HOULTON, Maine – A former town councilor who failed in a previous bid to secure a seat on the SAD 29 school board was appointed to a seat on Monday evening to fill a vacancy caused by a resignation.
During a brief council meeting Monday evening, councilors chose Paul Cleary, a Houlton resident and former councilor, over three other candidates for the seat. Cleary, who tried unsuccessfully to win a seat on the board in 2009, has served several terms on the council, including time as chairman.
Councilors needed to appoint a new member to replace Lisa Harvey, who resigned the seat after she moved to another town in the district and could no longer represent Houlton on the board. The district consists of the towns of Houlton, Littleton, Monticello and Hammond.
In addition to Cleary, Houlton residents John Tribou, Carl Lord Jr. and Dr. Donald Woods also requested to be appointed. Woods, a retired dentist, is a past school board member and former chairman. Tribou, a bank branch manager, has never served on a municipal or school board. Lord is a semiretired former councilor who also has sat on other municipal boards.
Cleary and Lord were not at the meeting, but submitted letters of intention. Woods told the board that he had enjoyed his time on the school board and was still interested in serving the district.
Tribou said that he was well-connected to the community through various clubs and organizations, had lived in Houlton for 20 years and wanted to see the community prosper.
In his letter, Cleary pointed to his past experience as a public servant and his love for the community.
Cleary was the first candidate nominated and the only one considered by the council.
Councilor John Fitzpatrick nominated Cleary, stating that he believed he had done a good job as a councilor and that he had volunteered to help the school board and other district officials draft a regionalization plan. Cleary also is a coach in the district.
Fellow councilors quickly approved the nomination.
Cleary will serve until the next regular election in November.
In other business, councilors held the first reading of an ordinance outlining where medical marijuana dispensaries could be allowed in the community.
The ordinance also will deal with where marijuana can be cultivated in the community. The proposal would make changes to the town’s ordinances and codes if it is approved during a public hearing.
Maine law only allows for one dispensary in Aroostook County thus far, and Safe Alternatives has been approved to establish it in Frenchville. While the business has begun growing marijuana in the community, it is still working on municipal approval for the dispensary.
Houlton meanwhile wants to be ready for any changes in case more dispensaries or growing facilities are authorized in The County.
The local ordinance calls for such dispensaries to be located in the town’s airport and industrial zones.
A public hearing on the matter will be held March 14.