ORLEANS — Who isn’t running for town offices next May is as interesting as who is.
After many years on the elementary school committee, Josh Stewart won’t run again. He’ll remain on the regional committee. The three incumbents whose seats on the library board of trustees are up for election – Carolyn Dowd, Mary Beth Fincke, and Mary Reuland – will have served two consecutive three-year terms and will have to take a year off. Barry Alper was named to the state-appointed seat on the housing authority so does not have to stand for re-election.
Select Board Chair Kevin Galligan, who was unopposed when he won his first term three years ago, is ready for another. Luke Chapman and chair Joe Hartung want to continue serving on the board of health.
There will be an open seat on the Nauset Regional School Committee and two on the housing authority.
The election is set for May 18, but is subject to change as the pandemic plays out. Based on that date, according to the town clerk’s office, the last day to obtain nomination papers would be March 26, and March 30 to submit them with at least 41 “wet” (non-electronic) signatures. The forms should be available at the clerk’s office by Jan. 11, by appointment only.
In an email, Galligan offered an enthusiastic “yes” when asked if he was running. “I love serving this wonderful town,” he wrote, “listening to all points of view and continue to learn more every day. Public service at the local level is so rewarding.”
“It’s amazing it has already been almost three years!” Chapman replied when confirming his plans to run again.
Stewart wrote that The Chronicle’s query “prompted me to try to remember how many years I’ve been on the elementary committee and I was kind of shocked to see it’s been about 15 years. When I joined the (regional committee) a few years back it was with the intention of getting off of the (elementary committee) that year, but I love working with that group (fellow board members, admin, staff) and frankly it has been tough to leave as much for the friendships as the work we do for the school.”
But time has marched on, and when one committee member’s daughter graduates in 2021, he noted, “we won’t have any current OES parents on the committee… and I think it’s vital to have that viewpoint.” Stewart’s “hope is that my seat will be filled by someone like the 2006 me, a young parent looking to help OES be the best school it can for all of its students.” He has someone in mind.
“I am trying to get Ian Mack to take over my seat,” Stewart wrote. “He was an excellent member of the regional committee and will have kids in OES for the next 8-9 years, I think.”
Fincke plans to run again, just not in 2021. She intends to be back on the ballot in 2022 after taking the “one-year hiatus” mandated by library bylaws for trustees who have served two consecutive terms.
In an email, the current chair of the library board wrote of the difficulties of the past year: “Fortunately for Orleans and the Cape residents, Snow Library employees are an exceptional lot with tons of creativity, depth of knowledge, perseverance and caring personalities. At the outset of the pandemic, Library Director Tavi Prugno realized the challenges to continuing to provide library services while in lockdown and pivoted from purchasing mainly print materials to expanding online selections. He and his staff retooled the Snow Library website to better serve the community. His foresight and leadership have made continuous library service possible…
“One thing became very clear to me personally. Libraries get us through the tough times.”