December 16, 2018
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Brewer brings back councilors, passes 2 ordinance changes

Nick McCrea | BDN
Nick McCrea | BDN
Brewer candidates, supporters and city officials await the results of the 2015 general election at the Brewer Auditorium on Tuesday. Incumbents Matthew Vachon and Jerry Goss won seats on the city council, while Kevin Forrest, Tammy Smith and Ashley Blanchard made it onto the school committee.

BREWER, Maine — Voters returned two incumbent Brewer city councilors for new terms and sent two newcomers to the school committee at the polls on Tuesday.

Jerry Goss, a two-time former mayor and former Brewer High School principal, and Matthew Vachon, a carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and the city’s current mayor, will return to Brewer City Council for another three years.

“I’m very pleased,” Goss said after results were announced inside the Brewer Auditorium shortly before 9 p.m. “I think the message here was that Brewer citizens like the way things are going.”

On the school committee, voters re-elected Chairman Kevin Forrest for another term, but also brought in Tammy Smith, a freelance court reporter with four children in the Brewer school system, who drew 672 votes, the most of any candidate for the school board. She beat out incumbent Dani O’Halloran and two other candidates for the three-year seat.

Voters also filled a vacant one-year seat on the school board that former member Julie Milan vacated when she resigned from the committee to move out of the district. Ashley Blanchard beat out Michael Friel for that post.

Brewer also approved a pair of ordinance changes. The first eliminates the requirement that the school superintendent live in town. Those who wanted to do away with the residency requirement said it hindered searches and limited the pool of qualified candidates. Voters adopted the rule at the polls three years ago.

The residency requirement repeal passed 1,092-623, according to unofficial results.

The second ordinance change creates a provision in the charter that allows school committee members to be recalled. That passed 1,398-249. A recall option already exists for city councilors.

There has been some controversy surrounding the Brewer School Committee this year resulting from its decision not to renew ex-Superintendent Jay McIntire’s contract.

Brewer has since hired Cheri Towle to lead the school district. Towle had worked as principal of Wiscasset High School since May 2014. Before that, she spent three years as principal at Mount View High School in Thorndike.

Brewer residents have seen the residency and recall questions before. During elections in June, a significant majority of the 670 residents who cast ballots favored both ordinance changes, but the election turnout was too small, falling well short of the 1,261 — or 30 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election — needed to make a charter-changing vote valid. City officials brought the questions back for another try at an election that would see a larger turnout.

Unofficial results indicate 1,737 Brewer residents cast ballots. There are about 7,100 registered voters in Brewer, according to the city clerk.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.

 


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