MECHANIC FALLS  — Town councilors deadlocked three times Thursday night on votes to fill a vacancy on the panel. The 2-2 tie votes means the motions failed to pass.

Norma Crabtree, Raymond Lavoie and Christopher Strout applied for the seat held by John Emery who resigned in April and passed away soon after.

State requirements did not allow the vacancy to be filled at the June 8 municipal election.

The Town Charter requires the council to appoint an interim member until the next municipal election.

Councilors Tarsha Downing and Rose Aikman voted to appoint former Councilor Lavoie while Paula Stotts and newly elected Councilor Darrell Young voted for Crabtree.

Although Lavoie lost to Stotts in the town’s June election, 90-56, he said voter apathy was more to blame for his loss than anything else.

A motion to have Strout fill the seat was never seconded.

Stotts then motioned to appoint former Councilor Kieth Bennett and Young seconded the motion.

Bennett resigned earlier in the year due to illness in his family and attended Thursday’s meeting.

Stotts and Young voted in favor of Bennett, but Downing and Aikman voted against, bringing a third deadlock.

When discussion ensued about a special municipal election, interim Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said the charter gives the council the duty of choosing an applicant.

The council will again try to appoint an interim councilor at the July 12 meeting.

The current candidates, as well as others interested, can apply for the seat.

Berkowitz advised councilors that a fifth councilor is necessary to carry out the town’s business correctly.

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