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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Write-in candidate to win Atkinson seat

From the Eagle Tribune,

Write-in candidate to win Atkinson seat
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Even though today's ballot shows two openings on the Conflict of Interest Committee, there is only one available seat.

But since there are no candidates, the two-year seat will go to whomever receives the most write-in votes.

Town Clerk Rose Cavalear said the mistake was caught after the ballot was printed, so the secretary of state's office told her the person with the most write-in votes will win.

Committee Chairman Richard Smith said he and Cavalear were mistaken because they thought David Hammond was up for re-election. Hammond's term will not end for another year, however. Jason Dubois decided not to seek re-election so he could spend more time with his family, Smith said.

Even though he has fielded a lot of questions about the lack of a candidate, Smith said he doesn't know why nobody wanted the job.

"I wouldn't even make a guess," said Smith, who has been chairman for three years.

If the election doesn't provide a candidate, Smith said the committee may appoint its own member. Normally, appointments are made by selectmen but Smith said his committee has the authority to appoint its own members.

Although the panel has not met very often in the past year, it received three petitions in the last month. The group only meets when a resident files a petition with the committee or to approve meeting minutes, Smith said.SClBThree residents recently filed petitions regarding Planning Board members possibly benefiting from warrant articles on today's ballot.

But Smith said the committee found there was no conflict of interest because the votes taken by the Planning Board were only to place articles on the ballot.

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