Highlights of 74th Annual Conference
The information contained in this article is not intended as legal advice and may no longer be accurate due to changes in the law. Consult NHMA's legal services or your municipal attorney.
Navigating the Waters of Municipal Government
The 74th Annual Conference theme was “Navigating the Waters of Municipal Government” and attracted over 525 municipal elected and appointed officials, including municipal employees, state and federal agency representatives, non-profit organizations and others. Our Exhibit Hall included over 100 exhibitors this year with over 300 industry representatives meeting with attendees over the two-day event.
The conference kicked off with a popular keynote address by Captain Richard Phillips, former captain of the Maersk Alabama which was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. There was standing room only with over 300 conference attendees crowded into the hall to hear Captain Phillips speak. Phillips discussed the importance of leadership and teamwork, combined with a belief in the power and potential of yourself and your team, as seen through the eyes of an unassuming hero who conquered an extraordinary challenge.
You Missed All the Fun at The “Fun Session”
Although attendance was low, spirits ran high during The Fun Session hosted by NHMA’s Cordell Johnston. The Fun Session was just that, a welcome departure from all the obligatory educational presentations that the conference offered. Instead, attendees had an opportunity to test their knowledge of New Hampshire history, politics, and of course, local government.
Two teams of three people each were formed, the Sharks and the Jets, and then squared off against each other in an entertaining battle of wits. The Jets took advantage of their superior New Hampshire and local government knowledge and beat the Jets by a score of 197 to 67. Special recognition goes to the fun delegation from the Town of Hillsborough who set the tone of amusement and merriment for this game show event.
Special thanks to the following members who volunteered their time to assist NHMA at this year’s conference: Jeanne Beaudin, Belmont; Carrie Rouleau-Côté, Auburn; Bruce Crawford, Boscawen; Sue Desruisseax, Goffstown; and Julia Griffin, Hanover.
Shaun Mulholland Recognized for Outstanding Legislative Advocacy
Allenstown’s Town Administrator Receives 2015 Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year Award
Each year, the Municipal Advocate of the Year award is given by NHMA staff based on interactions with municipal officials during the legislative session. We established this award in 2011 to recognize an elected or appointed local official(s) for his or her non-partisan contributions toward the advancement of NHMA’s legislative policy goals and for the advocacy of municipal interests generally.
In 2011, NHMA staff selected Russ Marcoux, town manager in Bedford, as the first-ever recipient of the Municipal Advocate of the Year award because Russ did all the things we want members to do in support of our legislative policy and to enhance the success of our legislative agenda. Russ passed away just days before the 2011 Annual Conference and he never knew we had created such an award or that he had been selected the first recipient. So in his honor, the NHMA board of directors renamed this recognition as the Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year award.
At its recent annual conference in November, NHMA recognized Shaun Mulholland, town administrator in Allenstown, with its 2015 Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year award.
Since 2013, Shaun Mulholland has served as town administrator for the Town of Allenstown and had previously served as patrolman since 1995 and as the town’s police chief for 5 years. Shaun has worked closely with NHMA staff for several years and he continues to bring to our attention flaws or inconsistencies in existing municipal statutes and has worked diligently with us to get them corrected.
In his presentation remarks, NHMA’s Government Affairs Counsel, Cordell Johnston, recognized Shaun as one of his more frequent correspondents. “I know he reads our Legislative Bulletins faithfully because it is not unusual for me to get an email from him on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning about something he has just read in the Bulletin, frequently offering to help.” Johnston further noted, “Shaun was very helpful last year in enabling us to get one of our policy bills passed. He works well with his legislative delegation, and has been able to get his local legislators to sponsor a number of bills to improve municipal government. That’s all the more impressive because a couple of his legislators have a tendency to be skeptical of government at all levels, so they’re not among our natural allies.”
In 2011, Russ Marcoux set the bar of expectation very high, but we are very fortunate that members like Shaun Mulholland continue to make significant contributions to NHMA’s legislative advocacy efforts. Congratulations to you, Shaun!