Lyman wins seat on Gilford Board of Fire Engineers, Demko is upset winner over Mello-Andrews in school board election
Published DateGILFORD — John "Jack" Lyman will be the new member of the Bord of Fire Engineers, defeating Budget Committee member Philip "Pat" LaBonte yesterday by a vote of 427 to 332.
Although relations between the two men were never hostile, LaBonte created some controversy with the current board for his criticism of how the Fire Department maintained its vehicles and over whether or not the town should repair Engine 4.
While ultimately LaBonte and Budget Committee members Kevin Leandro and David Horvath — who was reelected to the BudCom last night — prevailed in getting the town to repair the 25-year-old pumper tanker, it appears a majority of those voting rejected his further participation in the affairs of the Fire Department.
Lyman is also a "truck guy." He said he doesn't know a lot about firefighting but he knows about management and heavy equipment. He said he was encouraged to run by board Chair Bill Akerley.
Current Fire Engineer Phil Brouillard chose not to seek election after being a fire engineer for 18 years. Brouillard said he felt it was time for some new blood to join the Board of Engineers.
In a related article, voters narrowly rejected (387 to 370) changing the formula by which the Fire Department equipment fund and the town split the revenues from the revolving ambulance revenue account. The formula, which is to give the town 60 percent and the fire department 40 percent will stay the same. The warrant article wanted the town to get 40 percent and the Fire Department to get 60 percent.
In other Gilford election news, voters overwhelmingly said "no" to Warrant Article 26 that would have split the position of Town Clerk-Tax Collector into two positions, giving the Board of Selectmen more control over the office.
Selectmen initially suggested the change but after hearing a considerable amount of vocal opposition at the Gilford Deliberative Session decided not to recommend passage.
Voters also supported giving money to the outside agencies including Genesis Behavioral Health, Children and Family Services, the Community Action Program, New Beginnings and the Visiting Nurses Association despite the fact that none of the appropriations were supported by the selectmen or the Budget Committee.
On the school side, challenger Allan Demko defeated incumbent School Board member Rae Mello-Andrews. With three people running for two spots, incumbent Karen Thurston got 541 votes, Demko garnered 423 and Mello-Andrews got 359.
Demko was one of the people who tossed his name in the hat a few years ago when Derek Tomlinson resigned. Though not chosen at the time, he was elected in his own right last night.
Demko is a former business administrator for the Winnisquam Regional School District.