By Katina Caraganis
TOWNSEND -- Monday's election was all about contested races as campaigns for Board of Selectmen, town clerk and Board of Water Commissioners all had multiple candidates.
Carolyn Smart, who has lived in town for 21 years, walked away with the seat on the Board of Selectmen, with 636 of the 1,864 votes cast.
The seat was vacated by former Selectman Robert Plamondon, who retired.
Kathy Spofford, who has held the position of assistant town clerk since 2007, was elected as the new town clerk with 1,154 of the 1,864 total votes cast. Challenger Kathy Rapoza got 517 votes. Spofford replaces Sue Funaiole, who retired.
Smart, of the Finance and Capital Planning committees, said before the election she was primarily concerned with bolstering the town's finances, including restoring the bond rating, which was withdrawn last summer.
Smart also worked for the town Water Department.
When reached by phone Monday night, she said she was thrilled to hear she had won.
"I ran against some great candidates, and I'm very humbled the town's people chose me," she said. "I have nothing but respect for the other candidates in this race. They did a great job. It was a nice race. I feel I have a lot to contribute. I'm really excited about this opportunity."
Retired Fire Chief Don Klein finished second with 544 votes, followed by Laura Shifrin with 465 and Ron Dionne with 111 votes.
Dionne has served on the Townsend Housing Authority and the Board of Water Commissioners. He gave up his three-year term on the latter board early.
Klein, who retired as fire chief last month, said he hoped to be a part of the new fire-station project in a different capacity now that he is no longer chief.
Shifrin, who owns Townsend Center Realty, also serves on the Housing Authority and Board of Assessors. She said before the election that her focus would be on teamwork with other town officials, and listening to the concerns of residents.
Susan Tocci and Sheldon Chapman said at Town Hall that they both supported Smart.
"I think there needs to be a little shakeup in town government," Tocci said. "I think things have been a little too passive, and I think Carolyn's going to be the one to shake things up."
Chapman agreed, saying he believes Smart has good ideas.
"I liked her presentation at candidates night," he said. "She seemed very forthright and exuded experience."
Spofford has lived in town for 37 years. In 2004, she began working as an administrative assistant in the Board of Health office, a position she held for 3 1/2 years, when she became assistant town clerk.
She said before the election that her experience as assistant town clerk made her qualified to take over.
The only thing she hasn't done in her current position, she had said, was work on the department's budget, but said she has done similar work while working for the Board of Health.
As town clerk, Spofford said she would be a good first point of contact for many residents and prospective residents, and because of her Town Hall experience, she knows where to direct people who come in for various needs.
"This is great news," Spofford said when reached by phone Monday night after the polls closed. "I'm happy I'm the next town clerk. It was an experience. I've worked hard. Sue has kept me informed in everything. Anything she knows, she lets me know about, anything new or whatever. It worked out really well being able to go to conferences together and stuff."
Spofford will be sworn in next week, and her job as assistant town clerk was scheduled to be posted today.
Rapoza has been on the Finance Committee for three years and currently serves as chairman and works in human resources, two qualities she said would make her a valuable asset to the town.
Michael MacEachern won a three-year seat on the Board of Water Commissioners with 812 votes. Andrea Wood received 454 votes and Patrick Macfarlane got 291 votes.
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