November 23, 2006

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Manchester Publisher's Note: The Manchester oppressed
By†Jody Reese

Finally, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen has recognized that Manchester residents have faced historic and ongoing discrimination.

Itís about time. For far too long the residents of Bedford, Goffstown, Hooksett, Auburn, Candia, Merrimack and every other New Hampshire bigot-filled town have kept us Manchester residents down. We were denied the right to vote. Denied the right to eat at Bedford restaurants. Denied jobs. We even were denied from dating Goffstown girls.

Itís true, Manchester residents have faced several hundred years of systematic oppression.

So finally to deal with these generations of oppression, Mayor Frank Guinta and a little more than half the aldermen passed a non-binding resolution giving hiring preferences to Manchester residents. Several aldermen said they wanted the Manchester resident affirmative action to become a citywide enforced policy.

Of course the truth of the matter is that Manchester already has an unofficial policy of Manchester resident affirmative action. Another word for this policy might be nepotism.

True, with the introduction of a human resources department that enforces the basic requirements for jobs available in city government, many aldermen have been frustrated in getting their nephews, cousins, friends and friends of political supporters a job. Case in point, Ward 9 Aldermen Mike Garrity was very upset when the human resources department wouldnít let the airport hire a Garrity constituent because he didnít have a high school degree. Not surprisingly, Garrity voted for the Manchester resident affirmative action resolution.

Iím sure Garrity and Guinta feel that to stay in office they have to deliver jobs to city and ward residents when they can ó just like all the aldermen do. How would it look to his ward voters if Garrity said Iím not going to try and get you guys jobs, while every other alderman is working hard to get friends, family, neighbors and supporters city jobs?

Even if Garrity and Guinta wanted to support good efficient government, instead of one run by nepotism, they couldnít. The system is against them. City department heads can keep their jobs forever, as many have, as long as they have the support of eight aldermen. Not to impugn anyoneís integrity here, but how do you think a department head would keep the support of an alderman?

If our mayor and aldermen were serious about creating a better city government ó you know, one that could keep the streets clean and send our kids off to college prepared all at the same time ó they would dismantle this cozy relationship they have with department heads and let city government do its job and not be a job bank for the aldermen.

Not only do Manchester residents not need affirmative action to get city jobs, but Manchester residents deserve the best-run city government possible. After all, we pay for it. It is high time that our mayor and aldermen get their act together and make Manchester a better place to live and stop protecting their own jobs with nepotism.