Forum on state government transparency coming to town

Peterborough one of six towns to host June 3 discussion

PETERBOROUGH — About a year ago, Gov. Maggie Hassan issued an executive order that created the Governor’s Commission on State Government Innovation, Efficiency and Transparency. The group, made up of representatives of the business, nonprofit, higher education and local government sectors, was charged with making recommendations for modernizing state government, improving efficiency, measuring the performance of state agencies and improving transparency to residents of the state.

As part of that process, the commission is working with an organization called NH Listens to hold a six community conversations in various locations around the state on June 3. Residents will be asked for their ideas on how New Hampshire’s doing, and what state government could do better.

A conversation in Peterborough will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Town House. Everyone is invited.

“The focus of these NH Listens sessions is to provide a different approach to getting public feedback on issues,” said Dennis Calcutt of Francestown, a facilitator for NH Listens who is helping to organize the Peterborough event. “In a typical public forum, it becomes very one-on-one — one person talking at a time while others listen. Here your trying to get deep conversations going, on a broad level with many people.”

To do that, Calcutt said, people who attend will be assigned to a small group session as they come in the door. The groups of about 10 people will each have a facilitator to guide and record the conversations and each group will attempt to identify two or three chief concerns or issues that members believe the state should address.

NH Listens is a program of the University of New Hampshire that is set up to do community conversations on all sorts of topics. Calcutt said the UNH staffers will compile the information generated by each of the groups at each of the six sessions and will develop a report for the Governor’s Commission. Anyone who comes to the meeting will be able to get an emailed copy of the final report.

Calcutt said refreshments and child care will be provided. Anyone planning to attend is asked to register online at

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