An early look at June’s ballot

Phillip Blaisdell and Nancy Powell count ballot votes for Article 31, involving the proposed override, on night two of Town Meeting. Photo by Ryan Vermette

The deadline for candidates to pull papers to appear on the ballot at the town’s annual election this June has officially come and gone. While potential candidates have another two weeks to withdraw their names, the decisions before voters next month have become increasingly clear.

The ballot is headlined by contested races for both Select Board and School Committee, arguably the two most powerful municipal boards in town. On the Select Board, all five incumbents — Chair Moses Grader, Jackie Belf-Becker, Jim Nye, Erin Noonan, and Alexa Singer — pulled papers to seek another one-year term, while former member Bret Murray is seeking another term on the board. Murray also ran for Select Board in 2022, and was defeated by all five current members.

The race for School Committee is even tighter.

Five candidates will compete for two seats on the committee, which is responsible for overseeing the town’s public schools. The seats are occupied by incumbent Sarah Gold, who is running for re-election, and Tom Mathers, who was appointed to fill the seat of former Vice Chair Emily Barron after she resigned because of a conflict of interest in October. Mathers declined to run for reelection. Gold faces stiff competition to retain her seat, with Karen Tal-Makhluf, Brian Scott Ota, Paul Baker, and Jennifer Schaeffner also in the race. Ota is a former principal of the Glover School, Baker is the head of school at the Devereux School and was nearly appointed to fill Barron’s seat in January, and Schaeffner was a member of the committee before she lost her seat to Barron.

But, Select Board and School Committee are far from the only contested races on this year’s ballot.

On the Planning Board, three candidates are in the race for two seats. Incumbent Robert Schaeffner is seeking re-election, while James Full and Marc Liebman are both seeking terms on the board.

The race for a seat on the Board of Health features three candidates, none of whom are incumbents. Thomas McMahon, Thomas A. Massaro, and David Belf-Becker are all vying for a seat on the board. Notably, Chair Todd Belf-Becker’s name does not appear on the ballot, meaning the longtime member is stepping aside when his term expires this year.

Races for library trustee, light commissioner, and Recreation & Parks Commission are similarly tight.

Incumbent Library Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Amberik is seeking reelection to one of two open seats on the board. To do so, he will have to fend off either Katherine Barker or Rose Ann Wheeler McCarthy, both of whom are in the race.

The Municipal Light Commission features two contested races for two seats. Incumbent Lisa Wolf is seeking re-election to the board, while Walter Homan, who narrowly lost a seat on the commission in last year’s election, has also joined the race.

Voters will also elect a commissioner to complete a one-year unexpired term that has been filled by Adam Smith since September. Smith is seeking re-election, and will face Nathanael Burke next month.

On the Recreation & Parks Commission, all five incumbents — Linda Rice-Collins, Matthew Martin, Derek Norcross, Karen Ernst, and Rossanna Ferrante, are seeking reelection to one-year terms. They will face challenges from Shelly Bedrosian and Larry Simpson.

The remainder of the races set to appear on the ballot this June are uncontested. Incumbent Moderator Jack Attridge is seeking a second one-year term, John Kelley is seeking another term as town assessor, and Pam Peterson is seeking another term on the Cemetery Commission.

Terri Tauro is the lone candidate to fill a two-year unexpired term on the Housing Authority, and incumbents Thomas Carroll and Barton Hyde are the only candidates in the race for two seats on the Water & Sewer Commission.

In addition to the bevy of contested races, voters will make a final determination on the fate of the $2.47 million override that cleared Town Meeting this week. (HOLD FOR RESULT)