Twenty Six Words! Yes, only 26 words are needed to clearly and simply describe the process of who votes to represent the ratepayers of Pennichuck water. The by-laws of the Pennichuck Corporation are 10 pages long. Most of the by-laws talk about selecting officers and their roles. Only one page - Article 1 - is relevant to the issues of meetings and how the citizens of Nashua are represented. Within Article 1 there is one paragraph - Section 6: Conduct and Requirements of Meetings - which details how the representation is to occur.
And finally, within Article 1, Section 6, there are 26 words which unambiguously specify who will represent the city's share as the sole shareholder.
"The Sole Shareholder shall exercise all powers and rights of the Sole Shareholder pursuant to vote of the Board of Aldermen of the City of Nashua ...".
Prior to those 26 words is a sentence which clarifies how that vote shall occur. "All meetings of the Sole Shareholder shall comply with all provisions and requirements applicable to meetings of the Board of Aldermen of the City of Nashua, New Hampshire."
You can ask just about anyone familiar with city government what that means and they should say, "The issue gets its first reading at the Board of Aldermen. It gets referred to committee, is discussed and a recommendation is returned. It gets a second reading at the Board of Aldermen and a vote is taken." Done.
Yesterday, I received my usual weekly packet from City Hall. Included this time was the Pennichuck Corporation Proxy Statement, similar to the bizillions of proxys sent to shareholders from corporations for decades. I expect to vote on this proxy along with my 14 colleagues. Once that vote is made, it is irrelevant who carries the piece of paper with the results of that vote to the Pennichuck Board of Directors. But, just in case, it should be mailed so that, like our IRS tax forms, we have an official record of delivery.
What IS important, and what is mandated by law, is that the requirements applicable to meetings of the Board of Aldermen be met. Those requirements shall provide the ratepayers an opportunity to contribute their opinion. At present there is nothing on the agenda for Tuesday's Board of Aldermen meeting regarding the Pennichuck Corp Proxy Card. Let's hope our city government can move quickly enough to remedy that oversight so that the public may comment in a timely fashion.