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Local News

February 15, 2013

Selectmen opt for two election days, April 30 and May 6

One election day or two?

That was the question Merrimac selectmen pondered this week, as Town Clerk Pat True made her case for keeping the April 30 primary election separate from the May 6 town elections. The primary election will determine candidates for the Senate seat formerly occupied by John Kerry, who left to become secretary of state.

“I just think it would be a lot to handle if we combined them,” said True, “and I’d like to keep them separate.”

True noted that Merrimac was reimbursed for the cost of the 2010 interim election that sent Scott Brown to Washington, speculating that such reimbursement might be jeopardized this time around if the elections were combined.

“We’d need more cops, plus eight election workers instead of four, and another clerk if we combined the elections, not to mention the cost of food to feed the election workers,” said True.

“Besides, some people don’t like to vote in primaries, and if there’s a political party designation after your name, you can’t vote in the primary.” True explained that combining the elections would make collecting and processing ballots more complicated.

With the town clerk’s impassioned pleas ringing in their ears, selectmen voted unanimously for the two elections to keep their distance — six days apart.

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While Merrimac and Groveland have signed their new leases for the Pentucket region schools, West Newbury has thrown the district a curve by submitting draft changes regarding emergency building repairs.

“The language in all of the leases must be identical,” said Selectman Rick Pinciaro. “Besides, that boat sailed a long time ago, and the School Committee did everyone a disservice by allowing West Newbury to change the agreement.”

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Jennifer Sforza of Newton, N.H., has been hired as administrative assistant to Merrimac police Chief Eric M. Shears at the rate of $18 per hour for an 18-hour week with no benefits. She was selected after more than 20 of the 65 applicants were interviewed for the position.

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