NHMA's staff includes two attorneys who are available to answer inquiries and provide general legal assistance by e-mail and telephone to elected and appointed officials from member towns, cities, and village districts.
In addition to their day-to-day legal advisory services, our attorneys give presentations on a wide array of topics at our offices, at various locations around the state, and on line. Regular presentations include Local Officials Workshops, Budget and Finance Workshops, the Municipal Law Lecture Series on land use issues, Moderators’ Workshops, Right-to-Know Law presentations, and Local Welfare Workshops. The attorneys also present regular webinars and are available for "on demand" training for individual municipalities. Please refer to the Workshops, Webinars, and On-Demand Training sections of this page for more information.
In connection with their presentations, the NHMA attorneys write numerous handbooks and other publications, including:
Our attorneys also write articles for other publications, including many articles for NHMA's bimonthly magazine, Town and City.
NHMA attorneys submit amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs to the New Hampshire Supreme Court on behalf of member municipalities in cases that involve issues of general municipal significance. If your municipality is involved in such a case and it reaches the Supreme Court, please let us know.
For more information, NHMA staff can be reached at 800.852.3358 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New Hampshire and U.S. Supreme Courts issue opinions that change, interpret, and occasionally strike down laws affecting municipalities. NHMA legal staff follows these opinions as they are issued, and summarizes them in the Court Update section of our NHMA member site. Summaries are usually posted within a few days of the release of the opinion. NHMA members are encouraged to log in regularly for new developments!
New Hampshire’s Right to Know Law, RSA Chapter 91-A, states: “Openness in the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussion and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.” RSA 91-A:1.
The Right to Know Law affects every aspect of local government in our state. Every board, committee, commission and subcommittee in every town, city and village district in New Hampshire must comply with this law. As a result, every local official and employee should be aware of the law and what their responsibilities are regarding both public meetings and governmental records.
NHMA has a variety of resources, publications, and training opportunities available related to the Right to Know Law. To learn more, visit our Right to Know Law page.
The New Hampshire Municipal Association provides finance information services to assist municipal officials and staff with understanding issues related to municipal finance operations. NHMA produces publications, workshops and online courses covering a variety of topics impacting financial operations, including accounting, auditing, budgeting, financial reporting, fraud prevention and detection, financial policies, internal controls, property taxation, and state and federal regulations.
Working closely with the New Hampshire Government Finance Officers Association, NHMA’s Government Finance Advisor develops programs and resources of interest to local finance officials to assist them in understanding and successfully performing their fiduciary responsibilities.
NHMA’s Government Finance Advisor tracks pending legislation and existing regulations that impact municipal finance operations. For more information about municipal finance matters, contact the NHMA Government Finance Advisor.
Regardless of the type or size of your government, there are many advantages to having a quality audit of your government’s financial statements. The timely issuance of audited financial statements enhances credibility of accounting and financial reporting functions, and helps to foster public confidence in the fiscal operations of the municipality. Additionally, findings and recommendations resulting from the audit often highlight weaknesses in internal controls and areas of risk that may require immediate attention from management and those charged with governance. The following links provide access to information regarding procuring audit services as well as understanding and managing the audit process.
Audit Resources - Recommended Practices and Publications
Visit the Government Finance Officers Association website for additional audit resource publications.
Audit Regulations - Federal Regulations
Sample Documents (Microsoft Word format)
The adoption of financial policies provides a number of benefits to municipalities large and small. The adoption of financial policies helps to provide consistency, stability, and continuity in the financial operations of the town. Written policies provide a framework to guide and educate both newly elected officials in carrying out their fiduciary responsibilities and newly appointed staff in the conduct of their financial duties. The ability to rely on well-defined financial policies helps to resolve conflicts and avoid allegations of bias or favoritism. Additionally, the adoption of financial policies is just a good, sound business practice that fosters confidence in the fiscal operations of the municipality.
The NHMA’s publication, Basic Financial Policies: A Guide for New Hampshire Cities and Towns, provides detailed explanations of the basic financial policies that municipalities should consider adopting. The guide includes a CD containing example policies, an internal control checklist, and other information helpful in formulating comprehensive financial policies.
NHMA has a variety of Financial Resources available here.
NHMA understands the value of efficient and effective local government. Well-educated officials and staff play a key role in the betterment of local government. With NHMA membership in mind, a wide variety of training opportunities have been developed to meet the ever changing educational needs of municipal officials and employees. NHMA welcomes feedback so please feel free to contact us with suggestions for future training ideas.
NHMA’s annual Budget and Finance workshop is offered at two locations in late September and is one of our most popular training opportunities. In addition to a thorough overview of the Municipal Budget Law, this full-day workshop provides an update on recent legislative changes impacting local budgets along with other topics of interest and importance to municipal and school officials. Ample time is devoted to questions and answers.
The Budget and Finance workshop is designed for selectmen, budget committee members, town managers and administrators, finance staff and other officials involved in the town or school budget process. Participants will receive the latest edition of NHMA’s The Basic Law of Budgeting: A Guide for Towns, Village Districts and School Districts.2014 Budget and Finance Workshop Information
The Fundamentals of Local Welfare workshop is an informative session for municipal officials new to local welfare administration. Members of the New Hampshire Municipal Association and members of the New Hampshire Local Welfare Administrators Association are welcome to attend. Attendees will receive a copy of NHMA’s 2013 edition The Art of Welfare Administration.
This workshop provides a basic overview of New Hampshire law governing local welfare administration, including why guidelines are important, how assistance is provided, anticipated legislative changes, fair hearings, suspension of assistance, and more. There will also be a panel to answer questions, share practical tips, and provide guidance in the “art” of managing a sound welfare program.
The Elected City Officials Workshop is offered every two years in February to provide training for city councilors and other elected city officials. Presented by New Hampshire Municipal Association staff, the half-day session covers an array of topics of importance to city officials, including the Right to Know Law, the New Hampshire Retirement System and other legislative issues. Attendees receive a complimentary copy of NHMA’s Guidebook for New Hampshire Elected City Officials.
Faced with ever-changing laws and regulations, budget constraints, employment issues and a variety of other demands related to municipal government, local officials need to continually reinforce their knowledge base. Presented by New Hampshire Municipal Association’s Legal Services Attorneys, the Local Officials Workshops provide newly elected and experienced local officials with the information required to effectively serve their communities.
Attendees will receive the latest edition of Knowing the Territory: A Survey of Municipal Law for New Hampshire Local Officials, revised annually to reflect the latest statutory changes and Supreme Court decisions. Local Officials Workshops are traditionally offered in various locations throughout the state.
Moderators play a vital role in the conduct of town meetings and the local election process. In the weeks preceding town meeting season, NHMA and the New Hampshire School Boards Association jointly host the annual Moderators Workshop to support individuals serving their communities as town, village district and school district moderators.
The Moderators Workshop provides an overview of the Basic Law of Town, Village District and School District Meeting, including the statutes governing the moderator’s duties at town and district meetings and issues related to warrant articles, secret ballot voting, official ballot referendum (SB 2) meetings and other town meeting issues. This topic is offered in two concurrent sessions tailored for new and experienced moderators, and ample time is devoted to questions and answers. Attendees receive the latest edition of NHMA’s Town Meeting and School Meeting Handbook.
This half-day workshop provides valuable information for town, village district and school district moderators. Town clerks, selectmen and other town officials will also find this session informative.
The Moderators Workshop is offered on two dates tailored for SB 2 and Traditional Town Meeting to provide moderators with guidance relevant to the structure and rules of their form of meeting. (Please note that the budget process is not a focus of this workshop. The topic is covered in detail at the annual fall Budget and Finance Workshop.)
The Municipal Law Lecture Series consists of three land use lectures held during September and October in various locations throughout the state. These lectures are intended for municipal officials with an interest in, or responsibility for, any aspect of municipal land use, including members of planning boards, zoning boards and conservation commissions, as well as selectmen, councilors, planners, building inspectors and code officers. Lecture participants receive a complimentary copy of the accompanying publication.2014 Municipal Law Lecture Information
New Hampshire’s Right to Know Law, RSA Chapter 91-A, affects every aspect of local government in our state. Every board, committee, commission and subcommittee in every town, city, village district and school district in New Hampshire must comply with this law.
NHMA’s Right to Know workshop reviews specific responsibilities relating to public meetings and governmental records. Ample time is devoted to participant questions and discussion of scenarios. This workshop is designed for municipal officials, staff and board members and is available for NHMA members. Attendees receive a helpful packet of materials to provide guidance with understanding and complying with this important legal obligation.
NHMA members are invited to join NHMA staff for our monthly webinar training series. NHMA webinars provide live online training including the ability to ask questions for an interactive learning experience. Webinars include a variety of timely topics accessible from the comfort of your own office.
NHMA attorneys are available to travel upon request to NHMA member municipalities for on-demand training sessions. Topics include, but are not limited to:
Each presentation is approximately 2 hours in length. There is a $475.00 fee regardless of the number of attendees. (Member municipalities paying annual dues in excess of $15,000 are entitled to one free on-demand presentation per calendar year; subsequent presentations are subject to the $475.00 fee.) The municipality requesting a presentation will be billed and is responsible to NHMA for full payment. However, we encourage the requesting municipality to invite officials and employees from surrounding NHMA-member municipalities and to negotiate a cost-sharing arrangement with those other municipalities.
To request a presentation, please send an email to email@example.com. Please specify your municipality, the subject, and the general dates and time you desire for the presentation. Presentations may be during the day or in the evening, but specific dates are subject to NHMA staff availability. It is also helpful to provide additional information about the intended audience and specific areas of concern so we can better prepare our presentation to meet your expectations.
NHMA's Annual Conference is New Hampshire’s premiere conference for municipal and school officials. The 2013 event drew more than 500 New Hampshire local government officials and over 100 exhibitors and sponsors. This year’s NHMA Annual Conference is scheduled for November 12-13, 2014 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH. We hope to see you there!2014 Sponsor and Exhibitor Information
The Association Management Services Program provides administrative, event management and financial services to NHMA affiliate groups. The program is designed to support our affiliate groups in their efforts to run strong organizations, freeing more of their time to focus on advancing their organizational mission. Across the country, state municipal leagues—like the New Hampshire Municipal Association—foster close relationships with their own affiliate organizations.
Any organized group of local government professionals that is recognized by NHMA as an affiliate group may be eligible to participate in the Association Management Services Program. These services are provided through existing in-house resources and are available at the discretion of NHMA. Affiliate groups participating in the Association Management Services Program sign an agreement outlining commitment of both the group and NHMA. Groups participating in the program reimburse NHMA for direct costs such as postage and out-of-house printing. For a complete list of service offerings, view our Services Overview.
For more information about the Association Management Service Program or to determine if your group may be eligible, please contact NHMA staff.