I didn't have much trouble choosing among the candidates. Even inattentive readers know I'm not voting for the lawbreaking Henry Brackett. So for me it comes down to choosing between Scott Bugbee and Carole Dennis.
This section used to say:
Initially I was inclined toward Carole Dennis. It would be great to finally get a woman back in the seat. But unfortunately when I researched Ms. Dennis I learned her service has a serious problem. Her husband is Allan Dennis, Lee Code Enforcement Officer and Lee Planning/Zoning Director. As much of the selectmen's work is in these areas, Ms. Dennis's conflict of interest would often result in her recusing herself from deliberations. I confirmed this with one of the existing selectman. I find it worrisome did not disclose this conflict in her campaign statement, or anywhere else as far as I can tell.
The Lee Select Board only has three members, so it's a real problem when one of them cannot participate. If the two remaining Selectman disagree on a issue, no decision will be made because no point of view will command a majority. I think all else being equal, the town owes itself someone who can serve without conflict.
The conflict of interest issue is exacerbated because in this upcoming year the Lee Select Board plans to engage a consultant to assess the efficiency and manpower needs of the Planning and Zoning Office. (The consultant, Barry Brenner, is currently wrapping up his assessment of the Transfer Station.) Given the generally small number of building permits in Lee, "efficiency and manpower needs" appear to be not so subtle code words for whether Mr. Dennis's job is really necessary, or at least if needs to be funded at its current level, a decision in which Ms. Dennis could obviously not participate.
So that leaves Scott Bugbee. Of course, someone good with a conflict of interest would be better than someone always available to vote but otherwise awful, so I didn't want to just choose Mr. Bugbee by default. I started asking people in Lee who they were voting for. Among those with an opinion (admittedly not many) Scott Bugbee was the clear choice. Those I found for Carole Dennis felt like I did: it would be nice to elect a woman. It's not an election where the voters know much about the candidates.
Krista Butts was kind enough to call me (3/11 2:25pm) and inform me of this item on the Lee Police facebook page:
Why do I care about the Lee race at all? My concern, admittedly not based on any particular evidence, is that Henry Brackett would use his position as Lee Selectman to meddle in school district affairs. I'm not sure how this would be done, and I don't really want to find out. I've exchanged emails with Scott Bugbee and I have assured myself that he has no particular plans for the school district, instead focusing on the issues of the town proper.
Given the conflict issue is largely resolved, I think a quick head-to-head comparison of Mr. Bugbee and Ms. Dennis is in order. I don't know either of them personally, so I'm going to base it on their statements.
Focusing on public service, Mr. Bugbee comes out way ahead. Ms. Dennis offers her experience on the Lee Agriculture Committee (no dates given), her job at NH DOE, and a reference to "vast public service and volunteer experience." By contrast, Mr. Bugbee lists five committees from the town of Lee on which he has served. He's been on the Advisory Budget Committee 19 years (14 as chair) and the Trustee of the Trust funds 15 years (9 as chair).
My other concern is how the elected selectman would related to the public schools. Like I said above, I've assured myself that Mr. Bugbee has no particular interest in the school or the school board, which to me was much preferable to any plans to meddle. Ms. Dennis's statement offers "I will pursue every opportunity to communicate with the Oyster River School Board to understand the benefits and challenges our school system and our children experience" which seems innocuous enough. The extent that she'll leave the school board to cope with its own challenges is not relayed.
Let me close with Scott Bugbee's statement. "Indispensable" was a word I heard used to describe his service to Lee more than once. The man is a dedicated public servant to the people of Lee, and has been for a long time.
Here's his statement:
Name: Scott Bugbee email@example.com
I have lived in Lee since 1987. I have two sons – one a Junior at Oyster River High School and the other an Army military police officer.
Graduated from UNH with degrees in Computer Science and History
Town of Lee:
- Advisory Budget Committee 1994 – Present; Chair 1999 – Present
- Trustee of the Trust Funds 1998 – Present; Chair 2004 – Present
- Town Building Committee 2000 – 2006; Chair 2001 – 2006
- Capital Improvements Plan Committee 2007 – 2008
- Finance Committee 2010 – Present
- PAT Council 1991—1995 & 2004-2008, Vice Chair 1993-1995 & 2005-2008
- Memorial Union Board of Governors 1991-1993, Vice-Chair 1992-1993
- Professional Development Grant Committee 1995-1997, Chair 1996-1997
- Judicial Board 1996-2009
- Board of Durham Children's Center 1985 – 1989, Secretary 1987 – 1988; Chair 1988 – 1989
- Board of Friends of Durham Day Care 1987 – 1993; Treasurer 1988 - 1993
Worked for 25 years for New Hampshire Public TV / University of New Hampshire (UNH); United States Courts in Manchester, NH
Reasons for Running for the Position of Selectmen:
Lee is a wonderful place to live and is full of great people who add to its character and rich history. I want to keep that feeling alive so our children can experience that as well. I have tried to give back to my community by serving in various capacities over the last 19 years – from the Advisory Budget Committee and the Trustee
of the Trust Funds to the Finance Committee. I think it is important to make the community you live in better by devoting your time and effort to improve the lives of its citizens and culture. If I am elected selectmen, I will do my best to continue to make the Town of Lee a great place to live for everyone.
Challenges & Opportunities Facing Lee
We all know about the terrible financial crisis this country has been in for the last few years. No one knows that more than the citizens of Lee. From the high cost of fuel and health care to unemployment and the tight job market, I don’t think a person in Lee who has not been affected by these problems. The Town of Lee has these same issues – the increasing price of fuel for the police cars and the Town’s plow trucks to escalating costs for goods and services including benefits for town employees. The Town has the same issues you have at home. Just like in your house, we have to find ways to the same or more with less. I want to support that idea as a member of the Board of Selectmen and continue to explore more efficient and economical ways of doing business in the Town. I think we need to look at all of the Town’s operations and see if we can improve them and save some money at the same time. And this process does not just involve the town employees but all Lee citizens. I would want to hear any ideas that any Lee citizen has to offer. This is a group effort and if we all work together we will have outstanding results.
Please vote for Scott Bugbee for Lee, NH Selectman this Tuesday, March 12.
- Dean Rubine, Lee