CHATHAM — Saying the costs simply don’t justify the benefits, selectmen Monday voted to wait until the May annual town election to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of board member Amanda Love, rather than calling a special election.
“There’s a potential cost of at least $6,000 to hold a special election,” board Chairman Cory Metters said. And according to the town clerk, the earliest a special election could be held, by statute, is March 15, about two months before the annual election. While Metters said he would love to have the vacancy filled as soon as possible, it’s not practical to spend thousands of dollars to fill the seat two months earlier. By March 15, most of the board’s key votes leading up to the annual town meeting, its “heavy lifting,” will have already concluded, Metters said.
“I think there’s very little to gain by calling a special election,” he said.
Board member Dean Nicastro agreed, saying that in order to keep to the March 15 special election date, candidates would have only two weeks to withdraw and return nomination papers, instead of the usual seven weeks.
Selectmen Shareen Davis concurred. Postponing the vote until May “gives a candidate time to prepare to run for office,” she said.
Love resigned on Jan. 2, saying she was not able to give the job the time it deserves. Love works full time in the Eastham assessing department and is enrolled in continuing education for her career.
“I want to take a moment to thank her for her service and wish her all the best in her future plans,” Metters said Monday.
Love’s one-year unexpired term is not the only selectman’s seat to be filled at the May 17 annual town election. Metters and Nicastro are also up for reelection. Both have indicated they plan to run.
Selectmen Monday reassigned some of Love’s committee liaison duties. Metters will be the board’s link to the conservation commission and south coast harbor plan committee; Nicastro will be the liaison to the board of assessors and bikeways committees; Davis takes the liaison position to the airport commission and Aunt Lydia’s Cove committee; and Selectman Jeffrey Dykens will liaise to the cable advisory and traffic safety committees. Dykens will also take Love’s seat on the selectmen’s North Beach subcommittee.