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March 28, 2014

Plaistow to give cell phones to selectmen

Town will provide, pay for phones for elected officials

PLAISTOW — Selectmen can get cellphones to use for town business.

Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said it was important selectmen be kept up to date on town matters as much as possible.

“This was a request asked for by a selectman,” Fitzgerald said. “They have a responsibility to stay informed and stay abreast of town matters, 24/7. We have funding in the executive budget that would help them have access to a smartphone.”

Selectmen’s Chairman Daniel Poliquin said he only expected newly elected selectman Steve Ranlett to take advantage of the offer. Ranlett does not have a landline and uses his cell phone for business purposes.

“We had addressed it a few years ago, but at that point in time, it wasn’t a need,” Poliquin said. “But in this day and age, a lot of people don’t have a landline.”

Ranlett declined to comment yesterday.

Poliquin said selectmen are required to have a contact phone number listed on the town website.

Fitzgerald said the cost of allowing selectmen to have town phones would be minimal.

“Service costs range from $20 to $40 a month,” he said. “The town has phones that we have given to town employees that we are able to use. We have many people on one plan, so we are able to get a discounted rate.”

Fitzgerald said he wasn’t aware of any other towns giving out phones to elected officials.

“I’ve not had any discussions regarding that,” he said. “Often times they receive calls about snow removal or trash removal. It’s important that they can be reached 24/7.”

Fitzgerald stressed the phones would be used for business purposes only.

“It would obviously be for town use only,” he said. “It would require compliance with Right to Know laws. Records would be reviewed monthly as they come in and get audited.”

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