Blue Hill to put off replacing selectman who died unexpectedly

Posted Oct. 04, 2012, at 11:58 a.m.

BLUE HILL, Maine — Town officials here have decided not to appoint a replacement for Selectman Duane Gray, who died unexpectedly Sept. 16.

Selectmen Jim Schatz and John Bannister decided at a recent meeting that the town will elect a new selectman to the three-person board at its annual town meeting in April.

Schatz, who will serve as chairman, said Thursday the majority of the Board of Selectman’s workload is fulfilling the will of the town as expressed at the last annual meeting, so the directives are mostly decided.

He said he felt confident that he and Bannister would be able to get the work of Blue Hill done without facing the gridlock possible with a two-man board.

“If we had a motion, for example, and it were 1-1 it would fail,” he said. “But we’ve been working together for almost two decades,and we understand the responsibilities to the town.”

Bannister said leaving a selectman’s seat open after a death is not uncommon.

“All the towns around us have lost somebody in office in the past five or six years. They all have three-member boards, and they all followed this same protocol,” he said.

The decision leaves time for people interested in running for the Board of Selectmen to consider their options and prepare for the town meeting.

The town will move ahead with replacing Deputy Town Clerk Janet Torrey, who also died unexpectedly in September.

“We put an ad in the paper, it’s now in the second week, and we’ve got a number of people who have applied,” Schatz said. “Nobody can replace her, but we understand we’ve got to fill that position quickly.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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