Bernardston votes ‘no’ to selling pot, changes town clerk to an elected position at Town Election

Recorder Staff
Published: 5/8/2018 12:59:13 PM

Bernardston voters have chosen to prohibit the sale of marijuana in their town.

But the action taken in the annual Town Election this week, by a vote of 158 to 144, isn’t the final word.

The prohibition must be ratified at Town Meeting in June before it can become law. Town Coordinator Hugh Campbell said that in case the Town Meeting warrant on prohibiting the sale of marijuana fails, there will be several contingency articles having to do with where in town marijuana will be sold and how it will be taxed.

“There’s still some ifs,” Campbell said.

Voters on Monday also decided to change the office of the town clerk from an elected position to an appointed one, voting 183 to 105. As a result, the town clerk will now serve at the pleasure of the Selectboard.

“It was what was needed,” said Town Clerk Paul Luther. “I’m looking forward to helping the town make the transition.”

Last week Luther said that he was in favor of the change, explaining: “The risk of (an unqualified person being elected) in any key positions is frankly too high.”

With a total of 308 votes cast, representing about 20 percent of Bernardston’s registered voters, Luther said that this was the largest turnout for a town election since 2005.

Several positions were filled as well:

Selectman, three-year term: Stanley D. Garland (incumbent).

Assessor, three-year term: William J. Young (incumbent);

Board of Health, three-year term: Linda C. MacKinnon;

Constable, three-year term: Peter A. Shedd (incumbent);

Four Cushman Library trustees, all three-year terms: Cathryn Marie Thomas (incumbent), Robert B. Keir (incumbent), Susan Beth Tormanen, Karen L. Fitzpatrick;

Four Powers Institute trustees, all three-year terms: Kenneth Richard Bordewieck (incumbent), Janice F. Deane (incumbent), William H. Shores (incumbent), Louella B. Atherton (incumbent);

Two Recreation Commission members, both three-year terms: Clayton Cardin, Kelly Burgh.

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