EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 13, 2013

Baldwin ousts Childs as Atkinson selectman

By Alex Lippa

---- — ATKINSON — After 12 years as selectman, Fred Childs’s tenure came to an end last night. Voters elected Plaistow police Lt. William Baldwin, a former Atkinson lieutenant, as their new selectman.

Baldwin received 680 votes while Childs had 278 votes. Craig Schuster was third with 148 votes.

Childs admitted he was disappointed, but looked back fondly on his time on the board.

“I had a good run and made a lot of good friends along the way,” he said “I’ve put a lot of time in as selectman and I have no regrets.

Voters wanted a change.

“We’re due for a change,” David Jackson said. “We need to get some new ideas out there.”

Annette McClellan agreed it was Baldwin’s time.

“He’s got the experience we need as selectman,” Annette McClellan said. “He’s a good guy and honest man.”

Although there was a hotly contested selectman’s race, Town Clerk Rose Cavalear said turnout was disappointing. Only 21 percent of the town’s 5,279 registered voters cast ballots.

“I don’t know if the weather had something to do with it, or maybe people weren’t interested in the warrant articles,” Cavalear said.

In other contested races, incumbents ruled the vote for the most part.

Incumbent road agent Edward Stewart defeated Brian Klimaszewski, 776-313. Incumbents Susan Carroll and Bill Smith will serve once again on the Budget Committee, beating Harlan Cheney. Incumbent Kathleen Friel edged out Jean Sanders for cemetery trustee, 520-485.

Sanders did win a seat on the Conflict of Interest Committee, beating incumbent Joyce LaFrance, 512-375.

Incumbent Alan Phair and James Cobb were elected as library trustees, receiving 490 and 561 votes, respectively. Tim Dziechowski trailed with 388 votes.

Only three of the 25 warrant articles didn’t pass in town, but they were all close.

Voters elected not to add $10,000 to a capital reserve fund for the town’s legal fees, 510-509.

There was a tie in the vote to establish a Heritage Commission and heritage fund, 502-502. As a result, the article did not pass.

An article which would have added $15,000 to a capital reserve fund for recreation purposes failed, 518-504.

The $4 million budget was passed by a healthy margin, 583-483.

Voters approved a $212,000 fire tanker and $30,000 for the installation of six fire hydrants.

Insect control was a focus of Atkinson’s warrant and voters approved two articles relating to that. The town voted to allow bow hunting in the town forest and to add $47,390 to a mosquito control fund.