Board faces turnover
Selectman resigns; second seat in limbo
The New Ipswich Select Board member Ben Cargill, right, has announced he will step down from his position, effective Tuesday. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
NEW IPSWICH — Selectman Ben Cargill will step down next Tuesday due to scheduling issues, leaving the Select Board with two open seats — and plenty of turnover on the horizon.
The Select Board will appoint someone to fill the one year remaining on Cargill’s term. The other open seat — a three-year term on the ballot in March — has no candidates vying for the position.
Cargill did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, but submitted a resignation letter, which the board read into the record. Cargill wrote that he resigned “due to personal circumstances, which will leave me without the proper time to do the task properly.” Cargill added, “It was a very big privilege to be able to serve the last two years as a Selectman, and I am proud in the direction that the town is currently heading.”
In an interview Wednesday, Cargill said that he had recently obtained a position as a crop manager for a large farm, and the new job would not allow him to continue his Select Board duties. Although he was in discussions regarding the position during the town’s filing period, it was not finalized until after the filing period had ended.
This was Cargill’s first term as a Selectman. “I was very pleased to do the service. I wish I could have finished my term,” he said Wednesday. He said that he originally filed because of a desire to be more involved in town government. “If you want to have a say in what’s going on in town, positive or negative, you need to be involved,” he said. Cargill said because of his schedule, he has no plans to get involved in other boards or to re-run for Select Board in the future, but he said he wouldn’t be opposed to becoming involved again should that change. “It’s a considerable time commitment,” he said. “When I ran, I thought I would have more time for it.”
Cargill’s schedule was tough to work around in the first half of his term, and there were multiple Select Board meetings he could not attend, said Select Board member Mike Conlin. However, he noted, in the second half of his term, he had settled into the role and was able to be present more often.
“It’s not easy being a Selectman with a family and a job. You have to make sacrifices,” said Select Board Chair George Lawrence. “But when you sign up for the position, you have to know what’s involved.”
The board is seeking letters of intent from residents who are interested in applying for the position. The appointment will last until the end of Cargill’s term in March 2015.
After Cargill’s resignation is effective, the remaining board will be seeking an appointment to replace him for the remaining year of his term. The board has already received interest from up to five people, said Lawrence. Among them are several former Select Board members. Conlin noted that he would give preference to those with experience. Since Conlin has not filed to re-run for the board in March, he said he would feel more comfortable leaving the board with two members who had experience in the position. When he stepped into the role of Selectman, he had Lawrence and former Select Board member Bentti Hoiska — both long-time board members — and it made the learning curve far less steep.
Cargill said that all those who have shown interest in his position are qualified, and he does not have a strong preference for who should take up the role. One candidate had expressed interest in running a write-in campaign during March elections, he said, and he would like to see that person pursue a three-year term, rather than a one-year appointment.
“If he’s really interested, I’d rather let him run for the full-time position,” he said.
Conlin noted that he was disappointed that there were so many people stepping up for the appointment, but no resident had filed to run for the position during March elections, leaving the decision to a write-in vote. He noted that he originally ran for the Select Board because he didn’t want to see an empty ballot. There had been some residents who had expressed an interest in running, said Conlin, which guided his decision not to run for re-election.
Conlin said he would not be running a write-in campaign in March. He noted that if elected by write in, he would be willing to do the job, but is hoping to take some time to devote additional time to his family obligations.
“[If I was elected by write-in], I would hold their vote in esteem and do the job, but I won’t be putting any signs in my yard,” said Conlin.
The Select Board will be accepting letters of intent for the vacant Selectman’s position until 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Letters can be sent to Town of New Ipswich at 661 Turnpike Rd. or emailed to Town Administrator Roberta Fraser at email@example.com. For more information contact Fraser at 878-2772 ext. 422.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.