DUNSTABLE – Nearly five months after losing his seat on the Board of Selectmen, Ronald Mikol is back in the game if only temporarily.
Mikol beat out three challengers — including a candidate with a criminal record — Tuesday night to fill a vacancy on the board for seven months.
According to unofficial election results released by Town Clerk Carol Skerrett, Mikol received 576 votes compared to David Tarr’s 437 votes, Edward Hastings’s 402 votes and Jeffrey Klane’s 206 votes.
Mikol originally lost his seat on the board at the annual Town Election June 16 to newcomer Kieran Meehan. Two months later, Selectman James Tully resigned from the board on Aug. 27 for an undisclosed reason. Tully’s three-year term was set to expire next May, which is when Mikol’s new term will end.
On top of being a former selectman, Mikol is a 17-year resident of town who previously volunteered with the Fire Department and served on the Finance Committee for 11 years. His previous time on the board was his first official term as a selectman.
Mikol said Wednesday that he intends to run again in next year’s town election to stay on the board for his second official three-year term. He added that, despite losing his seat at this year’s town election and not knowing Tully would resign shortly after, he had intended to run at the 2021 election in an effort to rejoin the board regardless of Tully’s vacancy.
“You have to lose every now and again to really appreciate a win,” Mikol added. “I absolutely believe that all the skills I’ve acquired with the Finance Committee gave me a solid set of qualifications to join the board. I have a natural appetite for the work, so this was a natural progression for me.”
Mikol said he has three priorities he believes his fellow selectmen should address: the establishment of a successful Mixed-Use Development district to create affordable housing options, deteriorating roads in town that need fixing and cost saving methods for local schools.
The race generated some publicity, and several anonymous emails to The Sun, pointing out the fact that Klane pleaded guilty in 2006 for embezzling more than $130,000 from Billerica Pop Warner.
Klane, a landscaper, admitted in court that he wrote checks from the youth athletic organization to himself while he was Pop Warner’s president from April 2001 to January 2005. Klane wrote the checks, which ranged from $100 to $3,000 in value, to help get his business Klane Landscaping out of financial trouble at the time. The missing money was eventually discovered after Pop Warner officials noticed discrepancies in bill payments.
Klane was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to repay Pop Warner $70,000 after having already returned $60,000 to the organization in September 2005.
When asked before the election about his candidacy to join the board and whether his history could impact his qualifications, Klane declined to comment.
Klane also declined to comment on the election results Wednesday morning.