WILTON — Four candidates are vying for one of two open seats on the Board of Selectpersons and one school board director is running unopposed for re-election.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at the Town Office.

Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri and Regional School Unit 9 Director Cherieann Harrison are running unopposed for re-election.

Ruth Cushman, David Leavitt, Irving Faunce and Betty Shibles seek to fill the other seat on the board.

The candidates answered residents’ questions and shared their thoughts Monday during a candidate forum hosted by the Wilton Group.

•  Ruth Cushman said she has a strong history of experience in municipal government. She started as a selectman in Strong then went on to manage three towns, retiring as town manager of Jay after 12 years. She was also a certified code enforcement officer and assessor. 


“I’ve seen all aspects of municipal government,” she said.

Several people asked Cushman to run, she said, adding that she likes public service and has the time and energy for it.

“I really want to help the town go forward and prosper,” she said.

•  Irving Faunce is the administrator of Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison and with his wife, Jan Collins, owns Wilton Blueberry Farm.

Faunce moved to Wilton, Collins’ hometown, in 1994. His career has focused on services for the elderly, low-income and people with disabilities, especially those with brain injuries. He enjoys public service and has served as a selectman. He is currently on the Finance Committee.

“Wilton is in a really rare moment in time,” he said of new ideas for the downtown area and the Forster mill site. “It is time to get Wilton going.”


• David Leavitt is the support services manager for School Administrative District 54.

Except for four years in the service, Leavitt has always lived in the area. After serving for several years as RSU 9 director of support services, Leavitt shifted to the Skowhegan-area position in 2014.

Leavitt felt stirred when he read about town discussions on using tax funds to pay for the sewer plant renovation. He is opposed to it.

“It’s a slippery slope to go down,” he said.

When it appeared no one was running for the seat, he felt an obligation to step forward, he said.

• Betty Shibles, a retired teacher who grew up in Wilton, returned each summer to a family camp on the lake. She moved back to Wilton because the camp is where the family gathers, she said.


Shibles has served on the Ordinance, Downtown and Town Events committees and has worked with townspeople to form the Wilton Group. She has helped create events and decorations to attract people to Wilton.

Asked about problems such as drugs, high taxes, abandoned buildings and the effect on the town and county if Verso Paper in Jay should close, candidates responded with positive comments and reflections on the town.

“I think we know what we have to do. It is not quite that bad,” Cushman said. “I see more positives than negatives in this town.”

Cushman was in Jay when the Otis Mill closed.

All you can do is persevere, she said. Without Verso, the highest taxpayer in the county, Jay’s valuation would go down and every other town’s county taxes would increase, she said.

Cushman encouraged discussions to be held on what the town is doing right and what could be done better.


Leavitt said the board and municipal officers have done a good job of going after grants and need to continue that work to help with those issues.

“We need to keep looking at what we do and what is viable to keep doing if Verso closes down,” he said.

Shibles said the town needs to act, but it needs to be everyone. She also voiced concerns about abandoned buildings and how they do not attract people or business — “business that could keep taxes down,” she said.

Faunce said he was aware of the realities because Madison has dealt with its mill closure. The people came together to support each other and develop a sense of community, he said.

“The sense of community I feel here in Wilton is real,” he said.

Madison town officials held discussions for two years prior to the closing, he said. They chose to budget and plan.

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