NEW GLOUCESTER — Voters on Tuesday will go to the polls to name a winner in a two-candidate race for a three-year term on the New Gloucester Board of Selectmen.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the New Gloucester Fire Station at 611 Lewiston Road.

The candidates, Laura Jane Sturgis and Pamela Slye, met with the public at a candidates forum on Wednesday that was moderated by Beverly Cadigan, a New Gloucester resident.

Both women strongly support the advent of the public water supply for Upper Gloucester and favor slow, careful economic growth for small business throughout the community.

Laura Jane Sturgis

Laura Jane Sturgis said, “I would like to represent all the people of New Gloucester and try to guide the town to a path of cooperation and respect among the citizens of the town.

“I am concerned with the level of mistrust in town to selectmen. I would like to work with the people. I think we all love the town and I have the ability to see both sides of an issue. I’d like to bring the board to consensus.”

“The role of the selectmen,” Sturgis said, “is to be responsible for the future of the town and assure that financial stability is maintained. The board needs to make well-researched decisions for the town.”

Executive sessions in meetings should be used “rarely,” Sturgis said. The closed session protects employees undergoing personnel and legal negotiations, among other things.

“We are responsible to the taxpayers who are entitled to an open session,” she said.

The public has faulted the board in recent months as being a divided 3-2 board in voting.

Sturgis said she would earnestly foster an interpersonal relationship with the board by trying to come up with ways to rebuild confidence.

A native of Houlton, she has lived in New Gloucester for 47 years since moving to town as a young bride. She and her husband, Guy, now deceased, raised two children.

She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and in business administration from the University of Maine and a master’s degree in secondary education.

A retired English teacher at Edward Little High School, Sturgis was the president for three terms of the Auburn Teachers’ Association and served on the Government Relations Committee for the Maine Education Association.

Her son, Matthew, is a former New Gloucester selectman and is currently chairman of the Gray Town Council.

Pamela Slye

Pamela Slye is seeking a second term on the New Gloucester Board of Selectmen. She unsuccessfully sought the post several years ago, but continues to serve on appointed committees.

A native of Dallas, Texas, she and her husband have lived in New Gloucester for 20 years. She has been a member of the town’s Budget Committee, Public Safety Committee and recently the selectmen-appointed ad hoc Recall Committee.

“I am concerned about the 3-2 (board voting) attitude. If you look at my record during my term on the board, I didn’t do that. I felt like I was the middle person,” Slye said.

She said the board needs to take the recommendations of the town manager seriously, stating that the board employs the town manager and the board has 4,500 bosses (the residents of the town).

Slye said the executive sessions held by the board raise concerns about what is “excessive.” She said, in some cases, (the closed session) is a safe place where the board can sort out issues and talk openly before making decisions. “I don’t think it’s put out there to hide anything. I don’t know what ‘excessive’ means.”

Slye said improving communication with townspeople includes education and a challenge for people to think. She welcomes phone calls on issues from the public.

To improve the public’s perception of the board, Slye supports a code of conduct practiced by the public and elected officials to make a safe, respectful environment for all. “I can bridge the gap,” she said. “I park my politics at the door. I don’t take it to church, business or work.”

Slye and her husband, Brad, raised one daughter who is going to college. Slye is a member of the Masonic body, the Shriners and Eastern Star.

She has an associate degree and has worked as a pastry chef for many years.

She works for the State of Maine Commission of Indigent and Legal Services, interviewing defendants.

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