PEPPERELL -- As the timeframe to participate in the town clerk race draws to a close, four candidates have announced their intentions to run for the town's most contested position.
Debra Durno, Lisa Ferolito, Jennifer Hardy and Anna MacDonald are all hoping to replace Town Clerk Jeffrey Sauer, who is resigning after the April election due to his decision to move to New York with his family.
March 10 is the last day to submit nomination papers to the Board of Registrars for certification. The election will be held on April 28.
Durno has had experience in computers, budgets and public-speaking through jobs in both the public and private sectors.
Although she has never held a town position, Durno has volunteered at school events in Pepperell and at St. Baldrick's Foundation.
She said she believes now is the best time to start working for the town that she loves.
"I am extremely passionate about this position. This is an opportunity for me to give back to a community that I have lived in my entire life," she said.
Durno said she is 110 percent confident in her ability to do the job well.
"People need to vote for who is the most qualified, who has the personality, who has the skills, who is able to handle the pressure, who is able to multitask and put in the extra time. That is me," Durno said.
Ferolito is the clerk of the Charter Commission and a volunteer for Pepperell Aid from Community to Home Outreach and Food Pantry. She also volunteers at the local schools, which her children attend.
She said her work experience in the legal field, combined with her demonstrated commitment to the town, make her a strong candidate.
"As a paralegal, I know my skills will benefit the town and enable me to do a great job. I am dedicated, hardworking, reliable and honest. I love the town and want to continue contributing to Pepperell and its residents," Ferolito said.
She said she considers the town clerk the first point of contact for people looking to move to Pepperell, and wants to be welcoming and helpful as the face of the town. She also hopes to increase efficiency in Town Hall.
Hardy said she wants to serve the town that she has raised her five children in.
"I've volunteered quite a few hours in town, and I know a lot about what's going on," Hardy said. "I'm knowledgeable about town issues, and willing to help."
She has previously served on the Recreation Commission and has volunteered for the town's schools and youth sports programs.
Hardy also organized and chaired the Varnum Brook Elementary School Playground Committee, which raised $23,000 to build a playground at the school.
Her experience managing an office of more than 20 employees has given her the technical knowledge, managerial skills and personable nature necessary to succeed in the job, she said.
"It will definitely be a challenge, but I enjoy that and am a quick learner. I'll bring integrity to the position, as well as leadership, technical and organizational skills and interpersonal skills," Hardy said.
Planning Board member MacDonald said her 30-year background as a paralegal and office manager, combined with her volunteer work at Town Hall, make her qualified for the position. She also works as the planning administrator in Shirley.
"I'm the Master Plan Committee Chairman in Shirley. I write grants and decisions for the Planning Board, post notices for hearings, review all of the applications for permits, do site plan reviews," MacDonald said.
She said helping preserve Pepperell's small-town charm is key to her desire to work as town clerk.
"I have an 11-year-old granddaughter at Nissitissit, and I want her to live in a place like Pepperell. And I think that it's crucial that more people get involved in the community where they live. There are times when there's not enough people to step up or people don't step up, and I would encourage them to please become part of a solution because it's necessary," MacDonald said.
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