MEREDITH — Despite repeated denials from all concerned, charges persist that one or more members of the Board of Selectmen acted in concert to ensure that Hillary Seeger was the only candidate who filed to succeed Herb Vadney on the board.
The backbiting began earlier this month when, in letters printed in local newspapers, Rosemary Landry said that Vadney, who never publicly announced his decision not to seek re-election, told her after the filing period closed that "the board wanted Hillary." Landry had told Vadney that had he disclosed his intentions earlier she and others could have run for his seat.
Vadney has not only flatly denied making the remark but also openly doubted the selectmen would anoint a candidate. Nevertheless, Landry reasserted her claim in a letter that appeared in The Daily Sun on Saturday. "Many untruths have filled the space in the news around the Meredith selectman election and I do not appreciate being the scapegoat," she wrote. "So I repeat, what I wrote was the truth, regardless of what officials are saying."
Among today's letters, Karen Sticht writes "I know Hillary Seeger was recruited by Carla Horne to become a candidate" and presumes that she would not have done so unless she knew that Vadney had decided not to run.
Vadney said yesterday that he spoke to one other than Nate Torr, the chairman of the Selectboard, about his intentions. He said there were two conversations, one in early January when he indicated he probably would not run for re-election and another a week or so later, at Torr's home, when he told the chairman he would not run.
Torr confirmed the two conversations with Vadney and insists he did not share them to any other member of the board.
Meanwhile, Seeger after working on Christopher Boothby's primary campaign for the Republican nomination to the Executive Council in District 1, became interested in running for the Selectboard. Horne said that Seeger, who she knew from participating in the Got Lunch! program together, approached her. Horne said that she assumed Vadney would run, but encouraged Seeger to enter the race all the same. Seeger, who was attending a funeral in West Virginia during part of the filing period, returned and filed her candidacy on January 30, a day before it closed.
"I thought I was running against Herb Vadney," she said yesterday.
Seeger commented that the controversy surrounding her candidacy did not arise until after she publicly endorsed Democrat Michael Cryans over Republican Joe Kenney in the special election for the Executive Council, nearly a month after the filing period for the seat on the Selectboard closed. About the same time Landry mounted a write-in campaign for selectman on behalf of Dave Sticht, who insisted he was not running but agreed to serve if elected. Last week Seeger was elected, with 518 votes to 185 votes for Sticht, and yesterday took her seat on the Board of Selectmen.