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Sheriff's captain likely to retire this year

August 04, 2011
OSSIPEE — Carroll County Sheriff Chris Conley told county commissioners at their July 27 meeting that he has received Captain David Meyers intent to retire, a move that will "likely occur by the end of the year."

This year, Meyers' position was changed from hourly pay to a salary of $80,000 because, the sheriff argued, he is doing two jobs. One job is his supervisory police work and the other is managing the department's apparently complex and intricate computer system. As to why the system, created and maintained solely by Meyers is complicated, Conley told commissioners. "That answer would require detailed development. I would be happy to sit down with you and discuss the ramifications but I can tell you it has to do with the interoperability between several systems – radio, police telecommunications systems and each individual communication from each town we service…There is a lot to it," said Conley.

Conley maintains that Meyers averaged 50 to 70 hours in overtime per month last year maintaining the system, including redundant backup, and troubleshooting when the system had problems. Conley said Meyers is likely putting in even more hours since he was moved into a salary position. If Meyers does retire, Conley said he does not intend on keeping the dual position but will rather separate the Captain and the IT positions. He said the position was uniquely tailored to Meyers' skillset.

Currently, the nursing home, jail, and administration computer systems are under maintenance contract with Cybertron. During budget season, the delegation was sold on the belief that contracting with Cybertron would likely cost more than moving Meyers into a salary position Representatives from Cybertron did attend a commissioner's meeting and they gave a ballpark cost of the contract based solely on conversations with Meyers as they had not been permitted to thoroughly study the system and give an accurate estimate.

Last week, Conley said he has heard good things about Cybertron and will look at contracting with that company and into other possibilities for future maintenance of his department's computer system if Meyers retires. As for the possible vacated captain position, Conley said a promotion will likely be made from existing staff to fill that slot.

Former commissioner Chip Albee cautioned the current commissioners and said he hopes that as Meyers works towards retirement that some of his time is spent training an employee or working with a contractor who will take over the computer system care when he's gone. "The Meyers IT paradigm created over the years has a lot of downsides, primarily he's the creator of the system and now he's leaving. I think it would be a disservice to the county if you didn't allocate his time before he leaves to train others – employee or Cybertron. I hope we aren't creating a means for Meyers to leave and be obligated to contract with him," said Albee.

On another note, Commissioner David Sorensen asked Conley about electric remote car starters that he purchased for two of the police cruisers, a questions first brought forward by NH Rep. David Babson. Conley had told the commissioners previously these were purchased for security reasons. Conley appeared caught off guard by the question and spoke of his discontent at not being allowed to prepare in advance of the meeting.

"I didn't know what the reason was I was coming to this meeting for. I cancelled a training that was scheduled several months ago to be here because I was put on a public notice agenda. I will have questions for you after. If you have a question about security devices for vehicles I will be glad to give you a full complete explanation of that in writing but to be brought in here at 10:15 and said 'what's the nature of security?' I need a certain amount of preparation for this. If you have a question I will find out and get back to you on that. I would like to leave that question as a question right now and I will give you a full and complete answer," said Conley.

Later in the meeting, however, Babson asked about the remote car starters and Conley gave a brief but informational response. "They will remotely start the car. We call a deputy at 4 a.m.… to go from Ossipee to Chatham. He can start the car. This cuts down on response time," said Conley.

The car starters are also car stoppers, he explained. If the officer is at an accident scene and far away from his running cruiser or is outside the cruiser while an inmate is in the backseat and the car is running, the system will automatically shut the car off if someone tries to steal it or otherwise mess with the running car.

Ed Comeau of Tuftonboro continues to videotape county commission and delegation meetings. The meetings can be viewed in their entirety at www.governmentoversite.com.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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