Eight vie for selectmen, school board in Poland


Poland – Five candidates are running for two seats on the Board of Selectmen and three are seeking two positions on the School Committee in Friday’s town election.

Lorrie Young is running unopposed in the race for library trustee.

Board of Selectmen

Mark Ferguson

Age: 35

Occupation: Storekeeper of the Village Kitchen

Political and community experience: None

Reason for running for office: “People in town are looking for a change.”

Immediate priorities if elected: “Serve with dignity, help guide Poland to a bright future and be as available as possible to the citizens.”

Leo Ferland Jr.

Age: 59

Occupation: Production control manager for Enterprise Foundry

Political experience and community service: Board of selectman for 16 years, budget committee for three years, 2005 town meeting moderator, Boy Scout Troop 125 for five years, troop committee chairman for five years, co-chairman of Poland Bicentennial Committee for five years, Sacred Heart Church finance committee for 13 years.

Reason for running: “I want to encourage communication between members of the Board of Selectmen and Poland’s other boards and committees.”

Immediate priorities if elected: “Reacquaint myself with the duties and responsibilities of a selectman, tax assessor and overseer of the poor.”

Paul Harrison

Age: 49

Occupation: Sergeant for Mechanic Falls Police Department (worked 12-plus years as a deputy for Poland)

Political experience and community service: Board member on the hiring committee for a Poland Community School resource officer, volunteer at Poland Community School’s bike rodeo, taught hunter safety courses and woodcarving class at Poland Community School, helped with fly-tying classes and fishing club at Poland Regional High School

Reason for running: “I want to help establish a town charter so that people can be treated fairly and will have some laws to help cut down on the passionate debates at the selectmen’s meetings.”

Immediate priorities if elected: “To help establish the charter, have thorough audits and meaningful evaluation of town employees. It’s hard for everyone to be treated the same when you don’t have rules or laws.”

Michael Merrill

Age: 45

Occupation: Mechanic for Poland Public Works Department

Political experience and community service: None

Reason for running: “I am dedicated to this town and plan to live here through retirement. I would like to take an active role in the management and growth of the town by representing the tax payers as a board member.”

Immediate priorities if elected: “Become acclimated to the process and begin working partnerships with the other selectmen.”

Erland Torrey

Age: 52

Occupation: Self-employed painter

Political and community experience: Board of Appeals for 14 years, Board of Selectmen for three years (two years as chairman)

Reason for running for office: “To serve this town to the best of my ability.”

Immediate priorities if elected: “Taxes, economic development and infrastructure improvements.”

School Committee

Mary Ella Jones

Age: 49

Occupation: Bookkeeping/administrative management for Jones Associates Inc.

Political experience and community service: Ricker Memorial Library Board of Trustees for two years, Poland Community School PTA president, Girl Scout leader for five years, enrichment coordinator, Odyssey of the Mind coach for three years

Reasons for running: “As a member of the school committee, I would continue my advocacy for children. I feel that my experience with these groups and my established relationships with school staff will be a strength I can bring to the school committee.”

Immediate priorities if elected: “I will need to do a lot of listening and catching up on the current issues. One issue I’m already aware of is the difficulty of transitioning to freshman year. This was discussed at the revisioning day and has come up at the high school parent advisory meetings. This is a good example of where the input of the students and the community is important, but needs to receive focus from a group such as the school committee.”

Ira Levine

Age: 49

Occupation: Associate professor at University of Maine and Lewiston-Auburn College

Political experience and community service: Poland School Committee for six years (chairman for four years), Union 29 school board for six years (chairman for one year), Poland Board of Selectmen for three years, Poland Planning Board for four years, Poland Board of Appeals for three years, Three-Town Committee of Nine to establish regional high school, Poland Regional High School Building Committee, Poland Youth League basketball coach and assistant baseball coach for three years

Reason for running for office: “I love being on the board and having the privilege to serve the town, the students and our community. I feel there is still much to be accomplished and my experience in budget, curriculum and leadership matters will assist the board in getting there.”

Immediate priorities if elected: “My priorities include invigorating the Union 29 efficiency committee to find real savings for tri-town group purchases; formulation of exploratory community committee to investigate year-round school calendar; and membership on superintendent search committee.”

Scott Sawyer

Age: 41

Occupation: Service manager at church office

Political experience and community service: None

Reasons for running: “To give back to a community I have been a part of for 20 years.”

Immediate priorities if elected: “To bring accountability to the school committee, to increase public awareness and involvement in the schools and to make the school committee more approachable.”