New Ipswich picks new selectman, town administrator

  • Town of New Ipswich. (BEN CONANT / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Copyright Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/21/2021 4:24:44 PM

The New Ipswich Select Board appointed Bert Hamill to fill the empty selectman’s seat Tuesday night, and appointed Jim Coffey as interim Town Administrator.

The two appointments came after resignations from the two posts. John Veeser resigned from the Select Board in early July after becoming frustrated with the town’s state of affairs, and Scott Butcher resigned as Town Administrator late last week after what he called philosophical differences between himself and the Select Board.

Following Hamill’s appointment in a non-public session right before the start of Tuesday’s meeting, the Select Board members voted unanimously in another non-public session to appoint Coffey.

“We really appreciate you stepping up,” said Select Board Chair Jason Somero to Coffey. “This is going to be an exciting time for New Ipswich residents and employees.”

Coffey previously served eight terms as a selectman and three terms on the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He is now on the Board of Assessors.

Coffey said he considers this a temporary position, although he said he’s glad to help out for the short-term.

“The word ‘interim’ is very key to this,” Coffey said. He and the Select Board have laid out a six-month time table, he said, to find a permanent town administrator and have him assist with the transition.

“My goal is to get everybody working together and going in the same direction,” he said. “I think I can do some good.”

Hamill, who was previously a selectman, also said that he was hoping to use his appointment to make positive change in the town.

“I thought I could be of service,” Hamill said. “I think I can make some positive changes. This is a really good Board, got two good selectmen on now, hopefully I’ll make a difference.”

Hamill said that the town has been struggling with many issues – budget problems, an understaffed police department, infrastructure difficulties, low pay for town employees, even low vaccination rates.

“Every problem a small town could have, we have,” Hamill said. “We’re facing a number of problems that need to be resolved and a fairly inexperienced board.”

His ability to lend experience to the board was part of the board’s reason for selecting him, he said.

Hamill also cited Butcher’s resignation as an issue the town is now facing, and the town’s difficulties have extended to the position he is taking over.

When he resigned, Veeser said that he had “battled” with the thought of stepping down for some time, due to what he characterized as a disconnect between the town and the Select Board on how to keep the town moving forward – this included, he said, similar funding issues to those that Hamill is concerned about.

“I truly love New Ipswich – we have an amazing town,” Veeser said. He said that he was grateful to the town and people of New Ipswich for the opportunity to be a Selectman.

Veeser said that he hoped his successor, who was not chosen at the time, and the Select Board could continue to effect change in the town.

Hamill is currently set to fill out the rest of Veeser’s term until the election in March, at which point he said that he’s not sure if he’ll run again. The time commitment could be too much, and with all of the difficulties facing the Board, he said he’ll have to wait and see how the term goes before he decides whether to run for re-election.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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