BOS March 21 "Public Meeting" on Middleton Dispatch


To the Editor,

Manchester residents came prepared to comment on the NSR911Study at this posted Public Meeting in assisting the BOS in making a fair and well-informed decision.  However, prior to the start of the discussion, Chairman Jeffrey Bodmer-Turner shocked the Residents by declaring that there would be NO public participation/input on this critical Public Safety issue.  There was no mention of a reschedule.

In the name of transparency and in the Spirit of our small-town government process, it is in order that the BOS reschedule this important Agenda item on the April 4, 2022 "Public Meeting”.  It will go a long way in appeasing/reassuring your loyal voters that your interest is primarily of their best interests and not of any special interests.

The whole concept of "Regionalization" of our critical Public Safety Dispatch from the Manchester Police Department to a State run and controlled experiment has been voted down twice at Town Meetings in 2010 and 2012.  Police Chief Fitzgerald has stated publicly that he is concerned about losing control of this critical element of our Public Safety and is against signing up with NSR 911.

The principal proponent of Regionalization is Fire Chief Cleary whose motivation is to comply with OSHA Rule 2x2.  However, compliance is mandated for communities that have 16 or more full time firefighters.  Manchester has twelve plus three on call, which does not comply.  Chief Cleary informed at the meeting that he has applied to hire four new full-time firefighters.  He further stated that he is/has applied for a Safer Grant that could pay for as many as three new hires for a period of three years. 

This new hiring proposal introduces substantial changes in the financial profile dynamics.

A firefighter salary plus benefits is a low $60,000 X 4 = $240,000 estimated per year additional which needs to be reconfigured into the costs presented in the study. These would be newly acquired expenses for the Town/Taxpayers as a result of joining the Middleton Dispatch.

The "Public Safety Dispatch Options " costs/benefits chart has annualized over the 10-year period of the NSR911 Contract. Current Manchester Dispatcher expenses to be at 10 years $4,007.720 which includes, $650,000 which is overstated.  The Proposed NSR911 costs projected with 24-hour lobby coverage [which we have now] is estimated to be $ 2,900,000.  Added to that needs to be the $2,400,000 in costs to the Town of four new Firefighter which gives a new total costs of NSR911 =$ 5,300,000 est.

In summary, $5,300,000 - $4,007,720 = added costs to Manchester taxpayers over a 10-year period of $1,292,280 by switching to NSR911.  Even if Safer Grants pay for three years (Chief Cleary stated might be only for three new hires if granted) it configures to be $720,000 in grant savings for four new hires.

$1,292,280 -$720,000 =$572,280 in cost savings over a 10-year period with Dispatch staying in Manchester and four new hires covered for three years by Safer Grant and the remaining seven years on Town payroll.

Has the Town included the expense of hiring four full time Firefighters, at least $240,000, in the Fire Department budget for this fiscal year? 

Question: Who authorized the Chief to hire/add four new firefighters for a proposal not voted on by Residents and not voted on by the BOS? Has this already been discussed and agreed upon by BOS to join this new dispatch?

Important Fact: Residents should be made aware that if this venture fails, as the previous attempt by the Sheriff Dept did and it is voted upon in favor, there can never be a local Manchester Dispatch again.  It has to be contracted to a State 911 or with a town that is signed up to one … Amesbury voted to terminate their contract but is still in the NSR911 because they have little choice.

Question: How and for what reason did the BOS decide this to be a Non-Binding vote?

This is a major Public Safety issue that contractually involves commitments over millions of dollars.

Major Public Safety Issue and Contractual Commitments over a 10-year span involving millions of dollars are two items that apply to Manchester General By-Law, Page 96 Revised May 2020, Annual Town Meeting/Ballot Questions and Article 6 Finance Committee Section 4 A and B. These mandate that issues of important Public Safety issues and finances involved, be presented at Town Meeting.  The BOS has stated they do not want this to go before the voters at Town Meeting.

Please take time on this important Public Safety issue and contact Chairman Bodmer-Turner at 508-526-2000 or email of your choice.

Robert T Coyne


jeffrey bodmer-turner, bodmer-turner, occupational safety and health administration, robert t coyne, manchester dispatch, police chief, fire chief, issue and contact chairman public safety,, regional dispatch