October 2, 2013

Waterville council names Bickford to Ward 2 seat

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — Zackary Bickford is the new city councilor representing Ward 2, as councilors tonight voted 3–2 to appoint him.

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Zackary Bickford

Staff file photo by David Leaming

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Shirleyanne Ratajczak

Contributed photo

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Bickford, 25, of Ash Street, is an Army veteran who works at his family business, Scotty's Pizza, on Water Street in the city's South End.

The council chose Bickford over the only other candidate who expressed interest in the seat, Shirleyanne Ratajczak, 66, a retired teacher and current substitute teacher.

Bickford, who took his seat shortly after being elected, will serve only until Jan. 1, when Edward Lachowicz, 32, is expected to be sworn in. Lachowicz is the only name on the Nov. ballot for the Ward 2 seat and is expected to be elected.

Bickford replaces Michael Owens, who resigned from the seat in early September when he moved out of the ward.

City Clerk Patti Dubois said the deadline has passed for more names to be placed on the ballot, or for someone to run as a write-in candidate.

Councilors Rosemary Winslow, D-Ward 3, John O'Donnell, D-Ward 5, and Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, voted to appoint Bickford; Council Chairman Erik Thomas, D-Ward 4, and former chairman Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1, voted against it.

Thomas said it did not make sense to choose someone to attend just five meetings between now and Jan. 1.

"I move to table until the council meeting the day after the election, to see if Ed (Lachowicz) has a chance to rectify his situation by the time the election rolls around and wants to submit his name," Thomas said.

He was referring to the fact that Lachowicz doesn't live in Ward 2 now but lived in it when he asked to have his name appear on the November ballot.

City Manager Michael Roy said Lachowicz said he plans to be living back in Ward 2 by Jan. 1.

Thomas' motion to table was defeated 3–2. He and Stubbert voted to table, with Winslow, O'Donnell and Rancourt-Thomas opposing the recommendation.

O'Donnell then nominated Bickford, with both Rancourt-Thomas and Winslow seconding his motion.

"We have an obligation to the citizens of Ward 2 to have the representation, even if it's for five weeks," Rancourt-Thomas said. "It's our duty."

A Lawrence high School graduate, Bickford said he lived part time in Waterville as a youth, as his parents were divorced. He served in the Army from 2006 to 2009, attaining the rank of specialist.

Bickford told councilors he wants to be more involved in the community. He said he realizes he would be serving on the council only temporarily, but that is fine.

He said he has acquired management skills at the family business and has worked on budgets and done stocking and ordering.

"Any experience with generating money?" Mayor Karen Heck asked, to laughter from the chambers. "We could use some of that."

"Yes," Bickford replied.

Ratajczak said she sought the seat because the prospect had been on the back burner in her brain for the past several years.

Ratajczak has a master's degree in arts administration and taught both art and gifted and talented programs before retiring. A native of Philadelphia, she has lived in Waterville 40 years and raised her children here, she said.

"I see Waterville as being a central Maine arts center because that is my background and I've been here for quite some time," she said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
acalder@mainetoday.com

 

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