FARMINGTON — Three candidates are seeking two seats on the Board of Selectmen in Monday’s elections.

The polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 24 at the Community Center. The terms are for three years.

Selectman Dennis Pike, 75, said he hopes to continue his work on the board.

“It’s a chance to give back, but I really enjoy it,” he said of his years served.

A native of Farmington, Pike completed 47 years in law enforcement in November 2013. He’s been a town employee for several of those years, starting as a patrol officer with the Police Department in 1966, he said.

The needs of the Fire Department are a “critical issue that needs to be explored,” Pike said about the possibility of regionalizing local departments.

Pike said a meeting is planned April 30 for firefighters and selectmen from area towns to discuss the current needs.

Other emergency departments have successfully combined efforts, such as NorthStar ambulance’s coverage of towns throughout the county. The Legislature has also given law enforcement the ability to go beyond their own jurisdictions to serve the public, he said.

Pike acknowledged that board members come to the table with philosophical differences and may disagree during the meeting.

“But once it’s over, there are still good friendships,” he said. “That’s the critical issue; it doesn’t go beyond the meeting.”

Making natural gas available to the area is an issue for the town to work on, he said. 

“It needs to be explored and supported,” he said.

Former Selectman Stephan Bunker, 64, also has a long history of service to the town.

“I have the advantage of decades of experience in municipal government as an employee, Budget Committee member, selectman and chair, and as past president of the Maine Municipal Association,” he said. “Although I continue to learn every day about this grand experiment we call government, my experience allows me to anticipate issues and resolve challenges.”

Since the last town meeting, Bunker was appointed to the Budget Committee, an alternate on the Planning Board and an associate member of the Conservation Commission. He was appointed to serve on the RSU 9 school board until this March election.

Bunker has served 35 years and continues as a member of Farmington Fire and Rescue.

“With towns dealing with tough financial times and fire departments struggling with declining membership, it’s time that selectmen and fire chiefs in our towns seriously consider the options,” he said. “In my travels around the country, especially the South and West, regional fire protection works.”

Taxpayers will need to consider the cost and benefit to proposed additional per diem staffing, he said. It’s something he has personally seen provide a quicker response to emergencies, he said.

While Bunker wants to give back to the community, he also sees an opportunity to offer a balance in approach and views to the board.

A newcomer to municipal service, Andrew “Andy” Buckland, 57, said he wants to become more involved. After 25 years as a resident, he wants “to help the town make sound management decisions as we move forward,” he said.

He brings a tireless work ethic, especially in regard “to gathering information on issues” so he can make informed decisions, he said.

“I also bring an open mind and an ability to listen to and work with others, the ability to make realistic decisions and a commitment to accept responsibility for my decisions,” he said.

Buckland has served on various committees in work for the state and school department.

He said he thinks regionalization of fire departments is something worth considering. While just learning about the issue, he realizes the need to balance cost savings with fire protection readiness, he said.

“I also feel it’s important to look to our firefighters for unique solutions to cost savings as they are closest to the challenges involved,” he said. “In addition, sharing expensive equipment is certainly an area to be explored.”

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Address: 350 Fairbanks Road

Occupation: Cooperative observer for National Weather Service; Franklin County Sheriff’s Department reserve officer.

Address: 404 Bailey Hill Road

Occupation: Retired from state service, works part time as a licensed funeral assistant and teaches advance 911 dispatcher courses nationwide for Priority Dispatch Corp. of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Address: 278 Maple Ave.

Occupation: Self-employed music business and teacher.


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