Last night was the first Board of Selectmen meeting since the surprise resignation of Chairperson Bonnie Phaneuf last week, and it looks like her chair won’t be filled for a while.
Selectman Bill Boland said the only way to add a member to the board mid-term is to hold a special election. Given that regular town elections are in May, Boland said holding a special election now “just doesn’t make sense.”
Boland said after the meeting that a special election would take at least six weeks to organize, and would cost taxpayers several thousand dollars.
“We’ll carry on with two as best as we can,” he said.
The two voted last night to make Boland the new chairman of the board, with fellow Selectman John Rooney vice-chair.
Boland said the biggest challenge will be if he and Rooney don’t agree on an issue. With only two votes, there is no tie-breaker. “We’ll try to work things out,” Boland said.
According to Boland, it’s the first time the town has been down a selectman for an extended period of time since the 1970’s when a selectman resigned mid-term after falling ill.
Both Boland and Rooney point to this situation as one reason for expanding the Board of Selectmen to five members. “Any time you have a committee of three, you’re at risk when one member can’t make it,” Boland said.
“Having more than three would be much more productive,” Rooney said.
So far, two candidates have pulled nomination papers to run for a seat on the Board of Selectmen in May. Candidates have until March 18 to pull papers for the May 9 election.