Incumbent returned to Board of Water Commissioners in Wareham Fire District election
After a quiet day at the polls in the Wareham Fire District annual election on Saturday, incumbent Board of Water Commissioners member Rick England will serve another three-year term.
This year, he faced a challenge from longtime Prudential Committee member Ken Baptiste, who has served on that board for 12 years. England is also a member of the Prudential Committee and will serve on both boards. England earned 199 votes to Baptiste’s 88 while three people submitted blank ballots.
The district, which provides water and fire service, is governed independently from the town. The Onset Fire District, a separate entity, provides those same services for Onset residents and is also self-governed. Prudential Committee members oversee the fire department’s budget while Water Commissioners provide oversight for the water department.
England was first elected three-years ago. After the results were announced he thanked voters.
“It was a good win and I’m happy with the turnout. I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to come out and vote for me,” said England. “I promise to do my best in the job.”
Officials faced criticism from voters at the district’s annual meeting held on April 9. Many questioned the district’s finances, a proposed 16 percent increase to the budget and a couple of multi-million dollar requests, including a new ladder truck and water meter readers.
Both of the requests were shot down. After not receiving adequate answers on proposed pay increases for the fire department’s three highest paid employees, the chief, 1st assistant chief and 2nd assistant chief, the meeting was continued to April 30.
Saturday’s election featured the district’s first contested race in five years. In 2013, current Clerk/Treasurer Wendy Lemieux won the position, defeating Marybeth Fernandes. In total, 294 people cast ballots on Saturday. Last year, 74 people turned out for the election.
“There were no issues to speak of today,” said Lemieux. “And we had a pretty good turnout.”