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Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Atkinson's new town administrator eager to begin

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson's new town administrator eager to begin
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — The new town administrator says he has a lot of professional energy and is excited to be working in the community.

The Board of Selectmen announced Monday night that Philip Smith Jr., 45, of Salem had been chosen as the next town administrator, a position that has been vacant for almost eight months.

Smith, Alton's police chief since 2007, said he is ready to begin working next week.

"I'm flattered that I got the appointment," Smith said yesterday.

Selectmen declined to release Smith's three-year contract, citing personnel confidentiality. Selectman Bill Friel said the board is consulting with its attorney, Sumner Kalman, on whether the contract qualifies as confidential information.

Kalman did not return phone calls for comment yesterday.

Smith, a longtime Salem resident, will spend his last day as Alton's police chief on Friday.

Although Smith will be switching roles from a police chief to a town administrator, he said he possesses administrative skills that are transferable to the new job.

"Anything new and that appears to be a challenge attracts me," Smith said.

One of his greatest accomplishments in his current job is Alton's decision to promote his second in command to be his successor, he said.

When Smith arrived in Alton, the former police department administration was mismanaging funds and he helped to lead the department in a new direction, he said.

"I'm very proud of what's transpired here," Smith said.

Prior to working in Alton, Smith was a lieutenant with the Salem Police Department. He began working in Salem in 1984. He was promoted to sergeant in 1997 and lieutenant in 2001.SClBThe town administrator position has been vacant since late January when Steven Angelo resigned abruptly.

In August, the three selectmen met with six former selectmen to review applications and discuss who might be ideal for the job.

A candidate, whose name was not released, was offered the job in April. When that person gave notice to his employer, Atkinson's offer was matched and then turned down.

Prior to Angelo, Atkinson went through two town administrators in a year.


Every Town employees salary is a matter of public record, and you can not hide it citing confidentiality.


Anonymous said...

His experience correcting the mismanaging of funds will come in handy here.

Anonymous said...

There's lotsa fixin to do.

tim dziechowski said...


The article mentioned Mr. Friel consulting with the town attorney about the confidentiality of the employment contract, not the confidentiality of the salary amount...we all know that will be in next year's annual report.

Anonymous said...

explain that to Mr. Friel

Anonymous said...

I love the power this blog has bestowed on our new TA. Wasn't there griping that Russ McAllister acted like a Town Manager and not a TA, which, if I recall, was depicted as nothing more than a glorified secretary's job.

Just pointing out the hypocrisy. If anything, you all are consistent.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McAllister turned out to be a huge disappointment in many areas of his job. He never produced any grants and in some cases generated fines for the town like when he failed to monitor submission of water runoff reports (yes that should be his job to make sure that stuff gets done). He overstepped his bounds and was on some type of power kick. He chose sides which was a huge mistake. His manipulation of Selectmen meeting minutes was disgusting. He acted like he had the power of a selectmen or town manager when he was neither. He had to go.

I'll reserve judgement on the new TA based on job performance rather than speculate now he'll save the town. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

To the last 3: You seem the types that on a clear, sunny day would sit back and grumble, "It still might rain."

For the first time, in a very long time, we have a ray of sunlight. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Have some faith and try offering some words of support and encouragement rather than acting like Chicken Little.

Anonymous said...

Could any of the zombies here explain why Friel felt he had to hide the details of the contract in a town where trust between citizens and local government is strained at best?

MAcciard said...

A TA is little more than a glorified secretary. They only have the authority that the selectmen explicitly give him. That being said he is in a position to provide advice to the selectmen. If he is not pursuing an agenda like Russ was, then he can clarify alot of the bullshit that comes through that office.

Anonymous said...

Article Submission:

Atkinson releases new town administrator's contract

By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Atkinson's next town administrator will be the highest paid person in that position, according to the contract the Board of Selectmen released yesterday.

Philip Smith Jr., 45, will earn $76,000 in the final year of his three-year contract. In the first year, Smith will earn $72,000 and $74,000 in the second year. He will not receive any retirement or health benefits with his salary, according to the contract.

The last town administrator, Steven Angelo, made $75,000 a year without benefits. Russ McCallister, who left in February 2008, made $63,000 with benefits.

Selectmen released Smith's contract yesterday, but announced he had been hired for the job at Monday night's regularly scheduled meeting.

Previously, selectmen refused to release the contract, citing personnel confidentiality.

Smith will be the first person to occupy the job since Angelo resigned abruptly in late January. He will begin work on Monday night at the selectmen's meeting and will start his first full day Tuesday.

Prior to being hired as town administrator, Smith has been Alton's police chief since 2007.

Smith and selectman said this week they are happy to start working together.

"Obviously, the longer the time frame we can keep a sitting town administrator in place, the more beneficial it is to the town," Selectman Bill Friel said.

Prior to working in Alton, Smith was a lieutenant with the Salem Police Department. He began working in Salem in 1984.

As part of Smith's contract, he will receive three weeks of vacation, five sick days, five personal days and 12 holidays per year.

If selectmen are dissatisfied with Smith, the contract allows them to terminate him for "cause," which is defined as "loss of confidence of the majority of the Board of Selectmen," according to the contract.

Anonymous said...

"Could any of the zombies here explain..."

When you phrase a question like that I'm sure we're all going to rush to answer, numnuts.

You want to know why Friel did what he did, ASK HIM. Geeeez

Anonymous said...

"Atkinson releases new town administrator's contract"

There, all of you grouches happy now, or do you need to know his shoe size also?

Anonymous said...

No, we need to know his pay and benefits, as we are paying them.

Anonymous said...

To anon September 10, 2009 4:16 PM

Why not point out the hypocrisy of Town official's need to hire a TA to obfuscate their responsibility to follow the laws of the town. A TA is just adding another layer of government (at higher taxpayer expense) to bridge before taxpayers can get to the real problem children. Your selectmen are corrupt just like your police chief. Those people need to be eliminated, before ANYTHING can be corrected.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

So in other words we should revert to a non form of government called anarchy.

And this corruption you speak of: You are referring to specific incidents and have the evidence we can take to the county attorney, right?

And when you say they should be eliminated: To different people that means different things. I hope you don't mean the "cause harm" interpretation.

Bet you're a lot fun at parties too.

Your opinions are worth the (sarcasm alert) paper they're written on.

Opinionate said...

You can't go to the county attorney because most of the stupid shit our chief does isn't criminal. It is morally wrong or civil offenses. that means you have to file suit in county court. you have to fight it. and for what, so you can win like accard did, prove he was wrong. prove he lied when he told us the law specifically allowed him to do what he did, just to have your house vandalized? it isnt worth it.

Anonymous said...

"Your selectmen are corrupt" is what I was referring to. That's a pretty intense accusation, or libel if you can't prove it.

Anonymous said...

Then explain why over the years they have turned a blind eye to all of Phil's controversies?

explain why, last year when he admitted violating the towns sick leave policy without approval, costing the town $6,000 over 6 years, they didnt do anything?

or all of the other scandals. The town has been involved in 8 legal cases about him.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Smith has served on police departments for neary 25 Salem, at least, I would bet that the departmet was run with efficiency and in accordance with state law.

This year, when the Budget Committee asks for specific information on the Elderly Affairs Department - such as how many miles were put on the vehices and how much gas was used - I'm realy hoping Mr. Smith will advise the Selectmen that, whatever the BC wants, the BC should have. It's the reponsibiity of the department heads to provide the BC with any information they require in order to make intelligent decisions on the setting of the budget.

I'm loving the idea of having an administrator who knows police law on board.

On the other hand, my bet is that Phil will retire when Bill Baldwin finishes his tour of duty,thus paving the way for Baldwin's appointment as his replacement.
I don't have a problem with that, as long as the position is advertised and all applicants are interviewed.

Anonymous said...

"I don't have a problem with that, as long as the position is advertised and all applicants are interviewed."

I'm fine with it too as long as the qualifications and requirements are not watered down just accommodate him. The criteria should be based on what is consistent with other compatible sized towns in NH. To do anything less insures Atkinson will not get the most qualified candidate.

Someone said personalities need to kept out of the selection process for the next chief. That is absolutely the way it needs to be for the position to regain any credibility. Objective criteria, objective selection process. Anything less is unacceptable in this day of age.