Identifying goals and objectives, reviewing foundational documents, and addressing issues as they arise are critical to achieving successful outcomes for any organization. Since first convening in January, the Council has been focused on this work. Last week, the Council approved its goals and objectives for 2016, finalized the changes to its rules and regulations, and began addressing the residency issue for the Director of Public Works (DPW).
When the former DPW director left for health reasons, the city manager appointed the assistant director, a resident of Cornish, as the interim director. The Claremont Charter, originally adopted in 1947 and last amended in 2003, states that “for purpose of public safety the fire chief, police chief, and director of public works shall reside within the city limits within 180 days after completion of their probationary period.” If the city manager wanted to change the appointment from interim to director and there was no change in residency within the stated timeframe, the appointment would be out of compliance with the charter.
Last month, the Council asked the city manager to address the issue in his manager’s report. He presented a letter from a lawyer with Orr and Reno identifying two options – amend the charter or seek a declaratory judgement. An amendment would be considered via the electoral process and the other via the superior court. Since this was the first time the Council had seen the letter, I asked that the discussion be moved to the next Council meeting in order for everyone to digest the information. I anticipate a healthy discussion, and hope that it will encompass other charter items that are also out of compliance.
While the Council is only at the beginning of addressing this particular issue, River Valley Community College (RVCC) has completed its work on regaining accreditation for the nursing program. This week accreditors from Cleveland, Ohio and Charleston, South Carolina visited the college. They spent several days reviewing the new program curriculum, talking with faculty, and conducting a public hearing.
I had the opportunity to attend the public hearing and learn about the role the RVCC nursing program has played in the Upper Valley over many decades. It has graduated students who have gone on to complete postgraduate nursing degrees at Ivy League schools, and provided hospitals such as Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Valley Regional with highly qualified nurses. It has given students an affordable option for acquiring a well-paying job in the medical profession. Many of these nurses have stayed in the area, critical to building a young professional workforce and a healthy economy.
Having the accreditors restore the program’s accreditation is a tribute to the faculty and all of the work they have done to regain it. What I find most noteworthy is that RVCC transformed the unfortunate loss of accreditation into an opportunity to build a better program. As Dr. Harvey-Smith said at the end of the hearing, RVCC’s goal is to “make the nursing program the best in the country.” RVCC is already a leader in the Community College System of NH, and I look forward to watching the college achieve national recognition.
All organizations, governmental or otherwise, must focus on achieving desired outcomes. Their success is often measured by their ability to view issues not as hurdles to overcome, but as opportunities to excel. RVCC has proven that, and I look forward to the Council’s work to make Claremont an exceptional community.
Charlene Lovett is the Mayor of Claremont. Please email any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.