Selectmen say all three candidates are qualified
By George Morse
SEEKONK - The position of town moderator wasn’t filled by the board of selectmen last week and is currently on track to remain vacant until the next annual town meeting on May 27.
After kicking around a number of options, the selectmen decided they will let residents pick their moderator when the town meeting opens up. Before any discussion takes place on any warrant article, an election will be held to determine who will lead the meeting.
Former town moderator David Parker, who previously served the post for 17 years, has stepped down from the position after being elected to the board of selectmen in April. Before choosing to let the moderator be picked at town meeting, the selectmen had considered making the appointment themselves. They asked any town residents who might be interested to submit talent bank forms to the town administrator’s office. When three candidates dropped off the forms, the selectmen unanimously voted to let the people of Seekonk decide who will run the May meeting.
The three candidates who dropped off talent bank forms included Michael Durkay, chairman of the Seekonk Public Library Board of Trustees, Seekonk Police Department Sergeant and member of the Memorial Day Parade committee Michelle Hines and Harold Devine, who previously served as town moderator before Mr. Parker’s tenure.
Ultimately, however, the town will be able to nominate and elect whoever they wish to the position. Mr. Parker said allowing residents to pick their moderator would be the best way to go after the three talent bank forms came in. He said initially he was worried that if the decision was simply left to town meeting, without any talent bank forms being solicited, no one would show up to volunteer for the spot. When three candidates stepped forward, Mr. Parker’s concerns were alleviated, though it didn’t make a potential selection any easier.
“The three names before us tonight would all make excellent moderators,” Mr. Parker said. “I can’t decide.”
Mr. Parker also said that since the town moderator position is an elected one, a selectmen appointment of the individual after town meeting would be representative of the peoples’ will. Selectman Michael Brady said he’d be “moved” by what voters decide at the meeting, but not “compelled” by it. Mr. Brady said he’d like to wait and see how the moderator performs before making an appointment.