Speirs confident about leading North Yarmouth Select Board

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Six months after being elected to the Select Board, Jennifer Speirs is the panel’s new chairwoman, replacing former Chairman Peter Lacy.

It’s a role Speirs said she didn’t seek or expect, and she knows it will come with a learning curve. But it’s a job she will embrace enthusiastically and confidently, she said, as the board tackles topics like the rebuilding of Wescustogo Hall.

Speirs has lived in town for seven years with her husband, David, who grew up in neighboring Cumberland. They have two young daughters, and North Yarmouth’s rural character, open space access, focus on community and high-quality school district attracted them, she said.

A stay-at-home mom now, Speirs has a background in natural resources, land use planning and environmental permitting. She has worked as a wilderness ranger, wildland firefighter, campsite researcher and biological technician for the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Maine Departments of Conservation and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Speirs worked for the state Land Use Regulation Commission in Greenville and then joined Pinkham & Greer Consulting Engineers, formerly based in Falmouth. She wrote grant applications and did legislative work with Good Will Hinkley in Fairfield.

“There’s a lot going on now in North Yarmouth, things that are very interesting and poignant to young families in particular, and I just wanted to be a part of it,” she said of her decision to run for office last spring.

Speirs said her goals include being a good listener, “and to make sure that we are making decisions for the town that are in the best interest of all residents as we move toward the future.

“And that may mean investing in things that are good opportunities,” she added, referring to projects like Wescustogo Hall and its possible rebuilding next to the renovated former North Yarmouth Memorial School.

Speirs said she wants to be “forward-thinking in terms of what to do with town facilities, including the Town Office, but doing that in a way that is cost-effective and efficient in the future. Not looking at necessarily saving dollars today, but things that ultimately are good decisions for the town 10, 20, 30 years from now.”

She said her experience on the board so far has been “great,” and her fellow board members and Town Manager Rosemary Roy have been “very welcoming and patient. I can tell that they are all very passionate about what they do, and care about North Yarmouth tremendously. And we all want to work together to make the best decisions that we can.”

Peter Lacy, the board chairman since July, announced his resignation Dec. 5 because his family is moving to Cumberland. The panel then elected Speirs to replace him in the leadership role.

“It was definitely not something that I was advocating for,” Speirs said. “I’ve been at this for 5 1/2 months, and this is one of those positions where there is a lot to learn. I still feel like I’m definitely getting my feet wet here.”

Speirs said she believes the board chose her as Lacy’s replacement to “continue that tone of encouraging young people in the town to step up.”

She just turned 40, and Lacy is 37.

“I’m happy” to take on the role, Speirs said. “I’m up to the task.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Jennifer Speirs is the new chairwoman of the North Yarmouth Select Board.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.