From top left: Joe Clark, T. “Will” Jones, Sarah Stebbins and Stephan Bunker. Submitted photos

FARMINGTON — Voters will go to the polls Monday to elect two selectmen and two directors for Regional School Unit 9.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Community Center on Middle Street.

Selectman Stephan Bunker, Amy DePauw and Dennis O’Neil are on the ballot for the Select Board. The terms are for three years.

For the RSU 9 board, incumbent Scott Erb, T. “Will” Jones, Sarah Stebbins and Joe Clark are vying for the three-year terms.

Candidates responded to the following questions.

In your opinion, what are the biggest issues facing Farmington and how would you address them?


Bunker: “The biggest issues are two-fold. Of an immediate concern is to address the loss of multiple, very experienced town employees, specifically from the Town Office. Secondly, we need to carefully evaluate added tax revenues against our needs to invest such projects as road improvements, deferred maintenance on municipal buildings and properties, and inadequately funded reserve accounts in many departments.”

DePaus: “As a service center, Farmington is critical to the greater community of Franklin County. It is important for Farmington to maintain a good balance between being a service center and providing needed services for our taxpayers.

“Farmington can use the recent development of the solar farms tax base to invest wisely going forward on projects that are going to pay dividends to the town, reduce our debt, and take care of things that will put us ahead and maintain a reasonable tax base for the town residents well into the future.”

O’Neil: “The issues that deal with town government are revaluation of all property, retaining quality employees, job description updates and salary scale determinations, accountability through the budget process, a review of the town meeting procedures and road improvements.”

What skills would you bring to the position?

Bunker: He cited over 30 years as a selectman and 11 years on the Maine Municipal Association executive committee. “I am also a long-term member of the county budget committee and past school board member. I am in my 43rd year as a volunteer firefighter for my community.”


DePauw: She cited being a mother of seven, a small business owner and a doctor of chiropractic as teaching her to learn how to listen to people and prioritize actions. “I will listen to concerned citizens then review the facts to proceed in making decisions that would be in the best interest of the town. Dealing with budgets is critical in keeping a business viable, and I believe that the (t)own has the same responsibility.”

O’Neil: “I’ve been involved in local town governments for over 50 years.” He has worked in residential construction for 15 years and municipal finance for 25 years. “I currently serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Assessment Review Committee and the Transportation Committee. I previously have served on the Budget Committee and the School Committee. I belong to several local civic and charitable organizations that serve the community.”

Regional School Unit 9 board

In a recent board meeting, Superintendent Chris Elkington warned that “bullying doesn’t look like it used to.” What are your suggestions on addressing this issue?

Clark: “Technology changes but human nature is constant. We must keep our eyes and ears open to how things like this are changing, so we can address them early.”

Erb: “I don’t think there is a easy answer to how to respond to things like cyberbullying, online stalking and abuse of social media. Key is building a sense of community and understanding — discipline cannot be the primary response to bullying.” There must be personal attention to students’ needs and an understanding of social media and internet pressure, he said.


Jones: “There is no easy answer to this question. “With the rise and ever-changing face of bullying, RSU 9 needs a clear and active bullying prevention program. RSU 9 could avail itself of as much accessible information possible about successful programs from other school systems; and then gleaning the information that is pertinent to our particular needs, we can put together and implement our own specialized program.”

Stebbins: In today’s era, the presentation of bullying stands on a different platform: social media. All potential avenues of it within the internet, as well as personal interaction, must be explored and addressed.”

What expertise would you bring to the board?

Clark: He said he is a former academic and university lecturer with a doctorate in information systems and is a full-time software developer.

Erb: “I understand the challenges teachers face in dealing with education in the 21st Century, as well as an understanding of how government and bureaucracy function. I also keep up to date with studies involving effective education methods and specific conditions facing young people today.”

Jones: Along with his nonprofit work with children, he has extensive leadership experience working with people with disabilities, leadership and business experience in the private sector and government experience. “I am a good communicator, organizer and consensus builder.”

Stebbins: “As a parent, my experience in raising children is the passion behind what will push me to get things accomplished on the school board.”

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