Friday, March 7, 2014
By Kaitlin Schroeder firstname.lastname@example.org
A Farmington selectman unexpectedly announced he plans to resign Tuesday night, citing personal reasons.
Selectman Andrew Hufnagel said Wednesday his resignation will be effective after the annual Town Meeting on March 24.
“I wish the best of luck to the current board,” he said.
A special election probably will be held June 10 to pick a replacement at the same time as the statewide primary elections, said Chairman Ryan Morgan.
Morgan said that after Hufnagel is gone and before the election, the board will have to hold votes with four members.
“It makes it tricky on some of the items where there could be a split vote,” he said. The board frequently has split its votes 3-2, with Hufnagel, Morgan and Josh Bell voting together and Dennis Pike and Jessica Berry voting together.
Morgan said the board discussed whether Hufnagel’s seat could be filled by election at Town Meeting along with seats held by selectmen Pike and Berry, whose terms are lapsing. He said, however, that the rules governing the board call for a special town election, allowing time for public notice.
Pike, Stephan Bunker and Andy Buckland all have filed to run for the two open seats. The last day to apply for the spots was Wednesday.
Hufnagel is vice president of the board and once his resignation is official, he will have served one year of his second term on the board, which would have ended in 2016.
Hufnagel also was on the Franklin County budget committee last budget cycle, which is made up of selectmen in the county, though once he is no longer on the board, he will not be on the committee.
Morgan said that as the chairman, he appreciated Hufnagel’s ideas for the town.
“Drew has done a good job. He researches and looks into things and brings a different angle to the board,” he said.
As a selectman, Hufnagel moved to reduce town spending by approving removing the option of funding nonprofit groups from the Town Meeting warrant, recommending decreasing the library’s budget request this year and recommending reducing or flat-funding most department budgets.
He also supported initiatives intended to promote business, including reducing the sewer hookup rates, which was approved, and forming an economic development committee, which was later turned down for lack of interest.
He didn’t have an opportunity by Tuesday’s meeting to prepare a statement on his resignation, but said he planned to write a letter to the editor of the Morning Sentinel and other area newspapers explaining the decision.
Hufnagel also initiated the 3-2 board vote to remove selectmen’s endorsement of Town Manager Richard Davis for a position as a mentor of town managers with the Maine Municipal Association. Hufnagel said at the time he wanted Davis to focus his time on town, not outside commitments.
Hufnagel was born and raised in New Jersey and moved with his wife to Farmington in 2000, according to his biography on the town website.
Hufnagel said in the biography that he feels honored that the residents trusted him with the well-being of the town by electing him.
“I have had the pleasure of meeting so many hardworking, honest individuals with such diverse backgrounds,” he wrote. “My fellow board members, town manager, department heads and employees take great pride in providing Farmington citizens with the best possible services we can afford.”Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252