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Dozens are expected to attend New Durham's first "Citizens Forum" on Thursday night.

Aug 6, 2015 5:49 PM

Unprecedented meeting will discuss turmoil in New Durham town hall


NEW DURHAM - Organizers say Thursday's meeting is a historic move never before undertaken in this small town of less than 3,000 people.

Thursday night, dozens are expected to attend a Citizens Forum.

All residents have been welcomed to speak their mind about ongoing issues in the town.

According to organizer Cecile Chase, the meeting is intended to focus on how to move the town in a positive direction following several years of 'issues' with the select board and town government.

“We have been asking for answers," Chase said. "We haven’t gotten answers. We would like our selectmen to follow the town processes that are in place – the hiring policy, the personnel policy.”

During the month of July, the select board voted 2-1 to terminate Police Chief Shawn Bernier.

Bernier served the town for more than 20 years.

Dozens of citizens who opposed Bernier's firing have filed petitions asking for him to be reinstated. Others have filed complaints with the state Attorney General's office.

About one week after Bernier's dismissal, Town Administrator Jeremy Bourgeois submitted his resignation citing recent "stresses and challenges."

"The morale is pretty low, and the employees are worried about their positions," Bourgeois told NH1 News.

Chase, who also serves as the town's moderator, said she expects a large crowd.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in a meeting room behind the town's fire station.

"We would like them to be open, honest, to be transparent about the direction that they would like to see the town go in," Chase said. "And we’d like to be part of that discussion.”


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