elected officials

I Recuse Myself

It is generally understood that a municipal official who has a conflict of interest in a specific situation is not supposed to participate in that matter.  What is less understood is how this process works and what is at stake in making that decision.


What is recusal?


Legal Q and A: The Selectmen's Authority 'To Manage the Prudential Affairs of the Town'

Parliamentary Procedure in Local Government

As a city manager with more than thirty years of service, city council meetings are a way of life. In the background of all governing body meetings are the rules of parliamentary procedure. Until I began a formal study of parliamentary procedure, I was in the dark about its origins, fundamental principles, and overall benefits.

This article will review the history of parliamentary procedure, its basic principles, and how using it correctly will benefit both governing body members and the public.

The 'Practice' of Public Service

Anyone reading this probably already knows that local government can be difficult, confusing, and sometimes frustrating. There are a lot of moving parts—departments, boards, officials, employees, and the various personalities of the people in all of those positions; laws, rules, and policies, which are constantly changing; financial pressure; political pressure. Everyone needs something right now, and it must be done correctly.

Local Officials Making Decisions: Understanding Conflicts of Interest and Disqualifying Bias

By Kimberly A. Hallquist, staff attorney with the New Hampshire Local Government Center’s Legal Services and Government Affairs Department

Congratulations on Your Election to Local Office: Now, On Being Effective

Now that the candidate lunches are over, the campaign workers have gone home, and the yard signs are heading to the recycling bin, reality may be starting to set in. And given the nature of campaigning, it's about time for a dose of reality. As the jubilation fades and the campaign promises you made are still fresh in your mind, you may be feeling like the dog that caught the bus: exhausted, overwhelmed, and asking yourself, "Now what?"

Selecting the Rules for Boards of Selectmen

It may be surprising that New Hampshire law says very little about the way a board of selectmen should operate. We receive many questions regarding the role of the chairperson and the rules that govern the board’s procedure. The lack of specificity in the law gives local boards a lot of freedom to define these things. However, this can also mean a board has very little guidance when faced with difficult situations. Here are a few of the questions that have arisen.

Municipal Employee and Municipal Official – Is There a Difference?

Generally, when someone performs work with an expectation of compensation, an employment relationship is created. However, not everyone who “works" for a municipality is an employee. It can be difficult to distinguish between the employees, officials, volunteers and independent contractors who all perform work for a municipality. This article deals with the differences between municipal officials and municipal employees—and there are differences. As a general rule, elected and appointed officials are not employees of the municipality.

After Town Meeting, It’s Time for Municipal Boards to Reorganize

After election ballots have been counted and the town meeting “dust" has settled, the various municipal boards, commissions and committees should reorganize and prepare for another year of activity. New members should be sworn in, a chairperson should be selected and any vacancies should be filled.

Town Clerks: What do they do—and do they have a boss?

The duties and responsibilities of a town clerk are numerous and varied. There is no one place in the statutes to find a list of the duties for this position; rather, the duties can be found throughout many statutes such as motor vehicle laws, election laws, vital statistics, planning and land use laws, libraries and the budget law. This article will review some of those duties and responsibilities of the town clerk as well as oversight of the position.