ATKINSON — The town has a new selectman.
Selectmen named Fred Thompson as interim selectman on Monday. Thompson fills the seat of Todd Barbera, who died from pancreatic cancer on Oct. 11.
“The selectmen asked me to serve and I am more than happy to do it,” Thompson said. He was one of seven candidates who applied for the position.
“Two of the candidates withdrew after a discussion with selectmen,” Town Administrator Bill Innes said. “Three of the candidates the selectmen knew pretty well already and they interviewed two others. (Thompson) was one of the ones they interviewed.”
Thompson served on the Budget Committee for more than 10 years and is a member of the Atkinson Lions Club. He owns Thompson Title, a full-service title company in Salem.
He will serve until Town Meeting in March. Voters will then elect someone to fill the final year of Barbera’s three-year term.
Thompson said he was undecided on whether he would run for selectman in March.
Innes said Thompson was an ideal candidate because of his familiarity with the town.
“He’s a really good guy and has a lot of experience in town,” he said. “He’s real level-headed and he’s a straight shooter.”
Thompson said he didn’t have any plans about any issues he wanted to address.
“Right now, I’m just trying to get up to speed and learn the ropes,” he said. “When you’ve served on a Budget Committee for many years, you become familiar with every department and how they are run. That’s some valuable information if you’re going to step into the selectman’s role.”
For now, Thompson hopes to live up to Barbera’s legacy.
“Todd was a great selectman and a consummate volunteer,” he said. “I know I have some big shoes to fill.”
Selectmen William Friel and William Baldwin could not be reached for comment.