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After Entire Board of Selectmen Resigns, Uncertainty in Small Town of Kensington

Magicpiano via Wikimedia

All three members of the Kensington Board of Selectmen have resigned, sowing a bit of confusion across this small Rockingham County town.

Police Chief Scott Sanders announced the mass exodus on Wednesday. Norman DeBoisbriand, Robert Wadleigh and Linda Blood all made their resignations effective immediately. While they didn’t cite a cause in their letters, local news reports, including on seascoastonline.com, show a town growing increasingly divided during the past few months over a range of issues.

“I don’t think anybody really wants to see any organization--particularly the one in charge of governing their day to day lives--suddenly crippled from not having a governing body,” said Chief Sanders.  

On Wednesday, Town Moderator Harold Bragg filed an emergency petition in Rockingham Superior Court asking a judge to appoint temporary selectmen so that municipal employees can receive paychecks by week’s end.

“With the current vacancies of all the town’s selectmen, there is no authorized individual under state law to approve the town manifest to pay town employees on its next payday scheduled for September 14,” reads the petition.

Bragg is asking the court to appoint Michael Schwotzer, a former selectmen and town treasurer, as well as Benjamin Cole, who served on the Kensington School Board, to fill the temporary posts until March, when Town Meeting is next held. Both men are described as having “good moral character and standing in the community.”

A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for 9am on Friday in Brentwood.

Chief Sanders says the town has approximately 15-20 paid employees.

In a message to the townspeople, he says he’s confident “that we will be able to stand united to see each other through this period of transition. Now, more than ever, we need to support our neighbors in order to realize the shared vision of our community and embrace the opportunities that lay ahead of us.”

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at dallee@nhpr.org.

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