July 13, 2020

Six positions up for grabs on Mount Desert committees> Ousted school official Juskewitch may run again

MOUNT DESERT — As the Jan. 16 deadline approaches, several residents have taken out papers to run for school board and Board of Selectmen positions, including Steve Juskewitch, a Hancock County assistant district attorney who was ousted from the school board six months ago.

According to Sally Merchant, assistant administrator of the Mount Desert Town Office, three spots on the school board will open this spring when the terms of Jason Lovejoy, Peter Aylen and George Peckham expire. Six residents have taken out papers for those positions: Vance O’Donnell, John Romano, Donald Gooding, Juskewitch, Jason Lovejoy and MaryAnn Radford. One two-year term and two three-year terms are open.

School board member Peckham, who was appointed in August to complete the first year of Juskewitch’s three-year term, has said he will not run for election to the two-year seat. Aylen also has said he will not seek re-election.

Juskewitch was elected to the board last March and recalled in late July after nearly 300 residents turned in signatures expressing a loss of confidence in his abilities on the board, triggering a special town meeting.

At that meeting, some Mount Desert residents said the Hancock County assistant district attorney caused “irretrievable damage” by allegedly treating teachers with contempt and disregarding well-accepted procedures of the board.

Juskewitch maintained that his actions were misunderstood and that his time on the board was productive, resulting in more students qualifying for special benefits. He said he represented a portion of Mount Desert that previously had no voice in school issues.

On the Board of Selectmen, two spots will open when the terms of John Butler and Robert Suminsby expire. Butler, who is chairman of the board, has not yet indicated whether he will run again, according to Town Clerk Kim Walker. Suminsby has taken out papers for the board, as has Richard Savage.

In another race, school district trustee Brian Pollard has taken out papers to run for the only three-year opening on the Union 98 School District board.

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