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DeWitt, Kurth appointed to Mt. Abe board

BRISTOL — The Bristol Elementary School board on Monday filled two vacancies on the Mount Abraham Union High School board.
Members of the local board interviewed the three candidates who submitted letters of interest at the meeting and then appointed Douglas DeWitt and Alicia Kurth, board vice chair Kelly Laliberte said. Joanne Casey was the third applicant.
Laliberte said it was a “hard decision,” and said the board wanted to select candidates that would have the fewest conflicts of interest while serving. Such conflicts would include having a spouse or relative on the district payroll, or being a member of the teachers union, Laliberte said.
DeWitt already has some experience on the board. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in 2012, but declined to run for election to the remainder of that term this past March after learning his wife had cancer.
“After she was diagnosed I backed down from running,” DeWitt said in an interview Tuesday. “Now she’s doing much better and I’m looking forward to serving with Alicia.”
DeWitt has two children, one attends Bristol Elementary and the other Mount Abraham. Kurth has two children at Mount Abraham.
The two vacancies were created when Dick Merrill and Gary Farnsworth, both Bristol residents, resigned from the 13-member board this fall before the completion of their terms. The Bristol Elementary board was charged with filling the vacancies.
DeWitt and Kurth will serve until Town Meeting Day next year, at which point they will have to be elected to serve the balance of their terms. Farnsworth’s term expires in 2014, so the member that fills his seat will run for his or her own three-year term. Merrill’s term runs through 2016, so the person that replaces him will run for the remaining two years of that term.
Laliberte said she did not know which seats DeWitt and Kurth will occupy. If they are interested in serving out their yet-to-be-determined terms, the pair will have to secure a petition containing the signatures of 1 percent of the registered voters in Bristol. Since there are about 2,700 registered voters, petitions would require 27 signatures. They must be filed by Jan. 27 in order to appear on the Town Meeting Day ballot, Town Clerk Therese Kirby said.

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