Hills Staves Off Multiple Challenges

            When Ted North pulled out of the Planning Board race at the end of April, he cited the coronavirus pandemic in a letter to the editor and wrote that “Marion voter interest would be best served by returning all board incumbents to office.”

            The Town of Marion apparently agreed, voting Norm Hills back onto the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board for three-year terms. Pat DeCosta was reelected to the Board of Assessors for a three-year term, and Chris Collings and Eileen Marum kept their seats on the Planning Board for three more years each.

            “I think, right now, the Board of Selectmen we have work very well together. It’s not him against me and against you, name-calling and things like that. We may not all agree on everything, but we agree on the fundamental things we need to go get done,” said Hills. “Unfortunately, some of (those projects) are going to cost money, but we waited too long. They could have cost us less sometime in the past had we done it. We just kept waiting and waiting and waiting, and now we’ve got to do it, and we’ve really got to do it, so it’s not an option. We’re in a place where things just get more expensive for any number of reasons.”

            Selectmen Randy Parker and John Waterman were both on hand for the results of the election on Friday night outside the Cushing Community Center. The three selectmen awaited election results along with a small circle of other town officials and in some cases their spouses, enjoying pleasant weather and conversation.

            Hills held off Joe Zora Jr. in the selectmen’s race, 687-266.

            Zora Jr. also bid for seats on the Planning Board and the Board of Assessors. He received 276 votes for Planning Board, which left him far behind incumbents Christopher Collings (708 votes), Eileen Marum (657) and Hills (612). Despite his early withdrawal announcement, North still received 327 votes for Planning Board.

            Zora Jr. got 150 votes for the Board of Assessors, while Pat DeCosta cruised to reelection with 806.

            Write-in candidate Margaret McSweeny was the leading vote getter (102) for an open seat on the Old Rochester Regional School Commitee. Danny Egwert received 40 votes.

            Marion Executive Director of Recreation Jody Dickerson won one of two open seats of the Marion School Committee with 114 write-in votes. McSweeny also received enough votes (58, 10 more than fellow write-in candidate Mary Beauregard) to win the other open seat, but Town Clerk Lissa Magauran said she believes that McSweeny is prohibited from serving on both committees.

            Two uncontested incumbents got the vote out, as Dot Brown (800) won another three-year term on the Board of Health and Moderator Brad Gordon won another one-year term with 831 votes.

            Running unopposed, Jeffrey Oakes (782 votes) and Amanda Chace (769) held onto their seats on the Open Space Acquisition Commission for another three years.

            According to Magauran, approximately 670 of the 977 total ballots were cast by mail. The town, enabled by the state’s loosening of the traditional restrictions on absentee voting, encouraged citizens to avoid crowding the polls on election day.

By Mick Colageo

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