NEWBURGH, Maine — Only one resident has stepped forward as a candidate for an unexpired selectman’s position to be filled in a special election next Wednesday.
The position opened up earlier this fall when former Selectman Michael Burns resigned, citing conflicts and frustration with his fellow selectmen, Steve Burgess and Craig Toothaker.
Claude Bolduc, 60, said Thursday that he decided to seek the position as a way to serve his community.
“I want to contribute to Newburgh the same way that previous selectmen have done,” Bolduc said in a telephone interview about an hour before the start of a candidate’s forum at the town office.
“I have some experience with municipal affairs so I think I have something to bring to the table,” he said.
Bolduc and his wife, Louise Chamberland, own Newburgh Associates, a consulting firm that helps municipalities with financial needs such as assessing, cash receivables and accounting.
Town finances became a source of frustration and anger among residents after a forensic auditor uncovered a nearly $200,000 embezzlement by Cindy Dunton, who was Newburgh’s deputy treasurer until she was fired by selectmen last March.
Since then, the town has put several new safeguards in place. In July, Dunton was convicted of embezzling and sentenced to to five years in prison with all but 20 months suspended.
“The town already has made some strides in the right direction,” Bolduc said. “I’d like to see the town move on.”
Bolduc also would like to play a role in reviving the community spirit in Newburgh. “I would like to see that come back,” he said.
Also on Wednesday, voters will consider three citizen-initiated referendum questions that aim to overturn articles passed last March.
The first item on the ballot would have the town go from having five selectmen back to three. Two selectmen will be elected to one-year terms during the March election.
In addition, voters again can opt to have a town manager instead of the selectmen-administrative assistant form of government adopted in last year’s vote.
Both articles approved last year don’t take effect until March. The vote in January on the two articles won’t go into effect until 2013.
The third article, if passed, would establish an ordinance for the recall of town officials. Because it is an ordinance, it would take effect immediately after the election, Town Manager Warren Hatch said last month.
In March, two new selectmen’s positions will be voted on, both one-year terms.
Toothaker’s seat, which is a three-year post, also will be on the ballot.
Burns was elected as the second selectman during the March elections, while Burgess and Toothaker were elected during a special election in April after the other two selectmen resigned.
In other local news, Interim Town Manager Warren Hatch said that the town has hired a part-time deputy clerk. Karen Marysdaughter, who was hired a month ago, works at the town office on Thursdays and Fridays.
The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the town office.