The open At-Large seat on the Watertown Town Council has drawn significant interest from potential candidates, meanwhile, there are not enough candidates to fill the openings on the Board of Library Trustees.
On Nov. 5, 2019, Watertown residents will vote for Town Council, School Committee and Library Trustees.
Eight of nine Town Councilors have taken out papers to run for Town Council, and the last seat is currently filled by a temporary councilor. Former-Councilor Susan Falkoff agreed to fill the remainder of the term left vacant when Michael Dattoli left town, and she agreed not to run for reelection.
So far, seven people have taken out papers to run for the four Councilor At Large seats. This includes incumbents Tony Palomba, Anthony Donato and Caroline Bays. Challenger James Mello is the only one to get his signatures certified by the Town Clerk’s office. Mello has worked on campaigns in Town in the pas, but this is the first time he has run for seat on a Town elected board. Others who have pulled papers include former Town Council President Clyde Younger, ZBA member and former town attorney John Gannon, and Michelle Cokonougher, who also ran in 2017.
Town Council President Mark Sideris, and the four district councilors, Angeline Kounelis, Lisa Feltner, Vincent Piccirilli, and Ken Woodland have all pulled papers. Kounelis and Woodland have had their signatures certified. The only one, so far, who may face a challenger is Woodland. Ninos Hanna has pulled papers to run in District D (West Watertown).
The School Committee currently has three people running for three spots. Two are incumbents — Kendra Foley and Lindsay Mosca — while the third is a previous candidate for School Committee and Town Council, David Stokes. He had pulled papers to run for Council, but instead withdrew to run for School Committee.
It appears Stokes could fill the open seat of longtime School Committee member Eileen Hsu-Balzer. She pulled papers, but has since withdrawn, said Town Clerk John Flynn.
The Board of Library Trustees has has contested races the last two elections, but currently there are not enough candidates for the number of openings . Incumbent Shep Ferguson pulled papers to run, as did challenger Mara Dolan, but there are three openings on the board this year. Incumbents Tim Tracy and Penelope Peoples have not yet pulled papers, Flynn said.
If a vacancy remains after the Town Election, Flynn said, the seat will likely be filled in a special election held at the same time as the Massachusetts Presidential Primary in March 2020.
The deadline for candidates to get their signatures certified is Monday, July 29, 2019 at 5 p.m. Candidates must get at least 100 signatures of registered Watertown voters. No more than 50 can be from one of the town’s four districts, unless the person is running for district councilor.