Golec chosen for vacant trustee seat

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BELLOWS FALLS — Stefan Golec has been a Bellows Falls village trustee for so long that he lost track of when he was first elected.

When Golec was appointed to the Bellows Falls Village Trustees Tuesday night to fill the vacancy created last month with the election of Deborah Wright as village president, he was vague about how long he had been on the board.

But Kerry Bennett, the village clerk, said Wednesday she had started research for a certificate of appreciation for Golec after he narrowly lost re-election during May's annual village meeting.

She said her research showed that Golec had been a village trustee continuously since 1996 - a stretch of 22 years - except for a month this spring.

Golec, who is also a member of the Rockingham Select Board, was the choice over two other candidates. Golec narrowly lost re-election to the Bellows Falls board, losing his longtime seat by two votes. He asked for a recount, but there was no change in the results.

On Tuesday night, Golec was appointed on a 3-0-1 vote, with village president Wright, trustees Jonathan Wright and Gary Lique voting for Golec over former Village President Myles Mickle and local business owner Chris Glennon.

Trustee James "Jiggs" McAuliffe abstained from voting.

Both Jonathan Wright and McAuliffe said they had concerns that Golec, if returned to the village trustee board, would have two votes on any major joint board decisions, and have a disproportionate voice in the major decisions. Instead of 10 people voting, there would only be nine, Wright said.

Both Jonathan Wright and McAuliffe said they didn't believe Golec having a seat on both the Rockingham board and the Bellows Falls board was a conflict of interest, but it made them uncomfortable.

Deborah Wright also said she had some concerns about the dual role, but she praised Golec's long work on behalf of the village.

"You all know me," said Golec. "I will passionately apply myself to the challenges we have," he said.

He acknowledged that some people view his dual role as a problem.

"Some see it as a conflict of interest. I see it as an asset," he said. Golec said he had also served the town as town constable, lister and currently selectman.

Now, he said, his priority and that of the town and village was fiscal responsibility. He said the restructuring of the Bellows Falls Village Fire Department, and the Saxtons River wastewater agreement were two agreements that he fully supported.

Mickle, when it was his turn to address the board, said the growing needs of his work had led him to decide not to seek re-election.

"But since the election, I know I can make myself available to help," he said. He said after the May election he had maintained his village commitments, serving on the manager search committee as well as the village ordinance committee.

Glennon did not attend Tuesday's meeting.

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