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6/18/2014 2:00:00 PM
Somerville Annual Election June 20

By Dominik Lobkowicz

Polls open Somerville's annual town meeting the afternoon and evening of Friday, June 20. Most candidates are unopposed incumbents, but voters will decide a contest between two candidates for third selectman and offer write-ins for town clerk.

Running for one-year terms are First Selectman Susan Greer, Tax Collector Sandra Dunlap, and Treasurer Gerry Kimball; Second Selectman Don Chase is running for a two-year term; and RSU 12 Board of Directors member Frank Hample is running for a three-year term.

No candidates filed to run for town clerk this year, nor have any write-in candidates come forward, according to Greer.

The seat is currently filled by interim Town Clerk Lynne Tallberg, who has agreed to stay in the position through roughly the first week in July, Greer said.

If no write-in candidates accept the position after the election, the selectmen will advertise for the seat and appoint someone to fill it for the remainder of the coming year, she said.

Three articles on the warrant for the open meeting consider changing the treasurer, tax collector, and town clerk positions to be appointed instead of elected until the provision is repealed or replaced at a future town meeting.

The selectmen feel the change would provide better service to the townspeople through reduced turnover, more job security for potential candidates for the positions, and lower training costs if untrained candidates were elected, according to the April edition of "What's Up in Somerville."

The one contested race in Somerville will be between Martin Hisler and Darlene Landry for the seat of third selectman. The seat is currently held by Carolyn Doyle, who is not running for re-election.

Multiple attempts to reach Hisler for an interview were made but were not responded to by press time.

Darlene Landry

Landry, a lifetime Somerville resident and long-time school board member, is hoping to address concerns common to most any town.

"The things in Somerville that people are concerned about are the same things they've been concerned about my whole life that I've lived here: education, the taxes, and the roads," Landry said.

"Nobody likes to pay taxes, but people will pay taxes if they're divided equitably," Landry said. "You're always going to grumble about them. I think having some reassessing done, which they're in the process of now, and disposing of delinquent property that taxes aren't being paid on, I think that's step in the right direction."

The current board has "built the foundation and I'd just like to see them continue down that path," she said.

Landry said she has seen a lot of transparency in town business in recent years, something she feels was lacking in the past.

"I see good things happening. I just want to be a part of that," she said.

Landry believes retirees have carried the town of Somerville, both through paying property taxes and by being involved, and would like to see more responsibility and involvement from of the town's younger residents and intends to build some rapport with them.

"We need to instill those beliefs and commitment to the younger generations," she said.

Landry hopes all of the town can be brought back together through community projects such as beautification.

"Working together we can accomplish everything. Pulling apart, we accomplish nothing," she said.

Landry's professional experience includes working at Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center as a nursing assistant, O'Connor's GMC, Family Planning Association of Maine, and as tax collector and treasurer for the town.

She served several terms on the Somerville School Board - nine years as chairman, served on the board of the Sand Hill Cemetery Association, and been involved with Somerville Day, among other community organizations.

"I've done public service all along; I've always been involved in things within the town," Landry said.

"It's important to get out and vote," Landry said. "Even if I'm not the candidate you elect to office, please get out and vote."

For more information on Somerville's proposed municipal budget and a new subdivision ordinance, see this article.

Somerville's annual open town meeting will begin with elections from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 20 at the town office on Sand Hill Road and reconvene with the open meeting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 21 in the gym at the former Somerville School at 665 Patricktown Road.

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