Annual Town Elections are Monday in Ayer, Pepperell and Townsend. There are important races in each town and often, more than one good candidate from which to choose.
Ayer has two key contested races: Board of Selectmen and town clerk/collector.
This year is unique in Ayer because of the voters' decision to return to a three-member board from the five members currently allotted. There are five candidates for three seats. Like musical choices, two of these candidates will be standing when the available three seats are filled.
Our picks are Gary Luca, Chris Hillman and Jannice Livingston. Of the five candidates, we believe these three work well together. There will be disagreements, as there should be, but we expect that all will respectfully and transparently conduct the people's business.
In the clerk/collector race, incumbent John Canney is being challenged by Susan Copeland, current finance assistant for the town of Harvard.
Our pick is Copeland. In Harvard, she works with the treasurer/collector, town clerk and finance director and has other applicable skills and experience that would aid her in taking over the Ayer position.
There have been some issues with the current clerk/collector that cause concern, most significant among them a failure to post the town's new sex offender law that allowed a sex offender to live in what was supposed to be a prohibited area. When asked about that at the recent debate, Canney refused to answer. Bad answer.
Our pick for town clerk is Anna MacDonald due to her municipal experience, which the other candidates lack.
For treasurer/collector, we like the current office-holder, Debbie Nutter, who is competent, enthusiastic and already in the job.
For selectman, our pick is retired fire chief Don Klein.
One of the biggest decisions facing the town is whether to move forward with construction of a new fire headquarters and if so, what form should it take.
The town will welcome a new chief soon but he does not come from Townsend. We would like to see someone at the town's helm who understands not just firefighting but firefighting and firefighters in Townsend. Klein is that person, plus he has significant financial expertise and experience and works well with others, win-wins in our book.
In the race for town clerk, the clear choice for us is Kathy Spofford. She's the assistant town clerk now and has earned the right to step up.
Whoever you decide to vote for, get out and vote. People have fought and died to give you that right.