TOWNSEND -- The deadline to announce candidacy in Townsend's coming town election has passed, and only one person has indicated an interest in a seat opening up on the Board of Selectmen.
Sue Lisio, a former selectman who also served on the Finance Committee last year, is the lone official candidate in the race for the board. She has returned her paperwork to the town clerk's office, and no one else -- including incumbent Selectman Carolyn Smart -- pulled papers before Friday, the last day to do so. That paperwork must be returned to the town clerk by 5 p.m. Monday.
Lisio said she is running to "restore people's faith in their town leadership."
"I think it's been damaged of late, and I'd like to do my part to fix it," she said. "I think that it's incumbent upon the Board of Selectmen, members of the board, to make sure that they listen to people or at least to make people feel that they're listened to."
She said she would support establishment of a formal comment period during Board of Selectmen meetings to allow residents to share their thoughts and concerns.
Buildup to the April 24 town election comes during a time of local political turmoil. The selectmen and town administrator, through town counsel, have been investigating the Police Department for months, prompting protests from some vocal residents who see the board as overstepping its role and conducting a "witch hunt" against police.
The investigation alleges that police employees conducted unauthorized background checks on private civilians.
Lisio said she thinks the investigation has been handled improperly and that too much information was revealed publicly before it was completed.
"I don't think anything should have hit the newspaper or the public until it was settled," she said. "I think it's appalling that it did, and I speak as a former board member when I say that."
Smart was not immediately available to comment on why she is not seeking re-election.
Current Town Clerk Kathleen Spofford will face a challenge from Nancy Rapoza.
The race for a three-year seat on the Board of Water Commissioners will have two candidate. Chair Michael MacEachern is running for re-election, while resident Todd Melanson, who works for the Chelmsford Water District, will challenge.
Randee Rusch and William D. Hackler, both incumbent members of the North Middlesex Regional School District Committee, have returned papers seeking re-election to at-large seats. There are three at-large positions up for election this year. Candidates run in all three member towns: Ashby, Pepperell and Townsend.
Albert "Tubby" Boucher is seeking re-election as cemetery and parks commissioner, while Kathleen Araujo and Lance McNally are seeking re-election to the Planning Board. Susan McNally will run for library trustee.
Board of Health Chair James Le'Cuyer pulled papers to run for re-election, but he had not yet returned them as of Monday morning. Keith M. Jackson returned papers to run as a veteran trustee of soldier's memorial.
Residents are collecting signatures on official petitions to recall the other two selectmen, Cindy King and Gordon Clark. Among the various reasons listed are allegations that the selectmen infringed on the police department's day-to-day management.
If those petitions are returned with enough signatures, selectmen will set a date for the recall election, at which time those interested in running to replace King and Clark can officially pull papers.
Smart and Clark had been the target of an earlier recall campaign last year, although residents involved in that effort never submitted the paperwork to trigger an election. They ultimately suspended the effort after the State Ethics Commission found no reason to continue investigating complaints lodged against the two selectmen.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisLisinski.