April 06, 2020

Houlton to fill variety of local posts Voters to elect councilors, school board members, decide referendum

HOULTON – Seats on the Town Council, the SAD 29 board and several other municipal boards are up for grabs and voters will decide who will fill them when they head to the polls next month.

During the Nov. 7 elections, residents will be asked to fill two open seats on the council.

Incumbents Paul J. Cleary and Philip Bernaiche both are hoping to retain their seats on the board, while challengers Elizabeth A. “Betty” Childers and Nancy P. Ketch are hoping to unseat them.

Experience in public service is on the resume of each of the four candidates.

Both Cleary and Bernaiche have served on the council -Bernaiche for 10 years, Cleary for six years.

Childers sat for eight years on the SAD 29 board, she said, serving as the chairwoman of the panel for five or six years, she said.

Ketch is currently a member of the Shiretown Development Corp. and has served on Houlton’s board of budget review.

Five candidates are vying for three seats on the SAD 29 board. Incumbents Glenn K. Miller, Brian E. McGuire and Bruce W. Clark are being challenged for the three-year positions by D. Scott White and Roger J. Brown.

Three is also a key number in the race for slots on the town’s board of budget review. Three candidates – Galen E. Wilde, Dorothy L. Donahue and Stanley L. Ginish – are looking to fill a trio of three-year terms on the panel.

Several residents also are running for seats on the Cary Library board of trustees.

Four – Iva L. Sussman, Leigh E. Cummings Jr., Frederick M. Ludwig and Gary J. Hagan – are running unopposed for seats of various terms on the board, while Susan M. Tortello and Forrest W. Barnes are squaring off to secure an open three-year slot.

There are two open seats on the Houlton Water Co. board of directors. Gary A. Severson, Gary J. Hagan and Susan M. Tortello are running for those seats.

A referendum question also will be included on the ballot, asking taxpayers to make a decision about the future of the annual stipend that councilors are paid to serve on the board.

Councilors are currently paid $500 a year to serve on the panel, while the chairman receives $600. On Nov. 7, voters will decide whether to raise the stipend from $500 to $1,000 for councilors and from $600 to $1,200 for the chairman.

At this point, panelists attend approximately 24 meetings a year, along with additional committee meetings.

Councilors now are paid roughly $20.83 for each meeting.

Although they have discussed the idea of a pay hike for future councilors several times, the board never took action on the matter.

The council stipend has risen and fallen in the past two decades. In 1980, councilors made $750, while the chairman made $50 more. The salary was slashed later that year, when it was lowered to $250.

If a salary change is approved, it would affect only future councilors.

Correction: An article in the State section Thursday, Oct. 19, about Houlton board positions on the Nov. 7 ballot requires clarification. Nancy P. Ketch is a past member of the Shiretown Development Corp. She is a current member of the Southern Aroostook Development Corp.

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