Political neophyte Jack Petropoulos won the lone open seat on the Groton Board of Selectmen by a significant margin Tuesday evening. In the town’s only contested race, Petropoulos polled 738 votes according to preliminary results released by Town Clerk Mike Bouchard; he picked up one vote in the final official count, released Wednesday afternoon, to reach 739. Political veteran and GOP fixture former state representative Bob Hargraves attracted 554 supporters’ ballots. Newcomer Erich Garger finished a distant third with 59 votes. Neither Hargraves’s nor Garger’s totals changed in the final tally. Nineteen percent of the town’s 7322 registered voters — 1389 — turned out.
Petropoulos benefited from his chairmanship of the Central Fire Station Building Committee, resuscitating a project that had failed twice at different Town Meetings to win approval of a site. His steering of the committee to a successful site choice at this spring’s town meeting and funding for a design was marked by an open approach to meetings and process that featured an unaccustomed willingness to sharing information from Town Hall with residents and media. The committee’s site research was marked by a completeness that answered many questions asked by residents during earlier campaigns to purchase a fire station site — before they were asked. He stated in his answer to a question on The Groton Line’s candidate questionnaire that his most important personal quality was “listening.” Petropoulos is a program manager for IBM, and has experience on other town’s open space planning committee and conservation commission.
Unless the Board of Selectmen holds an emergency meeting, Petropoulos will be sworn in at the next regularly scheduled BoS meeting on June 4. If the board follows its usual policy and reorganizes around its new member, a new chairperson, vice chair, and clerk will be elected to replace current chairwoman Anna Eliot, retiring member and vice chair Fran Dillon, and clerk Peter Cunningham.
All other seats except one on the Park Commission were uncontested. The Park Commission seat, for a three-year term attracted a significant number of write in votes, too many to be tallied quickly for the preliminary results. Bouchard released the final results Wednesday afternoon, showing that the Park Commission seat will be filled by Robert (Steve) Hall, who attracted 25 write-in ballots. Brendan Mahoney came in second, with 14. Both were outnumbered by the combined total of other people’s names, which totaled 86.