3-way contest takes shape for 2 open seats
NORTH YARMOUTH — After four terms and 12 years, Selectman Carol Burgess has decided it’s time for someone else to sit on the board while she puts her energy into the Budget Committee.
Selectman Mark Verrill, who has served one term, has also decided not to seek re-election.
Nomination papers were due at Town Hall April 29, and three residents – Mark Girard, Darla Hamlin and Andrew Walsh – filed papers for the two open seats.
Hamlin and Walsh now serve on the Budget Committee, and Girard has served on a recent ad-hoc committee focused on agreements between North Yarmouth and Cumberland, Office Manager Debbie Grover said Monday.
David Perkins is not running again for the School Administrative District 51 Board of Directors. Martha Leggat, who lost by 50 votes to Virginia Dwyer in last year’s School Board election, is uncontested for the open seat.
Three people are running for three open seats on the Budget Committee: incumbent Pamela Ames, newcomer Donna Palmer and Burgess. Frank Coffin and Phil Jackson are not seeking re-election.
Grover said Cemetery Commissioner David Hyde did not return nomination papers, so that ballot spot will remain empty.
The election will be held June 14.
Burgess said last week that the selectmen set goals for the town each year, and hers had been met.
For example, in her first year on the board she suggested the town change its fiscal year to begin in July and not in March, so that North Yarmouth would coincide with the state and SAD 51.
“The major point of it was to make sure that we didn’t have to take a bond out for the school (budget),” she said. “… So that saves the taxpayers money.”
Burgess said she also instituted Robert’s Rules of Order for board meetings, as well as a two-year term limit for the chairman.
“It’s good for everybody to have a chance; I think that’s better government,” said Burgess, who chaired the board from 2006 to 2008.
Burgess, who is a retired mental health counselor, has served on several committees. She chaired the Wescustogo Hall, affordable housing and administrative assistant search committees, was co-chairwoman of the Conservation Commission, and served on the foreclosure, events and future land committees.
She is a charter member of North Yarmouth’s historical and welcoming committees and past president of the town’s garden club. She also organized and set up Town Meeting refreshments for 10 years and was secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary of the North Yarmouth Fire Company for 23 years and treasurer for 10 years.
If that wasn’t enough, Burgess was also an organizer for years of North Yarmouth’s annual Fun Day event. She is known in town as “the Pie Lady,” since for more than 20 years she has called people about making pies to sell at Fun Day.
If elected to the Budget Committee, Burgess will still have a hand in town government.
“I think the Budget Committee is a really important committee,” she said Monday. “… Because the budget is such an important part of the town as far as taxes and everything, and I feel that we really have to keep a hand on it.”
“I love the town,” said the Gorham native, who has lived in North Yarmouth for 41 of her 64 years. “I feel that anybody that is in a town, that they should give of their time, to make the town what everybody wants it (to be), and to make it a pleasant place to live and to bring your children up. … It’s a civic duty to be active.”
Burgess said it’s time “for someone else to step up” and serve on the Board of Selectmen. “I have found it extremely rewarding,” she said. “I have learned so much.”
She said someone shouldn’t run for the board for their own benefit, but to serve the people of the town. “I’ve had personal interests, and I’ve foregone those, because the majority of the people let me know that they weren’t for that …,” Burgess said. “The ‘you’ has to be taken out of it.”
Verrill said Monday that he opted not to seek a second term on the Board of Selectmen mainly so that he could spend more time with his wife and two children.
“I feel the board is in a very good place now with a new administrative assistant,” he said. “… I think with our form of government, and knowing a lot of the players in place, including some of the people that are running this year, I feel I can do as much good just as a lobbyist … rather than being an official voting member on the board.”
Verrill, a personal trainer/lifestyle consultant, runs Shapely Solutions. He also runs Forever in Video, a video production business that specializes in event videography.
Verrill, 43, said he would not rule out running for the board again in the future.
Carol Burgess is stepping down after 12 years on the North Yarmouth Board of Selectmen. She is seeking a seat on the Budget Committee.