HARTFORD — While the Board of Selectmen might be the only all-female one in the state, the three women said they haven’t given the notion much thought as they fulfill the everyday business of running the small town of about 1,100 residents.

“Until you mentioned it, I didn’t realize we were (possibly the only all-female board of selectmen in Maine),” Selectman Peg Poskus said at the Town Office recently.

Maine is required to keep a record of town clerks, but not members of each town’s Board of Selectmen, according to Melissa Packard of the state’s Bureau of Corporation, Elections and Commissions.

Eric Conrad of Maine Municipal Association said his organization doesn’t have any hard numbers on whether Hartford is unique, either.

“I can’t tell you that that’s unprecedented. It’s certainly unusual,” he said. “I think it’s probably happened before. There are some towns out there that only have a three-person board but I can’t cite one.”

The other two selectmen, Chairwoman Lee Holman and Cathy Lowe, were mildly intrigued by the idea of being the state’s only all-female board of selectmen.

“I think it’s interesting to note, if we were all men … it would be no big deal,” Holman said. “It does mean something like, ‘we’ve come a long way, baby,’ but not that far. This is not the kind of job where gender comes into it as far as I can tell,” she said.

Holman will mark 12 years on the board at town meeting in June.

“I feel really strongly if I can be a mechanic and a merchant seaman, I can really be a selectman, not to mention that’s how it’s defined by state statue,” she said.

Poskus and Lowe, who will finish their first year on the board at town meeting, agreed they’re independent women who don’t need any special gender titles.

“I am who I am. I’ve managed on my own for most of my life,” said Poskus, who moved back to Maine in 2000 after retiring from selling school furniture in Connecticut and Long Island for years. She built her house in Hartford and another in South Paris with the help of her husband. “Some of us have to get out and see what the rest of the world is like and we have to come back.”

Holman agreed with her colleagues, adding she’s been consistent about using the term select board.

“I don’t like the word selectperson; it sounds too contrived,” she said.

All three women decided to run for the board for different reasons. Holman, who is a homesteader, said she’s lived in Hartford since 1975 and it was time for her to give something back to the town.

Lowe, who works at Catalyst Paper in Rumford, said she wanted to see what being a selectman was all about, and refers to herself and Poskus as “greenhorns.”

Poskus said she was approached by several people who told her she would be good as a selectman after Selectman Zoe Cowett moved away suddenly, leaving an opening on the board.

Holman recalled a time when Lowe was first elected and a man who regularly attends the board’s meetings made a comment about the three women.

“A gentleman said, ‘There’s too much estrogen in the room,’ and we’re all women of a certain age, so that’s not an issue,” she said, laughing.

And just because they’re all women, doesn’t mean they always see eye to eye, Lowe said.

“I don’t think we always agree on absolutely everything,” she said. “We really don’t have any split votes. It’s not because we all think the same way, but we talk it out until we reach a consensus.”

Holman said she and her colleagues are all about making common-sense decisions and will table an issue, if necessary, to get more information.

“Unless you have a structure fire, imminent childbirth or loss of blood, it’s not an emergency,” she said. “If we all do our homework, we can table a lot less stuff.”

Case in point is the security camera budgeted for the salt shed. Holman said the board doesn’t have all the information on what’s the best system for the town and why it’s necessary.

“Town of Hartford residents are welcome to go up and get a bucket of sand for any given storm,” she said. “The problem we’ve been having is trucks coming in and getting truckloads.”

“We’re not sure they’re all from our town,” Poskus said.

Holman predicted there will be a camera at the salt shed by next year.

The Board of Selectmen meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month at the Town Office, 1196 Main St.

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