BUCKFIELD — Two of the three seats on the Buckfield Board of Selectmen are available this election and there are four people running for them.
Del Dunn and Tina Brooks are seeking a three-year term for the seat vacated by outgoing Chairman Warren Wright.
Former selectboard chairs Cheryl Coffman and Martha Catevenis are vying for the remaining two-year term for outgoing Selectman Mike Iveson. Since Iveson’s resignation came after nomination papers were due, an abbreviated period was held for gathering signatures. A special election for Iveson’s seat will be held at the same time as the regular election.
Running unopposed for director on the Regional School Unit 10 board is incumbent Jerry Wiley for a three-year term.
Each candidate for a contested seat was asked to provide some biographical information about themselves and to respond to three questions:
Why are you running for the Board of Selectmen?
What do you feel are the most important issues facing the town?
What do you hope to accomplish as selectman?
Voters will elect two candidates when they head to the polls on Tuesday, June 13. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Office, 34 Turner St.
Dunn is a veteran and banking specialist. One of the reasons he wants to run is the changes he’s seen in town since he moved away two decades ago.
“When I left the small town of Buckfield some 23 years ago, it was a small, quaint, bustling town where the people all knew and helped each other like a huge family and neighbors – we were more like family than just acquaintances,” he said. “Upon my return, not much has changed except for the neighbors being family part. I want to get the community more involved in ‘their community’ and get the folks of this great little town more active and make this back into the town that I left.”
One of the most important issues facing Buckfield is finding a new town manager, according to Dunn. Current Town Manager Cindy Dunn resigned in March and her last day is Friday, June 30, which is when her contract expires.
Dunn also wants to bring small businesses back to Buckfield, “which would greatly improve the commerce for this community.”
“Where did Maine apple growers, the telephone company, and several other small businesses that brought jobs into this town go?” he wondered.
In being more business friendly, Dunn said he hoped “to make quick and sound decisions for people of this town and not hold up businesses.”
“I want to make this little town into a great business place for potential businesses, which would improve the amount of local jobs,” he added.
If elected, Dunn plans to listen to the people.
“I will take notice of the people’s opinions, wants, and desires of how this town should be run and the local laws that govern the town,” he said.
Brooks is an appraisal analyst in the banking industry and her three-year term on the Appeals Board expires at the end of the month.
She is running because she’s “a strong proponent of giving back to the community as a volunteer and contributor in whatever capacity needed.”
Brooks noted her expiring Appeals Board term and said, “I would like to expand my contributions in a larger capacity.”
“I have a strong background in finance, real estate and various board and volunteer memberships, which will compliment and promote the town’s ideals,” she added.
For Brooks, important issues facing the town include bringing more small businesses in, “while maintaining the rural charm of our community,” and garnering more volunteers from the community to serve on the town’s boards and committees.
If elected, Brooks wants to expand the town’s communications with residents through social media and other electronic venues. She would “promote more volunteerism and a greater sense of pride for our community.”
She would also “continue to support and promote fiscal responsibility.”
Brooks currently serves on the United Way Council and previously was the president and chair of the Leavitt Area High School (LAHS) Project Graduation, treasurer for LAHS booster clubs and was a loan executive with TD Bank for the United Way of Androscoggin County.
Coffman is a health care administrator and recently served a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen, with her last year as chair.
She’s running to help smooth things out for the town as it searches for a new town manager.
“I feel I have experience to assist with the current local transition to a new town manager and can be a calming force on the board in this turbulent time,” Coffman said.
As for important issues, she said, “taxes are always a driving issue to all residents in a community.”
“As a landowner I am cognizant of the real need for tax relief,” Coffman added. “I am someone who is open minded and willing to listen to all sides of issues. I am not partisan or focused on one ideology.”
If elected, she wants to “bring civility back to the selectboard and be a voice for reason in these challenging and changing times.” Coffman would ask her colleagues to focus on being a proactive board instead of a reactive one.
“It is time for some positive change,” she said.
Previously, Coffman was the secretary of the Planning Board, a liaison between the school district and Community Day Committee and helped formed the local cable channel. She also had an unsuccessful bid for the state Legislature in 2016.
Catevenis is a occupational health and safety consultant and most recently served on the selectboard as chair.
She decided to run for election again because she believes “as the town changes so should the selectboard.”
“With the resignation of the current town manager I believe it is time to take a serious look at how this town has been running,” Catevenis said. “The current selectboard is on the right road hiring a consultant to help determine what positions need attention and if we have been running the town as efficiently as we can.”
Every year the town struggles with “how the hard-working townspeople’s taxes are spent.”
“I will make sure they are getting what they pay for [through] highly effective administration,” she said.
Catevenis wants the selectboard to set goals and follow through.
“My goal is to have every decision made by board be a discussion first … a plan second … and adequate follow through,” she said. “This is the only way to assure the taxpayer is getting the best service.”