Warner select board finalizes process to appoint final member

By MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Monitor staff

Published: 08-16-2023 6:29 PM

The two members of the Warner select board have formalized a process for filling the open third seat.

The board accepted interest forms from residents until 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Once they’ve compiled a list of interested applicants, they will then hold in-person interviews open to the public.

“This whole process is designed to be transparent for the community. There is nobody that we are aware of to appoint, so this is why we did the volunteer forms,” said board member Faith Minton.

Interviews will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 22, in Warner Town Hall, with Aug. 24 reserved as an additional day if needed.

Minton and Select Board Chair Harry Seidel will then deliberate on Friday, Aug. 25, before announcing their selection at the next select board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

As of last week, seven people indicated interest to serve on the board – Karen Coyne, Sara Colson, Dunstin Chamberlain, Romeo Dubreuil, Derek Narducci, Michael Smith and Linda LeClair.

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Coyne previously ran against Seidel for a seat on the select board in March, losing with 236 votes to Seidel’s 364.

At Tuesday’s select board meeting, Danielle Young, a Warner resident, questioned the need to interview candidates when Coyne has previously earned votes from town residents.

“The only ethical choice for this board is Karen,” she said.

After two select board members resigned last month, town government was left in flux due to the lack of a quorum. With a petition to Merrimack Superior Court, Seidel was able to appoint Minton to join him on the board.

Once a third member is appointed, it will be back to business for the board, including addressing a lease with Warner Connects, the food pantry in town, which is still in limbo. Minton and Seidel agreed that they will address the contract once all three board seats are filled.

The food pantry, along with all community center tenants, has been asked to sign formal contracts with the town to lease the publicly-owned space. Previously, GearUp Homeschoolers had a memorandum of understanding with the town and paid an annual fee of $400. The Warner Connect food pantry was established in 2020 and had no formal agreement.

The select board has asked tenants to pay based on the cost to operate the building and the square footage of the space they occupy. After GearUp and Warner Connects indicated they will not be able to pay the $9.71 per square foot the board calculated, interim leases will be signed through December at a reduced rate before conversations about long-term solutions resume.

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