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March 12, 2014

Former police chief elected as Atkinson selectman

Former chief defeats incumbent by 15 votes

ATKINSON — Former police chief Philip Consentino is returning to the Board of Selectmen.

Consentino defeated incumbent Selectmen’s Chairman William Friel for a one-year term as selectman, 801-786

The former chief’s campaign was littered with questions about his firing, but he denied all allegations in the last couple of weeks.

Consentino could not be reached for comment last night. His wife Jody said he was sick and he was sleeping.

Friel thanked the voters for their support.

“I would like to thank the 1,652 voters who took the time today to be a part of the election process and participate in town government,” he said. “It was a great turnout. I would like to thank all of the candidates who signed up and campaigned hard for their desired spots and congratulate the successful candidates who will now be pivotal in moving the town forward. I sincerely wish you all the best in the process.”

At the polls yesterday, Friel said he was optimistic about his chances.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said yesterday afternoon. “But it’s out of my hands “

Consentino will serve the remainder of Todd Barbera’s term. Barbera died of cancer in October.

Consentino was terminated in February 2013 as police chief by selectmen following an independent investigation. Friel was one of the three selectmen who made the decision. Consentino was with the police department for 45 years. he also headed the Elderly Affairs Department for about 20 years.

Consentino has previously served for nine years as selectman, although not consecutively.

For the other open selectman spot, Budget Committee Chairman Harold Morse was elected to a three-year term. Morse received 604 votes, defeating Scott Mitchell who received 441 votes and Craig Schuster who received 403 votes.

About 31 percent of the 5,283 registered voters turned out to vote, which pleased officials.

“We had about 1,200 people by 4 p.m,” Selectman Fred Thompson said. “In previous years, we would get 1,200 people the entire day.”

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