A tax collector in a New Hampshire town has been babysitting her granddaughter while on the job and is defending herself after someone took their complaints to the local newspaper.
“She’s my grand-baby and she means the world to me,” said Atkinson Tax Collector Debra DeSimone.
DeSimone had her granddaughter in the back of her white SUV when she met with necn Thursday.
“As you can tell, she’s right behind me and there are no noises,” DeSimone said. “She’s not asleep, she’s playing with a toy.”
The seven-month-old comes to work with her at the Atkinson New Hampshire Town Hall two times a week for four hours a day.
“This is what a small town is all about,” DeSimone said.
When we asked whether anyone has complained, she said, “I have never had anyone come to me and say, ‘nope, don’t take her here.’”
So DeSimone was shocked to hear some town leaders are upset about it. In a statement to necn, Selectman Jason Grosky wrote, “I cannot believe anyone would think it is ok to turn a public office, whether elected or not, into a personal day care.”
Some nearby residents agree.
“I just don’t think children belong in workplace,” said a woman who identified herself as “Lisa.”
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to bring a baby to work especially to a town office,” said Plaistow resident Vicki Callini.
DeSimone has been a tax collector in the small town for 18 years. She‘s also a State Representative.
“I have taken both of my grandkids to the State House to conduct business,” she said.
DeSimone clearly doesn’t see any problem with caring for her granddaughter at work.
“My work doesn’t suffer,” she said. “My favorite president, John F Kennedy, there are pictures of young Jonathon sitting in the Oval Office.”
There are no laws on the books that preventing town employees from bringing children to work. But the town administrator says the issue will be discussed at the next selectman’s meeting in January.