Hampden councilor resigns due to move; successor to be elected in November

Posted May 09, 2013, at 9:28 p.m.
Last modified May 10, 2013, at 6:45 a.m.

HAMPDEN, Maine — A member of the Hampden Town Council has tendered her resignation, effective May 6, due to an impending move out of town making her ineligible for public office there.

Councilor Shelby Wright is now a resident of Newburgh, Town Manager Susan Lessard said this week.

A community outreach coordinator, active member of the Maine Democratic Party, grant writer and community volunteer, Wright first was elected to the council in June 2011, when she won a race for the remainder of former council Chairman Matthew Arnett’s unexpired term. Arnett had stepped down earlier that year.

Wright was elected to a full three-year term in November of last year.

An election to fill the rest of her term will be conducted in November, Lessard said.

According to the town charter, if a council resignation occurs more than six months from the next regular election, which is in November, the town must hold an election, Lessard said.

However, if the resignation comes within six months of the next regular election, then choosing to hold a special election is up to the town council, she said.

“The council’s decision at this time is not to hold a special election but to fill this term as part of the regular election,” Lessard said. Among the factors in the council’s decision to hold off were that there is too little time to get the election onto the June 11 SAD 22 school budget referendum ballot. Also, it would take the town 60 days to hold a special election, which would mean voters would be back at the polls in July, by which time the budget process would be over.

Nominations for the November regular election will become available in August, she said.

“And the other thing that is important as well, is that regular elections have much larger voter turnout,” Lessard said. “More people will participate. And since this is an ‘at-large’ councilor, not a district councilor, the larger the turnout, the more representative it is.”

The council also accepted the resignation of Hampden Water District trustee Donald Darling, whose term does not expire until December 2016. He, too, is moving and will no longer be eligible for the post, and town councilors will appoint his successor, she said.

“They haven’t established a process for replacing him yet,” Lessard said. “What we did last time (when a trustee position opened up) was advertise for interested persons. Then the council did interviews and selected one.”

In other meeting action, the councilors:

— Authorized the use of $995 from the town’s reserve account for matching grants for the town’s half of the cost for a new radar gun for the police department. The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety is covering the other half.

— Agreed to contribute $200 toward the Reeds Brook Middle School Destination ImagiNation Team’s trip to the 2013 Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn. from May 21-25. The Hampden team, which consists of sixth and seventh graders, won a spot at the finals by winning the state competition at the University of Maine last month. The team is holding several fundraisers through June 2.

— Approved a liquor license for Anglers Restaurant, and renewed victualers licenses for Anglers and McLaughlin’s at the Marina.

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