Gough captures Selectboard seat in Phillipston Town Election

Nicole Gough of Phillipston is seeking a one-year seat on the town's Selectboard.

Nicole Gough of Phillipston is seeking a one-year seat on the town's Selectboard. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

By GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 05-21-2024 3:28 PM

PHILLIPSTON –In her first foray into local politics, Nicole Gough won Monday’s Town Election to fill a one-year term on the Selectboard, besting Earl Sweat, a member of the Board of Assessors

Gough won by only 26 votes, earing 123 votes to Sweat’s 97. A total of 235 of Phillipston’s 1,410 registered voters – just under 17% – turned out for Monday’s election.

Both candidates were running to complete the remaining year on the term of former board member Dan Sanden, who resigned in January for personal reasons.

Contacted Tuesday morning, Gough said she was “so excited” to get Town Clerk Karin Foley’s call Monday night informing her of her victory.

“I’m still in a bit of shock,” she said. “I honestly wasn’t really expecting this to happen my first time as a candidate. I now have a lot of responsibility on my plate, but I look forward to the challenges. I also look forward to getting to know the people of Phillipston better and of bringing some new ideas to the board. I’m excited for this next chapter and intend to represent the people of the town to the best of my ability.”

Gough will join current Selectboard Chair Bernie Malouin, who was unopposed in his bid for re-election to a full three-year term, and board member Gerhard Fandreyer. There were no other contested races on Monday’s ballot.

Voters defeated a proposed $175,000 Proposition 2 ½ override by a vote of 89-145. As a result, town officials must now determine how best to trim down the approximately $2.7 million FY25 budget approved at the recent Annual Town Meeting.

The amount that needs to be cut is less than the $175,000 sought through the override. At Town Meeting a building/groundskeeper position – which paid $35,000 a year – was cut and Administrative Assistant Melanie Jackson’s annual salary was reduced by nearly $13,000.

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Jackson said the Selectboard and Finance Committee have scheduled joint meetings for May 23, 30, and June 6 to determine how and where to make the necessary cuts. If all goes according to plan, a Special Town Meeting will be held on June 26, just four days before the start of the new fiscal year.

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com.