Letter: Hanover’s Changing of the Guard
To the Editor:
Will the Hanover Selectboard use the retirement of the police and fire chiefs to rationalize these departments? Will the positions be merged, as Hartford has recently done? Will the town move to combine fire services with Lebanon, Hartford and Norwich, which could have and should have occurred once the interstates were completed 40 years ago? On the firefighting side, a recent Boston Globe article quoted an economist at George Mason University saying that U.S. fire departments have become organizations in search of a mission because there are so many fewer fires. This is the time to ask the most basic question: What do these departments do, and why do they do it?
Calm yourself; that will never happen. Although it’s said that the job of elected officials is to effect change, that’s not what Hanover voters want their representatives to do, either now or in the past. Our over-arching concern is the schools, because that’s how we got to where we are. In a town that has a billion dollars dropped on it every year, problems are few and far between, hence Selectboard agendas that feature hanging banners over Main Street and dates for Christmas tree recycling. The selectmen’s real job is unsaid, but fundamental and potentially angst-ridden if not handled properly. It is to head off social conflict rooted in the income disparity between Hanover and much of the rest of the Upper Valley. Or, to put it another way, to avoid presenting this newspaper with its favorite fodder — victims. So the best we can hope for with emergency services is a police chief whose goat cannot be got by college students.