SUMNER — Looking for a major overhaul in local government, more than 120 individuals crowded into Hartford-Sumner Elementary School on Tuesday for the annual town meeting and elected a write-in candidate over the longtime chairman of the Select Board.

William Savage, a member of the Planning Board, defeated Selectman Mary Ann Haxton for a three-year term. Savage received 66 write-in votes; Haxton had 59.

Voters also elected Jesse Wallingford and Joel Chapman to fill the other two vacancies on the board. Both ran unopposed.

Before any of the 34 articles on the warrant dealing with next year’s budget could be voted on, residents voted to recess the meeting until Sept. 26.

The upheaval in town government was the result of an investigation and eventual arrest last month of former Selectman Kelly Stewart and her husband, Robert Stewart, who is the former fire chief. Haxton had said that if Kelly Stewart had not resigned her seat, the board would have attempted to censure her.

The pair were charged by the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office of stealing up to $15,000 from the Fire Department, following an investigation that took months.

Chapman will finish the final year of Stewart’s seat. Wallingford is replacing Don Monroe, who resigned after one year of a three-year term on the board.

With their election, Savage and Wallingford have had to resign their seats on the Planning Board. Sumner will also need to select a new director for Regional School Unit 10 to replace Chapman.

The town will hold an emergency meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Town Office to discuss the audit, elect a chairman and hold an executive session on a personnel matter.


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