Hampden council unanimously approves Hughes as mayor

Posted Jan. 07, 2013, at 10:34 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 07, 2013, at 11:08 p.m.

HAMPDEN, Maine — After three Hampden town councilors were sworn in, they joined with the other three to unanimously approve a second consecutive term as mayor for Janet Hughes at Monday night’s council meeting.

Hughes, who is entering her fifth year as a town councilor and now her third as mayor, said Hampden faces a few key concerns and projects in the coming months, including ordinances, the ongoing effort to find appropriate uses for the old Hampden Academy facility and financial issues.

“I think this year will be zoning work, or should I say rework?” Hughes said. “We also have some redevelopment choices and decisions to make for the old Hampden Academy, and of course, like every other council, we’ll have to tackle taxes and the budget.”

The town council voted 6-0 to confirm Hughes, and also voted unanimously to approve the choice of Councilor Tom Brann as deputy mayor. This is Brann’s first time as deputy mayor, a position the council created five years ago to serve in the mayor’s absence. Previously, former councilor Andre Cushing served in that position.

“We had problems a few years ago when the mayor was one of the councilors who couldn’t make it, so this kind of streamlined things in terms of knowing who runs the meetings in their absence,” Brann explained.

Brann agreed with Hughes on what the primary issues are that await this current council, which includes him, Hughes, Shelby Wright, new councilors Bill Shakespeare and Carol Duprey, and Jean Lawlis.

“We also finally have federal approval of the land exchange deal between the town and Hamlin’s Marina, which means we can now get on with specific plans for the development of our marina,” Brann said.

As for the new council, Hughes and Brann said they are optimistic and looking forward to getting down to business.

“I think it’s very well-rounded. It’s a good representation of the people of Hampden and the various voting blocks,” Hughes said.

The council will get another new member shortly, as the deadline to file nomination papers to run for the spot vacated by Jeremy Williams — who did so last month due to unavoidable schedule conflicts with his job at Bangor Hydro Electric Company — is at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Town Manager Sue Lessard said only one person has filed their papers so far. That is David Ryder, a former member of the citizens comprehensive plan committee who ran for a seat last fall and fell just 233 votes short.

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