Worker protections proposal killed

An ordinance change that provided protections for independent contractors working for companies that bid for city contracts was reversed earlier this year on Tuesday at the BMA Committee on Information and Administration Systems.

The change would have set requirements mandating that companies bidding on city contracts have a history of honoring workers’ compensation claims, follows OSHA guidelines and complies with tax withholding laws and employment discrimination laws.

BMA Chairman Joseph Kelly Levasseur referred to the measure as micromanaging and Ward 8 Alderman Ed Sapienza feared that it was overregulation.

Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long and Ward 5 Alderman Anthony Sapienza said that the measure would protect the city from potential legal liability if a company working with the city engaged in illegal labor practices.

“This makes sure that bids go to the lowest responsible bidder, not just the lowest bidder,” said Anthony Sapienza.

Levasseur, Ed Sapienza and Ward 12 Alderman Kelly Thomas voted to receive and file the proposal, effectively killing it. Long and Ward 4 Alderman Christine Fajardo voting against the receive and file motion.

Gill Sign discussion tabled

A proposal to move the various signs outside of Gill Stadium and JFK Colisseum onto a single large plaque was tabled at the BMA’s Committee on Lands and Buildings.

The signs, which are now several decades old, honor Manchester residents and organizations with ties to the two sports facilities that donated money toward the purchase of nearby trees.

Manchester Department of Public Works Parks and Recreation Director Mark Gomez said that the signs have been damaged by vehicles and rot over the years, limiting other vegetation and costing the city $10,000 a year in maintenance.

Alderman At-Large Dan O’Neil vehemently opposed the idea, stating that the cost was a small price to pay given the significance of the signs to the city’s culture.

“These plaques are the history of Manchester. You drive by and you see the names of many people that contributed to the city of Manchester. I don’t understand how today it’s a maintenance issue, but ten years ago it wasn’t and twenty years ago it wasn’t,” said O’Neil.

Levasseur recommended that the concept be tabled until more feedback and information could be obtained regarding the issue, assuming that moving forward without that information would cause furor among those who feel passionate about the issue.

Early marketing presentation

Manchester Economic Development Office Director Jodie Nazaka joined members of Northstar Place Marketing to a provide a retread of a presentation on the city’s ongoing branding efforts. It was a version of the same presentation made last fall but was repeated for the benefit of new board members after Nazaka cited concerns from some members about “transparency” issues.

A full presentation is expected this spring.

In the presentation, it was suggested that Manchester fixates too much on its flaws and does not sell its strengths enough when presenting itself to the world.

Polling done by Northstar indicated that residents are almost 40% less likely to recommend living or visiting Manchester to a friend or colleague compared to a generic American city. Fortunately, it was indicated that these figures are not out of line with other cities that have undergone brand makeovers with Northstar in recent years.

Additionally, their polling of New England residents living outside of Manchester noted that approximately half of respondents do not have a strong opinion of Manchester and those that do generally see it in a strong light when it comes to innovation and business friendliness.

You can view the presentation below:


About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.