NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

February 14, 2014

McDonald to run for selectman; Knowles won't run again

BY ANGELJEAN CHIARAMIDA
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALISBURY — Former Town Clerk Wilma McDonald has taken out papers for a possible run for a seat on the Board of Selectmen.

McDonald retired last November after decades in Salisbury’s town clerk’s office. If she returns her papers with the requisite number of signatures of registered voters by March 1, she’ll be running for the seat currently held by veteran Selectman Fred Knowles. According to Knowles, he’s not worried because he’s decided not to run for re-election.

“It’s time for a break; it’s been nine years. I was elected in 2005,” Knowles said yesterday. “This way it gives someone else a chance to come in with new thoughts, new ideas.”

Knowles said taking a break from elected office isn’t new for him. After six years on the School Committee, he left, then returned to town government. He doesn’t know whether this break will be for one year or 10, he said, adding he’s not counting out another run for office in the future.

But Knowles plans to stay involved, hoping to work on projects. Currently on the Town Common Redesign that’s hoping to create a new war memorial section on the green, Knowles wants to continue working on that committee.

And he’s got another job in mind.

“My plan is to become the town of Salisbury’s ambassador to Comcast,” said Knowles, joking, as he has been openly critical of the town’s cable provider. “That will keep me busy for a long time.”

McDonald’s possible run to replace him didn’t surprise Knowles, who said given that she was town clerk for so long, she has the “institutional knowledge to do the job.”

McDonald said after taking a little break from Town Hall since she left late last year, she’s ready to return.

“Now that I’m retired I have some time on my hands,” she said. “I would like to get back into town government but this time from a different perspective.”

McDonald is still circulating her candidate’s papers, getting signatures from the necessary 32 registered Salisbury voters.

According to Town Clerk Melinda Morrison, no other candidates have come forward to take out papers yet to run for the selectman’s seat. She’s hoping candidates will also come forward to take out papers to run for the Salisbury seat available on the Triton Regional School Committee. So far, she said, there are no candidates for that position.

But there’s still time for registered Salisbury voters to consider running for office and to act, she said.

“The deadline to take out candidate’s papers is March 1, and they have to be returned by March 25,” Morrison said.