HOPE — After finding himself the subject of controversy in town and after surviving a recall election, Select Board member Bruce Haffner may be running again in Hope.

Haffner has taken out nomination papers to seek another three-year term on the Select Board.

Haffner has been known for his strong opinions, especially about roads and snowplowing budgets. He has advocated during his term on the board for creating a town public works department to do this work rather than contracting the work out. He argues it would be cheaper to buy trucks and hire employees to do some of this work than paying a contractor. Other town officials are concerned about the costs of buying vehicles, pay and benefits for employees, and the need for a town garage among other concerns with the plan.

In June 2021, he was the subject of a recall election.

The petition to remove Haffner stated that he betrayed the trust placed in him in his position when: “He took it upon himself to undercut a majority Select Board decision on the roads budget because he disliked the outcome and so passed out misleading and unattributed flyers in a failed effort to have budget (sic) voted down,” and “He was caught on audio specifically threatening two elected town officials and a female town employee over whom he holds a supervisory role.”

It also states, “e-mails presented in the December 8th (2020) Select Board meeting indicate that he is an active participant in efforts to smear the town administrator and undermine confidence in town government.”

Finally, the petition document states he discussed confidential personnel issues in public even though he had been warned not to.

The audio is a recording that was made of Haffner talking to Mike Ames on the phone without Haffner knowing it was being recorded, right before the election in 2020 in which the roads budget would be decided. Haffner said at one point, “The deck was stacked against me from the beginning, and I’m going to take these guys down.”

Ames asked who he was talking about.

Haffner answered Town Administrator Samantha Mank, then Select Board Vice Chair Brian Powers and Road Commissioner John Monroe.

Haffner has argued that he meant taking them down in the political context, defeating them at the polls, not physically threatening them.

Haffner’s term on the Select Board survived the recall effort… barely. Townspeople split evenly on whether to recall him in the June 8 election with a vote of 128 to 128.

If he returns the required signatures by April 15, they will be voting on him again this year.

There are two Select Board positions up for election, his and the seat held by Wendy Pelletier.

Nomination papers for these positions are available at the town office.

Four budget committee seats are also up for election. Three are three-year seats currently held by Betty Ingraham, Charles Weidman and Teresa Withee. The remaining year of former committee member Elinor Goldberg’s term is also up for election.

A Hope School Committee seat held by Jacob Eichenlaub and a Five Town CSD school board seat held by James Pierce are also up for election.

 

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