PARIS — The Board of Selectmen was brought back to full strength Tuesday after a special election filled two openings.
Ted Kurtz was elected unopposed to serve the remainder of former Chairman David Ivey’s term, which expires in June. Kurtz, an attorney with no prior service in municipal government, received 416 votes. The race also included 36 write-in votes. Kurtz intends to run for re-election at the end of the term.
“I’m going to have to learn the ropes,” he said. “The system’s been broken. There’s no question. I think that it’s healing.”
Jean Smart, a retired schoolteacher who has been serving on the Planning Board, received 323 votes to beat Ken West. The two were running to take over the remainder of former vice-chair Troy Ripley’s term, which runs until 2012. West, a retired Maine Machine Products worker who does accounting work at his wife’s income tax business and formerly served one year as a selectman, received 118 votes. There were also 11 write-in votes cast for the position.
“I appreciate all the people who came out to vote, and I especially appreciate all the votes cast for me,” Smart said. “I’m going to do my best to correct some of the wrongs that have happened over the past nine months.”
Smart said she felt that the board needs to establish a level of trust with residents, and that the town budget and former town manager Sharon Jackson’s appeal of her termination are some of the more important issues facing the town.
A total of 319 votes were cast at the polls, with another 123 votes submitted by absentee ballot.
The seats were vacated last month after two recall elections. Ivey was removed in a 651-69 vote. Ripley resigned prior to his election, and was also recalled in absentia in a 628-102 decision.
Since the elections, the board has operated with only Glover and Herrick present due to another selectman, Glen Young, being on vacation. While a quorum on a five-person board is three, attorney Rob Crawford advised selectmen last month that legislative changes allowed the board to operate if the majority of the remaining three selectmen agreed on an issue.
Glover and Herrick have conducted some town business since the recall, including a joint decision with the Norway selectmen to remove all of their appointed members from the Norway-Paris Solid Waste board of directors. The regular Paris selectmen’s meeting was delayed to Thursday to allow the board to meet with full membership.