MECHANIC FALLS — Town Manager John Hawley’s day got off to a fast start Friday when Wayne Hackett approached him as he was crossing the Municipal Building parking lot a little after 7 a.m.

Hackett wanted to know why an article in the Sun Journal concerning next Tuesday’s town election said there was a “three-way race for two seats on the Town Council.”

“Wayne said it probably should have been four candidates and he should have been one of them,” Hawley said. “He wanted to know why he got left out.”

Once in the office, it didn’t take Hawley and Hackett long to get to the bottom of it: Hackett’s name wasn’t on the ballot, but, sure enough, there in the clerk’s office were Hackett’s nomination papers, proper as could be.

“We aren’t entirely sure how it happened,” Hawley said. “Clearly, it was human error, one of those things that happen.”

Hawley was relieved that Hackett had seen the newspaper article and spotted the omission when he did.

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Hackett, whose Mechanic Falls Auto Repair shop is next to the municipal complex, recalled what happened when he approached Hawley.

“You should have seen his face when I came up to him and said, ‘Did something happen that I didn’t get called about?’” Hackett said. “Total puzzlement; priceless, really.”

Hawley said new ballots, with the names of all four candidates for Town Council — Ollie Emery, Cathy Fifield, Roger Guptill and Wayne Hackett — were being prepared.

“They’ll be the old-fashioned kind you have to count by hand,” Hawley said. “It will take a little longer, but it will be all right.”

Hawley noted that 14 people had already cast absentee ballots and that they would be contacted so they could cast new ballots on the council election.

Candidate Hackett

Hackett, owner of Mechanic Falls Auto Repair and several downtown properties that he has rehabilitated, served three terms on the Town Council, from 1989 to 1998.

He said he is concerned about what is happening to the town’s tax base.

“I’ve been away from town business for a while, but I’d like to get digging into what can be done to lower expenditures and ways to find more revenues,” he said. “Nobody wants fewer services.”


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