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Candidate for Town Moderator James O’Conor and write-in candidate for School Committee Kevin Bresnahan stand outside Town Hall, the polling place for this year’s election. JACOB VITALI/LOWELL SUN
Candidate for Town Moderator James O’Conor and write-in candidate for School Committee Kevin Bresnahan stand outside Town Hall, the polling place for this year’s election. JACOB VITALI/LOWELL SUN
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AYER – The annual town election looked fairly sedate at first, with no hot button issues on the ballot and only one contested race, for moderator.

Until a last-minute write-in candidate for an open seat on the Ayer Shirley Regional School Committee promised to spice things up.

The effort fell just short of the mark. Erica Spann, whose name was on the ballot, won the three-year School Committee seat with 306 votes, while write-in challenger Kevin Bresnahan received 232 votes.

When election results were posted, shortly after 10 Tuesday night, the final tally showed a total turnout of 570, which is 9.23 percent of the town’s 6,175 registered voters.

The school board seat was formerly occupied by Joseph Leone, who did not seek re-election.

Another three-year seat opened up on the Shirley side when Jonathan Deforge did not run again. It was filled by newcomer Christopher Rupprecht, who ran unopposed on Shirley’s election ballot last week.

The six-member school board has three representatives from each member town.

Spann works in the human services field and is the mother of a student in the school district, according to her campaign Facebook page.

She grew up in Ayer, has been active as an advocate at the New Hope Community Church and as a student at the former Ayer High School was a member of its human rights squad.

Her commitment to social justice continues and she was one of the first to sign on when the School Committee established its new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee a couple of years ago.

Contacted Wednesday morning, Spann said she might continue working with the DEI group if the School Committee wants her to. “The main thing I want to say is that I am grateful I was elected…and I fully intend to keep the promises I made in my campaign,” she said.

The moderator’s post drew two hopefuls. James O’Conor and Samuel Goodwin.

O’Conor won, with 294 votes versus 209 votes for Goodwin.

O’Conor, who is a professional tax consultant, moved to town a year ago and previously served as assistant moderator and as an elected town meeting representative in Arlington.

Goodwin, a Navy veteran and Ayer town constable, currently chairs the Zoning Board of Appeals.

O’Conor and Goodwin both tossed their hats in to serve as temporary moderator for the recent annual town meeting. Put to a vote, Goodwin won, presiding at the podium for the second time. Vying for the permanent post in Tuesday’s election, he faced the same challenger but lost this time.

Goodwin’s name appeared twice on the ballot, since he was up for re-election as constable. He retained the three-year post with 451 votes.

Goodwin said he’d intended to stick with both of his other town positions had he won. Both are “gratis,” or unpaid by the town and posed no conflict with the moderator’s job, he said. The ZBA, which he said was in disarray when he came on board amid a raft of new zoning bylaws.

It’s now fully functional, with an effective working group, he said.

Attempts to reach O’Conor were unsuccessful Wednesday morning.