TOWNSEND -- Two candidates for town clerk and three candidates for the Board of Water Commissioners vied for votes last Thursday at the town's annual candidates night debate.

Although the debate focused primarily on the four selectmen candidates, contenders in all three races took the opportunity to explain why they should be elected on April 28.

The town clerk race is between Finance Committee Chairwoman Nancy Rapoza and Assistant Town Clerk Kathy Spofford.

Rapoza said her work as a human resources manager has given her experience dealing with laws and other regulations, as well as technological know-how, which would serve her well as town clerk.

"I'm willing to admit when I don't know something and smart enough to figure out where to find the needed information, whether it's looking up a specific Massachusetts general law, contacting a neighboring town clerk or the secretary of state's office," Rapoza said.

Rapoza recommended updating the website more frequently

"The website is a valuable tool that should be used to post information as well as meeting agendas and minutes for all boards, committees and commissions," Rapoza said.

Her other priority, she said, would be providing a high level of customer service to all town residents.

"A critical piece of the position is the customer service. I pride myself on treating everyone who comes through my door or calls me on the phone in a respectful and professional manner," Rapoza said.

Spofford said that her seven years of experience as the assistant town clerk make her the best person for the job, as she has to act as the town clerk whenever the current clerk is not present.

"Over the past six years, I have become a notary public and a commissioner to qualify, I am in the process of earning the status of certified municipal clerk and have all my experience, credits and almost half of my educational credits toward that goal," Spofford said.

Spofford said she loves her job and hopes to continue as a familiar face providing services to the people of Townsend.

"Working in the town clerk's office is great. It's always busy, there are always new things to love, and our laws are being tweaked and changed constantly," Spofford said.

Three candidates for the Board of Water Commissioners also made their cases to voters -Michael MacEachern, Patrick MacFarlane and Andrea Wood.

MacEachern has worked at the Townsend water department for the last 17 years.

"I feel that my experience with the system and attending the water commissioner meetings and knowing what's going on on a day-to-day basis, I'd be a good candidate for water commissioner, because it's all about the water tankers and being a team up there at the water department to make all the right decisions and continue to make things better," MacEachern said.

MacFarlane has lived in Townsend for the last 19 years, and has a background in financial management. He said his priorities would be to maintain quality while keeping water costs low.

"I'm a customer first of all and I want to ensure that we continue to maintain the quality that I think we have now," MacFarlane said.

MacFarlane said he would also like to promote water conservation if elected, and preemptively look into risks to the water supply.

Andrea Wood was appointed last year to fill a vacancy on the Board of Water Commissioners, and also serves on the Finance and Capital Planning Committees.

She said that after years of moving from city to city with her husband, who was in the Army, Wood said her first taste of local government in action came when attending her first Town Meeting after moving to Townsend 40 years ago.

"I've been in love with local government ever since that," she said.

She praised the town's water quality and the department's hard-working staff, but said that when she took the position, some processes in the office had fallen by the wayside. In the last year, she said progress has been made in making the office more efficient.

"We've still got some things we have to work on, but we've made some real headway, and I want to continue making headway at the water department," Wood said.

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