There are eight candidates for two seats on the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen: James Bodman, Robert Butler, Gordon Colby, Clinton Collamore Sr., Craig Cooley, Jeffrey Hurd, Abden Simmons and Melvin Williams.

The top two vote-getters will win three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen. The eight candidates introduced themselves and answered a few questions at a candidates night May 23 at the Miller School.

James Bodman works for Rockland Savings Bank in Waldoboro. He serves on the town’s Board of Appeals and is involved with the Waldoboro Business Association, the Union Chamber of Commerce and the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“I feel I can bring change to the board,” Bodman said. “I think the most important thing about my generation is we don’t always act on what we believe. The main reason I’m running is, instead of just sitting back and criticizing people, I’d like to jump in there and try to get some change going on. One of the big things Waldoboro really needs is economic growth.”

Why are you running for selectman? “One of the main things my father taught me is, if you want to do anything you have to roll up you sleeves and do it yourself,” Bodman said. “You can’t expect other people to do anything for you.”

Bodman said his two major issues are economic growth and transparency.

“And as a young person I have so many years ahead of me vested in this community that making it thrive today helps me tomorrow,” Bodman said.

What is the town’s biggest asset, and how would you improve it? “It’s definitely the people,” Bodman said. “I met a lot of good people at the visioning sessions from every walk of life. And every single one of them gave their input on how we should improve Waldoboro. That right there was just a good example of people getting together, getting their ideas out there and working on something, getting something done. That was great.”

On the town’s greatest liability, Bodman said it’s an inability to cope with change. “We need to stop having this the huge worry about the development of the Route 1 area,” Bodman said. “I think that’s a huge asset. I feel that that right there is the key to a thriving downtown.”

What is the town’s role in economic development? “The government’s role is limited and I think we should just limit the amount of restrictions that we put on businesses,” Bodman said.

Can townspeople afford the expected tax increase? And what would you do to balance the budget if it gets voted down? “Local taxes by themselves, yes, you can pay for it but everything together is a real burden on the townspeople,” Bodman said.

Should the public be allowed more input at selectmen’s meeting? “I think that’s up to the public,” Bodman said. He said people need to be respectful when it’s their turn to speak.

On why he would make a good selectman, Bodman cited a commitment to transparency. Bodman said he would listen to all sides of an issue. “And I’m young. I’ve got many years ahead of me,” Bodman said.

Robert Butler
currently serves on the Board of Selectmen. He is the owner and operator of The Jojoba Company.

He cited several issues that he wants to continue working on: restoring the fund balance, comprehensive plan, A.D. Gray property, labor union negotiations and town compensation and benefits, a town charter, and ordinances for methadone clinics and marijuana dispensaries.

Why are you running for selectman? “I’ve been effective as a selectmen for the past three years,” Butler said. “I’ve done a lot of things, accomplished a lot of things. …But there are more things to do. A lot of it is rolling up your sleeves and getting down and dirty and doing the nitty gritty that needs to be done.”

Butler said service on the board is a big time commitment.

What is the town’s biggest asset, and how would you improve it? “It’s the people who live here, that’s your biggest asset,” Butler said. “Can’t do anything with the river, can’t do anything with the Route 1 corridor unless you have people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and find ways of working with those things.”

On the town’s biggest liability, Butler said he wanted to think in terms of assets. “If you’re going to think in terms of liability, that’s a liability,” Butler said. “You’ve got to keep a positive attitude.”

What is the town’s role in economic development? “Limited,” Butler said. “Town’s don’t provide economic growth. And I use the word growth. I don’t like the word development. …Growth implies you’re fostering there what you have as assets. I think you do that by creating an atmosphere in the town that people find attractive. People come to Waldoboro because of the natural assets it has.”

Butler said connections develop growth. “That’s what creates a spark,” Butler said.

Can townspeople afford the expected tax increase? And what would you do to balance the budget if it gets voted down? “I can answer for myself, and the answer is yes,” Butler said. He blamed a school budget that he called “out of control.”

Should the public be allowed more input at selectmen’s meeting? Butler disagreed with the premise, and said there is already quite a bit of public comment. “I would venture that some of the quality of that input has been less than desirable but generally speaking it’s been constructive and helpful,” Butler said.

On why he would make a good selectman, Butler said he has a strong interest in the job and is approachable. “You do have to be absolutely honest. You have to have full integrity. You don’t want to hide things from anybody,” Butler said. “And you have to be willing to work really hard.”

Clinton Collamore Sr. is a self-employed commercial seafood harvester. He earned a bachelor of science degree in public administration from the University of Maine after working for 20 years at Bath Iron Works. He served for about 13 years on the Board of Selectmen.

Why are you running for selectman? “Economic development is very important today,” Collamore said. “We need to grow our economy locally. We need to find a way to attract business in our community, bearing in mind the businesses we currently have.”

He said another issue is the municipal charter, and has done a lot of research on the issue. “I think the process should be explored and considered for a public vote,” Collamore said. “Also as you know we have some employees that have organized and joined a union. So we will have negotiations coming up with some of the employees. I would like to be a part of that process. While at BIW I negotiated for over 5,000 shipbuilders. Finally, and very important to me, we need to create a relationship with the public, town employees, everyone in the community. There appears to be a lot of negativity surrounding our town. …A lot of good has been achieved in this town and we need to focus on that as well.”

What is the town’s biggest asset, and how would you improve it? “It’s the townspeople, the people in the town and the way to improve that is to create the relationship,” Collamore said. “And until we do that, nothing really happens.”

On the town’s biggest liability, Collamore noted the land use ordinance. “It’s got way too restrictive over the years,” Collamore said.

What is the town’s role in economic development? “We need to find a way to market the current businesses,” Collamore said. “There’s a lot of businesses here that people don’t know even exist.”

Collamore also noted that there are many empty buildings in town, although the town only owns the A.D. Gray building.

Can townspeople afford the expected tax increase? And what would you do to balance the budget if it gets voted down? “No, I don’t believe so,” Collamore said. “And to remedy that it’s the level of service that everyone wants. … The only way to truly fix it is, everything would have to be on the table.”

Should the public be allowed more input at selectmen’s meeting? “Absolutely. Any way you can draw more people to a meeting is certainly better,” Collamore said. The former chairman noted the importance of developing a two-way street with citizens and elected officials.

On why he would make a good selectman, Collamore said he is honest and hard working. He said as a former selectmen and someone who has run meetings, “Everyone gets a fair shot.”

Craig Cooley currently serves on the Board of Selectmen. He is a patrol officer and administrative assistant with the Rockport Police Department. He was on the board of directors of Maine School Administrative District 40 for three years.

“I am the conservative one. Been here 53 years,” said Cooley.

Why are you running for selectman? “The past 11 months have been a learning curve, and I’m still learning” Cooley said. “And I’m seeking re-election because I would like very much to serve for a three-year term to complete some of the goals to get Waldoboro back where it belongs.”

What is the town’s biggest asset, and how would you improve it? “Two of them — the river and the Route 1 corridor,” Cooley said. “We need to get business in there. Businesses that employ people, put people to work, pay taxes.”

On the town’s biggest liability, Cooley mentioned vacant buildings and the need to change.

What is the town’s role in economic development? “To get out and sell the town, sell the area, attract businesses, get them in here and get them interested,” Cooley said.

Can townspeople afford the expected tax increase? And what would you do to balance the budget if it gets voted down? “No,” Cooley said. “Go back and cut the budget. Make the necessary cuts.”

Should the public be allowed more input at selectmen’s meeting? “We have a lot of input from citizens, especially the last 11 months I’ve been on the board,” Cooley said. He said the current chairman has been very open to letting people speak.

On the characteristics that would make a good selectman, Cooley said, “Common sense would be one. Second one I bring is fiscal responsibility. And the third thing is, I tell it the way it is.”

Gordon Colby has lived in Waldoboro for 15 years. He manages a blueberry company in Union — 5,000 acres and 6 to 8 million pounds of blueberries processed each year. He is an organizer of the Maine Tea Party in the area.

“Over the last year it’s come to my attention that things are drastically wrong at the federal, state and municipal level and there’s only one way to fix it and that’s to get involved,” Colby said.

Why are you running for selectman? “I see a real lack of fiscal responsibility with the present board,” Colby said. “I asked them several months ago if they would consider going through the town department by department to figure out a way to cut the budget by 10 percent in each department …This was totally ignored. The other reason is I see a real lack of transparency with this select board. They seem to be very big on doing things in the dark of night. I question some of the ways they go into executive session. I honestly don’t believe they’re even legal. And I think it’s time the citizens of Waldoboro have a voice and understand what’s going on in their town.”

What is the town’s biggest asset, and how would you improve it? “I think the town’s biggest asset is its people and I think the way to develop it is to get them to be involved,” Colby said.

Colby said the town’s failure to get people involved is the biggest liability. “What we can do to fix it is develop transparency within the select board so that people will be encouraged and want to get involved and make a difference,” Colby said.

What is the town’s role in economic development? “The first thing is to find out if the town supports the economic development that we’re already, in the dark of night, spending to propagate,” Colby said. “I don’t know how many people are aware of the downtown redevelopment we’re spending money on.” He said stakeholders should put up some of the money for a downtown plan.

“We’re like the blind man on the corner with a tin cup with our hand out for every grant that comes down the road and all we end up doing is spending money and we don’t even know seriously if the people in town are behind us or not,” Colby said.

Can townspeople afford the expected tax increase? And what would you do to balance the budget if it gets voted down? “I think it’s pretty simple: no they can’t,” Colby said. “If it’s re-submitted, it should be under a lesser number.”

Should the public be allowed more input at selectmen’s meeting? Colby said the public has been allowed input at meetings. “I’ve always felt fairly comfortable being able to present my thoughts and concerns to the board,” Colby said. “I don’t think they’ve always listened to me … but I’ve never felt intimidated to not be able to speak.”

On why he would make a good selectman, Colby said he has integrity and is fair-minded. “I think I have organizational and leadership skills. I am here to listen and I like to try to understand every side of an issue before I come to any conclusions,” Colby said.

Jeffrey Hurd owns the Narrows Tavern and other businesses and buildings in town. He served on the Downtown Revitalization Committee in 2010. He ran for a seat on the Board of Selectmen last year.

“I feel there needs to be a higher level of accountability. Straightforward answers to straightforward questions,” Hurd said. “I feel the selectmen’s role is to vote what the townspeople feel versus personal opinions … hence we represent the townspeople and how they feel or think.”

Hurd said the town should decide: Is Waldoboro a large town or a small town. “If we answer that question perhaps we can find an answer to how we fund it,” Hurd said.

Why are you running for selectman? Hurd took a poke at the largely unexplained resignation and payout of the former town manager. He said he’s running for “personal reasons.”

“I’m pro-business for the most part and I feel there’s a lot of things we’re not doing to help out, downtown for instance,” Hurd said. “For seven years I’ve attempted to get a sign on Route 1 to say, ‘Hey — historic Waldoboro village over here.’ to the point where I’ve offered to pay for it.”

What is the town’s biggest asset, and how would you improve it? “I think the town’s biggest asset would be its history,” Hurd said. “Seems that we’re losing a lot of business because we’re not focusing on what we have. …If we focus on what we do have, the river being one of them, it seems like things would be a little easier to figure out.”

On the town’s biggest liability, Hurd said it was “our convenience store we call Hannaford.” “If we had a Hannaford of substantial size and measure, seven towns would flock to this town and that alone would draw people into this area and not go to Rockland or Damariscotta for basic needs,” Hurd said.

What is the town’s role in economic development? “We have to open it up to make it more business-friendly — again, signage would be tremendous,” Hurd said. “The opportunities are there, it’s just that no one is taking advantage of what we do have.”

Can townspeople afford the expected tax increase? And what would you do to balance the budget if it gets voted down? “If the department heads … give cuts to the select board, perhaps they should listen to them versus saying no,” Hurd said. “The town should be run like a business so to speak. Where things are overspent, then trim the fat.”

Should the public be allowed more input at selectmen’s meetings? “Of course,” Hurd said, who also noted that meetings should be held at a bigger location than the town office.

On why he would make a good selectman, Hurd said he’s a successful entrepreneur and tries very hard to help the town.

Abden Simmons, a commercial fisherman, has lived in Waldoboro most of his life. He is chairman of the Shellfish Conservation Committee and a member of the new town manager search committee.

“We have a river that’s the biggest producing river in the state,” Simmons said. “We produce the most clams. We produce about 10 percent of the product in the whole state. I’ve taken a passion to it. Now we have a real good shellfish committee that has put a lot of time and effort and a lot of volunteer effort into keeping this river productive.”

Simmons is also vice chairman of the Waldoboro Planning Board.

“Now I want to move up to the select board to continue to keep this river productive, and the issues in this town affect the river,” Simmons said.

Why are you running for selectman? “Some people in town don’t like change but we have to change into the way we want it to be,” Simmons said. “We can’t just stop it.”

What is the town’s biggest asset, and how would you improve it? “The clamming industry,” Simmons said. “We have the largest employer in town. To improve the river so guys can make a real good living down there. A hard-working living. That’s a big positive for this town. When clam diggers are down there making a lot of money, the town is thriving because those diggers are spending their money in the town.”

On the town’s biggest liability, Simmons said it was not being able to adapt to change. “We’re getting run over because no one wants to change,” Simmons said. “We’ve got to adapt to it.”

What is the town’s role in economic development? “We have too many restrictions on the books, but the problem is, sitting on the planning board, I’ve seen people come through the door with plans that, if we didn’t have [rules] in place they would exploit the stuff we do not have in there,” Simmons said.

Can townspeople afford the expected tax increase? And what would you do to balance the budget if it gets voted down? “I think they can, but like everyone else has said, they may not want to,” Simmons said. He said there were a few small cuts that should be made. “Even if it is $10,000 here, $5,000 there, if it isn’t needed, maybe we should be cutting,” Simmons said.

Should the public be allowed more input at selectmen’s meetings? “Yes I do but you’ve got to keep yourself under control too,” Simmons said. “I had an individual show up at my house Easter morning screaming and hollering about something that was said at the planning board. …You’ve got to bring yourself to the table and keep your composure and talk civil. …I think they should be heard but you’ve got to keep your composure.”

On why he would make a good selectman, Simmons said he’s made a lot of progress with the Shellfish Conservation Commission. He said he travels the state working on local clamming issues. “I have good negotiation skills with people that are unhappy with the situation,” Simmons said.

Melvin Williams is a dairy farmer — “the one dairy farmer on the east side of Route 1 in the state of Maine” — who is concerned with what people get for their tax dollars.

“If the town was run like a dairy farm, they’d be out of business,” Williams said. “Most of them are. I happen to be one of the successful ones.”

He said success comes from working hard. “I feel if I’m elected to the select board, I’m not in there to make change, I’m in there to make things better. We don’t have a tax problem, we have a spending problem.”

“An old timer told me, ‘If you watch the pennies, the dollars will watch themselves.’ I still believe that,” Williams said.

Why are you running for selectman? “In the last selectman’s race, there were 13 write-in votes,” Williams said. “I have no idea where they came from. But if there were 13, somebody wants me there.”

What is the town’s biggest asset, and how would you improve it? “The town’s biggest asset to me is its land,” Williams said. “That river is a big deal, makes a lot of money. But if there’s no land to get to that river, we’re out of luck. Being a farmer, somebody’s got to produce food. If you don’t have the land, we all starve. Hannaford’s — that food doesn’t come in a trailer-truck if it’s not produced off this earth.”

What is the town’s role in economic development? “I feel we need less restrictions on our land base,” Williams said. “There would be more business here if you let people build.”

Can townspeople afford the expected tax increase? And what would you do to balance the budget if it gets voted down? “I don’t believe the townspeople want to pay this increase but 80 percent of them will pay,” Williams said. “Our whole problem is the inflated dollar.” On part two of the question, he said, “We’ll have to make cuts.”

On the town’s biggest liability, Williams said it was vacant buildings and town-owned properties that do not generate tax revenue.

Should the public be allowed more input at selectmen’s meetings? “If the public wants to be there, I don’t see any problem,” Williams said.

On why he would make a good selectman, Williams said he has always strived to be a leader. “There isn’t a kid in South Waldoboro for the last 30 years who hasn’t worked for me,” Williams said. “And they keep coming back. I think I’ve been able to lead those kids and most of them are fairly straight. So I think I can lead the town.”

The election is Tuesday, June 14 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the town office/fire station.