NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 1, 2013

Anderson wins selectman seat over Devine

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — WEST NEWBURY -- Bachelor Street resident Joe Anderson beat Kristi Devine of Montclair Road by more than a three-to-one margin to win a three-year seat on the Board of Selectmen yesterday in the town’s only contested race.

Anderson, the 56-year-old Finance Committee member, secured 704 of 927 votes cast to win the seat left vacant by Dick Cushing who decided not to run for a fifth term. Devine garnered 202 votes with five write-in votes and the remaining left blank.

Turnout was noticeably high with about 30 percent of the town’s roughly 3,100 active registered voters visiting the Town Annex, according to Town Clerk Michael McCarron.

Minutes after accepting the congratulations of a handful of supporters who joined him to hear the results, Anderson was escorted by McCarron to the town’s meeting room where he was sworn in as the town’s newest selectman.

Anderson said he ran on a platform of keeping a steady tax base, maintaining the town’s infrastructure and conducting business in an open and transparent manner.

“(It) appears to have resonated pretty widely,” Anderson said.

The election culminates roughly two months of door-to-door campaigning, emails, holding signs and phone calls for Anderson who joked he was tired when asked how he was feeling by a reporter.

In addition to his nine years on the Finance Committee, serving as vice chairman the last three years, Anderson was a former Zoning Board of Appeals member and served on the Regional Dispatch Study Committee.

Last night’s defeat marks another attempt by Devine, who came up short in 2011 to win a seat on the board. In between elections, Devine was convicted of two counts of violating a harassment order stemming from a lengthy dispute with one of her neighbors. She was sentenced to six months in jail but the sentence was suspended for two years probation.

Previously, Devine, 55, became known for run-ins with local police and former Salisbury police Chief David L’Esperance. Devine has accused local law enforcement of misconduct and eventually sued the police department and the town. The suit was thrown out after it was determined her complaints didn’t merit a decision.

Devine said she wished Anderson well and was happy she was able to draw so many people to the polls.

“I just want to thank my supporters who I didn’t know existed until I knocked on some doors,” Devine said.

Asked if she would consider another run for selectmen Devine quoted Winston Churchill’s mantra about never giving up and added she was committed to ensuring transparency in town government.

“I want to make a difference,” Devine said.