By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILMANTON — Steve McWhinnie edged Don Guarino by a dozen votes, 513 to 501, and Marshall Bishop topped Brett Currier by 554 to 477 to claim the two seats on the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday's ballot.
McWhinnie was elected to a three-year term and Bishop to a one-year term. They will join incumbent Michael Jean on what promises to be a selectboard of three like-minded members.
Bishop, who served as a combat photographer in the United States Marine Corps and worked at the Department of Public Works in Gilford, tends a vineyard and operates the Gilmanton Winery and Restaurant with his wife, Sunny, at the former home of celebrated novelist Grace Metalious. A longtime resident of the town, McWhinnie , like Bishop served in the Marine Corps before owning and operating a heating and air conditioning business. He now describes himself as semi-retired and enjoying the company of his donkey.
Guarino said yesterday that he has not decided whether or not to request a recount while noting that little more than a handful of votes would have to change hands to reverse the result.
"I was disappointed when saw the results for the selectmen," he said, "and became more disappointed by the vote not to not to ban biosolids, and was really disappointed by the vote not to replace a police cruiser."
Two petitioned warrant articles bearing on conflicts of interests, which together represented a subtext of the dissension among the selectmen and division within the town following the resignation of Steve McCormack and the appointment of Rachel Hatch to replace him, carried by comfortable margins.
The first prohibits anyone from serving on either the Board of Selectmen or the Budget Committee while a member of their immediate family or household was head of a department in the town. This article was aimed at Currier, whose son Matt serves as the Police Chief in Gilmanton. The article passed by a vote of 580 in favor and 437 against.
The second prohibits employees of both the town and the school district from serving as a member of either the selectboard or the Budget Committee. This article was aimed at Hatch, whose appointment to succeed McCormack sparked controversy. The article carried by a vote of 575 to 441.