BY JENNIFER SOLIS
---- — NEWBURY — It appears there will be a contest in the race for selectman on the ballot this spring.
Michael Doyle, who previously served as selectman from 2001 to 2004, indicated recently his intention to challenge incumbent Chuck Bear for his three-year seat. Bear verbally confirmed his plans to seek re-election immediately following a board meeting earlier this month.
But before they can be considered candidates, both men must act on their intentions by pulling nomination papers from the town clerk’s office. Candidates may obtain papers as of Thursday.
Bear is no newcomer when it comes to contested races. He bested Frank Chiarvalloti and Leo “Jack” Rybicki to earn the seat in 2010. Previously, he served in 2004 after winning a special election to finish out the unexpired term of Bruce Saunders, who died in office. The incumbent lost his bid for re-election in 2006 to Jennifer Wright. And he finished second to Audrey Kelly in a run for a two-year selectmen’s seat when the board expanded from three to five members in 2009.
Currently serving as the selectmen’s representative for the Land Sale Committee and the Council on Aging’s Triad Committee, Bear said one of his greatest achievements over the past three years was playing a part in the successful effort to hire Town Administrator Tracy Blais.
In a press release, Doyle, who served for 14 years on the Finance Committee, highlighted some key accomplishments he helped to put in place for the residents of Newbury during his previous stint as selectman. He cites the fact that the landfill is now capped and closed, the establishment of the transfer station, the creation of a town administrator’s position and of a separate Board of Health.
He also advocated for the current five-member Board of Selectmen configuration. Going forward, Doyle’s goal in running this time around is to help support the new businesses that he feels are needed to increase the tax base in town. “Overrides are not an option,” Doyle said.
A total of 13 municipal seats will be filled on the May 14 ballot. Other incumbents whose three-year terms are up include Peter Murphy, Board of Assessors; Alba Gouldthorpe, Board of Health; Robin Williams, Triton Regional School Committee; Douglas Noyes, trustee of the First Settlers Burial Ground; and Charles Colby, fish commissioner. A seat currently held by Richard Passeri, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Library Trustees, will also appear on the ballot.
A five-year seat on the Planning Board currently held by David Powell will appear on the annual ballot, as will a four-year term for constable now held by incumbent James Cunningham and a one-year spot as tree warden currently filled by Peter Hollis.
Two unexpired posts formerly held by life-long resident Richard “Dick” Cunningham, who passed away last June, must also be filled: a two-year term as trustee of the First Settlers Burial Ground and one-year as constable.
And an unexpired term for one-year as fish commissioner needs a candidate. The post was held by Byfield resident Everett Davis, who passed away last April.
The last day to pull papers is March 22. Papers, endorsed by at least 35 registered voters from Newbury, must be returned by Tuesday, March 26.