Feb 172014

The 2014 spring town election season is starting slowly — only thirteen people have pulled nominating petitions from the Town Clerk’s office in the two weeks since papers became available on February 3rd. Fourteen public offices will be decided in the May 20th election.

The only contested races so far are for two seats on the Board of Selectmen currently held by Peter Cunningham and Anna Eliot. Both intend to run for another term. They are being challenged by Barry Pease of Island Pond Road and Shane Grant of Main Street, both political novices.

Jon Sjoberg’s term on the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee is expiring, and he is “not inclined to run for re-election, but that may change,” he said. Somewhat surprisingly, given the high level of citizen interest in the school system’s FY 2015 budget crisis and the accounting error in the two previous years budgets that precipitated an anticipated $2.5M shortfall, no one has signed out nominating papers for the seat.

On the Board of Health, Jason Weber is seeking another three-year term. Sewer Commissioner Thomas Orcutt is seeking another three-year term. On the Commission of Trust Funds, incumbent Thomas Hartnett is seeking another three-year term. Groton Housing Authority incumbent Brooks Lyman is seeking re-election to another five-year term, and recent appointee Katharyn Dawson is seeking her first elective term. Water Commissioner James Gmeiner has taken out papers to seek another three-year term.

Three seats on the Park Commission are available. Jonathan Strauss, the current chairman, has not yet pulled nominating papers for re-election, but appointee Gineane Haberlin is seeking election to her first term. She wrote in an email, “I was appointed to Parks in July of 2013 to fill a vacancy. I have been a member of the Commission and am also the current Chair. The appointment by the Selectmen was with the contingency that I run to either fill the rest of the term (1 year) or choose to take a 3 year seat. Obviously I chose the 3 year seat. ” Matthew Frary, a newcomer, has also taken out papers for a three-year term. That seems to leave a single one-year seat available, for which no one has taken out papers.

The Electric Light Commission has an opening, the seat currently held by Chris Christie. He has not taken out nominating papers, and has said that me may not run again. But Bruce Easom, who currently sits on the Zoning Board of Appeals, Community Preservation Committee, Conservation Commission, and Williams Barn Committee, has taken out a nominating petition for the post. And Olin Lathrop, currently on the Trails Committee, has also taken out a nominating petition.

On the Planning Board, the three-year terms currently held by Scott Wilson and Jason Parent are expiring; neither has taken out nominating petitions yet, nor has anyone else.

Two seats on the Board of Trustees of the Groton Public Library are to be filled. They are currently held by Susan Hughes and John Kelly; neither of them nor anyone else has taken out nominating petitions.

On the Board of Assessors, the three-year term held by Garrett Boles is up; again, neither he nor anyone else taken out a nominating petition yet.

Nomination papers can be filled out at the Town Clerk’s office through March 28th. The petitions, with the signatures of 49 locally registered voters need to be filed with the clerk’s office by the close of business, 5 p.m., on April 1, 2014.