The Hebron Town Board has a different look following a resignation, an appointment and a change in the election results after absentee ballots were counted.
Ed Harrington has been named to the board to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Tom Rogers, and incumbent B. Martin Warner remains on the board even though he appeared to have lost in November’s election.
That leaves Robert Nailor, an apparent winner on Election Day out in the cold.
The board voted 3-1 to appoint Harrington to a one-year term to replace Rogers, who resigned his position in October over potential legal issues stemming from his work for the Washington County Board of Elections as a Republican deputy commissioner.
The remaining members of the board are Supervisor Brian Campbell, George Flint and incumbent James Nelson, who was the top vote-getter on Election Day.
The board considered four candidates for the one-year position, including Nailor, but the choice went to Harrington.
Nailor had expected to be on the board after Election Night, but after absentee ballots were tallied, Nailer went from leading incumbent Warner, 183-177, to losing the election by three votes, 199-196. While absentee ballots typically break in proportion to the rest of the votes cast in an election, officials said it was not unusual for them to break heavily in favor of an incumbent.
Martin took in 22 absentee ballot votes while Nailor took 13; Nelson, who was re-elected, also added 23 absentee votes to his total.
Campbell said the decision to appoint Harrington was a difficult one as all four applicants for the job were well qualified.
“The hardest part was getting three votes,” Campbell said. Initially, Nelson made a motion to appoint Nailor, but the motion received no second. Board member George Flint then made a motion naming Harrington, which was seconded by Warner with Campbell casting the deciding vote approving the new board member.
Harrington will begin his one-year appointed term Jan. 1, 2012.
The board adjourned to executive session during the meeting and spoke with each of the four applicants for the open seat.
Harrington will have to run again in the fall of 2012 if he wants to remain on the board. Anyone running for the seat would be running for the remaining year on Rogers’ term, board members said.
“Ed was on the board back in the 80s so he knows how things work,” Campbell said. “The decision was a tough one; the candidates were all well qualified. We want to thank everyone for their interest in the town council position,” Campbell said.
Rogers said Monday night he chose to resign rather than have the town incur possible legal fees in determining if he could continue on the board.
Since he works for the County Board of Elections Rogers said he was prohibited from making decisions involving Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds or from counting ballots at the local level due to his job.
The federal HAVA funds pay for changing out old-style mechanical level-type voting machines into the new electronic machines. “It didn’t make sense to spend money on lawyers; I resolved the issue by resigning,” Rogers said.
Prior to the executive session two members of the public spoke, both expressing support for Nailor. Resident Harold Simpson told the board he thought because Nailor campaigned and received votes so he should be appointed. “He ran and came close so I think he should get the job, the board should take that under consideration,” Simpson said.