The post of secretary of the town hall of Orange will remain elective

Published: 03/09/2022 16:35:18

Modified: 09/03/2022 16:34:45

ORANGE — Voters in Monday’s election overwhelmingly rejected the single ballot question, which would have converted the elected clerkship to an appointed position.

Seventy-seven residents opted for the change, compared to 140 who voted against. Fourteen people left the question blank on their ballot.

City clerk has always been an elected position in Orange, but some have expressed belief that the residency requirement is hampering the city’s ability to find a qualified person for the job. In addition, it is always possible that no Orange resident will apply for the position. A city clerk conducts local elections, issues licenses, certificates and notifications, and handles various other administrative responsibilities. Nancy Blackmer has been Clerk of Orange since 1999.

The topic had been discussed at several Selectboard meetings, with members and residents expressing their support or disapproval of the idea. A motion authorizing the change was passed at an annual town meeting, putting the issue on the ballot.

Blackmer has consistently declined to comment on the proposal because, as city clerk, she directs the election. Speaking on Tuesday, she said she must maintain her impartiality after the vote. However, she offered that “both (options) have their advantages.”

Other than the single question on the ballot, there were no contested races.

Patricia Lussier, the current Selectboard clerk, was the only candidate on the ballot for a three-year seat – the only one to win on the Selectboard. Longtime moderator Christopher Woodcock was also re-elected. James Gallagher and Randy Plante got three-year constable positions.

Patricia Pierson, chair of the Board of Health, was re-elected to her three-year seat, while Candace Cross and Sandra Johnson were re-elected to three-year positions as library trustees.

Blackmer said Katie Hunkler won a three-year spot on the Orange Elementary School Committee as a write-in candidate, but declined to take the job. Blackmer said Hunkler was only interested in a spot on the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District School Board. Jane Peirce, chair of the Selectboard, said her board will hold joint meetings with any boards or committees with vacancies and vote to appoint people to the vacant seats. There are two vacancies on the Primary School Committee.

Additionally, Malory Ellis won a three-year seat on the Orange Primary School Committee. She was the only name on the ballot for three available seats. Kimberly Scot won the one-year position on the committee, and Peter Cross and Sharon Gilmore were each re-elected to a pair of three-year positions on the Mahar committee.

Glen Harris edged out fellow write-in candidate Harold Veilleux, 17 to 15, for a position as cemetery commissioner, but Blackmer said on Tuesday she had not yet contacted him to determine whether he would take the job.

Carl Sauter was re-elected as Water Commissioner and Douglas McIntosh was re-elected to a veterans-only position on the Soldiers’ Memorial Trustees. Michelle LeBlanc was re-elected to a non-veteran trustee position, and Tracy Gaudet was re-elected to a five-year seat on the Housing Authority.

Of the city’s 5,502 registered voters, 231 went to the polls on Monday, a turnout of 4.2%.

Contact Domenic Poli at: [email protected] or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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