relationships among officials

Legal Q&A: Be Aware of Traps at Town Meeting

You've reviewed the calendar, looked at the warrant, and booked the room. Notices are ready to post, the budget is almost ready, and everyone is gearing up for what promises to be a great annual meeting. We hope that it is! However, even the most experienced local officials miss something now and then. Here are a few traps of which to beware, both golden oldies and new ones.

Private Money for Public Use: The Administration of Trust Funds, Restricted Gifts, and Private Donations

Anyone who has attended a town meeting, deliberative session, or a budget committee hearing knows there is a direct relationship between the goods and services provided in a municipality and the resulting tax rate. Because the choices voters make will have a direct financial impact on the real estate taxes they will pay, New Hampshire citizens often have at least a basic understanding of how the budgeting process works in their town or city.

Legal Q and A: Laws Related to Appointed Officials

Municipal government in New Hampshire requires dedicated volunteers to fill the list of important appointed offices. The duties of these offices are more challenging and require more time, knowledge and judgment than ever. At the same time, many communities are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain candidates for appointive office. It is important for selectmen, in particular, to understand the various legal issues involved in properly appointing people to office and removing appointed officials when necessary.

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

Exercising a Public Trust: Voting

“Your every voter, as surely as your Chief Magistrate, under the same high sanction, though in a different sphere, exercises a public trust." So observed Grover Cleveland, the 22nd President of the United States, in his first inaugural address in 1885. Here in New Hampshire, citizens take elections and voting very seriously. For nearly 90 years, New Hampshire voters have participated in the first-in-the-nation Presidential primary—a tradition that is fiercely guarded.

The Thorny Issue of Street Names and Address Numbers

C. Christine Fillmore

The Municipal Budget Law: Frequently Asked Questions

As budget season arrives, municipal budget committees and governing bodies across the state are beginning to work through the process of creating budget proposals, holding hearings and ultimately presenting a budget to voters.

When Does Zoning Apply to Governmental Use of Land?

A zoning ordinance is a comprehensive system to regulate the timing and manner of development in a municipality. Ordinarily, all land use within a town or city is subject to the local zoning ordinance and land use regulations. However, it may be surprising to learn that the law provides an exception for “governmental uses" of land.

Town Elections Are Over, But Is There a Vacancy?

Q. What if no one filed to run for an elected office, or someone declines to serve after being elected? How is the position filled?