MANCHESTER, NH — Tuesday is Election Day in Manchester and one of the most important duties of any elected official is showing up to meetings.
The following data comes from tabulated attendance records for the Board of Aldermen using meeting minutes from January 2018 to September 2019 and meeting minutes from the Board of School Committee from January 2018 to October 2019.
Ward 2 Board of School Committee Member Kathleen Kelly-Arnold and At-Large Board of School Committee Member Patrick Long joined the board after January 2018. Long was appointed to the BoSC in Oct. 2018 and Arnold’s appointment was approved in May of 2019.
The Board of School Committee listed approximately twice as many meetings on its website compared to the Board of Aldermen and also listed when members were in attendance, but late.
This data also includes Board of Aldermen meeting attendance from October 2019 as well in our tally, but minutes have not yet been approved from those meetings.
While constituents should have an expectation that their elected officials will attend meetings, elected officials are human beings and there are times when they may not be able to attend a meeting due to understandable reasons beyond their control.
Manchester Ink Link emailed every member of the Board of Aldermen and Board of School Committee with an email address on Oct. 31 (see below), requesting any pertinent information they would like to provide voters regarding their attendance records.
From the Board of Aldermen, Ward 12 member Keith Hirschmann reported that he has not missed a meeting in 12 years.
At-Large member Joseph Kelly Levasseur has also had a perfect attendance record over five terms until a meeting the first week of July, organized in June, after Levasseur had scheduled a vacation with his family.
He also reported perfect attendance in 2018 on the Planning Board, which is not recorded here.
Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw said in 10 years she has missed one meeting due to knee surgery. She also reported missing two committee meetings due to scheduling conflicts with the state legislature, but this study did not record attendance at committee meetings.
On the Board of School Committee, Ward 10 Member John Avard reported that he had a sudden onset of a serious medical condition earlier in 2019, but has recovered sufficiently and does not expect any future interruptions due to that condition.
Long and Terrio are running for Alderman in Ward 3 and Ward 7, respectively.[Copies of the original email requests, sent Oct. 31 via the city’s official email list for both boards, are included below.]
UPDATED: On Nov. 4, Ward 6 Alderman Elizabeth Moreau and Ward 12 BoSC Member Kelly Thomas reached out on Manchester Ink Link’s Facebook page.
Moreau said she missed meetings for the birth of her son, the death of her grandmother, a child’s illness and an out-of-state training.
Thomas said her absences were due to severe health issues, time constraints, requirements for employment and sick children.
Any Manchester residents seeking to find out who their elected officials are can click here.
⇒ A link to our 2019 Municipal Election Voters’ Guide is here.
In the list below, bolded names are running for re-election.
Board of Aldermen
100.00% Ward 3 – Tim Baines
100.00% Ward 4- Christopher Herbert
100.00% At-Large – Dan O’Neil
100.00% Ward 12 – Keith Hirschmann
97.22% Ward 10 – Bill Barry
97.22% Ward 1 – Kevin Cavanaugh
97.22% Ward 2 – Will Stewart
97.22% At-Large – Joseph Kelly Levasseur
97.22% Ward 7 – William Shea
97.22% Ward 8 – John Cataldo
97.22% Ward 9 – Barbara Shaw
94.44% Ward 5 – Anthony Sapienza
86.11% Ward 11 – Normand Gamache
83.33% Ward 6 – Elizabeth Moreau
Board of School Committee
98.65% / 1.35% Ward 4 – Leslie Want
97.30% / 1.35% At-Large – Richard Girard
97.30% / 0.00% Ward 9 – Arthur Beaudry
95.12% / 2.44% At-Large – Patrick Long*
93.24% / 2.70% Ward 8 – Jimmy Lehoux
89.19% / 6.76% Ward 6 – Dan Bergeron
83.78% / 5.41% Ward 1 – Sarah Ambrogi
81.08% / 2.70% Ward 3 – Mary Ngwanda Georges
79.73% / 5.41% Ward 11 – Katie Desrochers
79.73% / 2.70% Ward 7 – Ross Terrio
77.03% / 5.41% Ward 5 – Lisa Freeman
68.42% / 10.53% Ward 2 – Kathleen Kelley Arnold*
52.70% / 2.70% Ward 12 – Kelly Thomas
51.35% / 6.76% Ward 10 – John Avard
[*Members Long and Arnold were appointed to vacant seats after Jan. 2018.]