WINDHAM – The Windham Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint Peter Anania to fill the at-large seat vacated in November by the resignation of former council Chairman Bill Tracy.

Anania is the owner of several South Windham businesses, including antenna maker mWave Industries, Maine Cedar Log Homes and Industrial Microwave Oven Services. He also owns MEGA Industries in Gorham, a manufacturer of radiowave equipment.

Anania said he is excited to be appointed to serve out the remaining year of the term, and said he would not run for the office when the seat comes up for grabs in November 2011.

“I’m honored to be chosen,” Anania said. “I don’t intend to run in November. It’s just to step in and bring some of these issues forward and to bring some stability to the council.”

With the appointment, the council is back to full strength following about four months that saw bitter infighting among councilors, culminating in the resignations of Tracy and Carol Waig and the withdrawal of Donna Chapman from Nov. 2’s election.

Town Clerk Linda Morrell administered the oath of office to Anania at the end of Tuesday night’s regular meeting and prior to the start of a workshop, where town attorney Ken Cole III briefed councilors the town charter and their duties under Maine’s Right to Know law.

Anania was one of three Windham residents who applied for the position. The other two were Lawrence McDonald and longtime Planning Board member David Nadeau, both of whom lost their bids for election to the council in November.

Among the issues Anania intends to pursue is a sewer for North Windham and Windham Center. The $67.8 million project has been a stated goal of Councilor Peter Busque, who was pleased with Anania’s appointment.

“I think it’s just what we needed to keep our momentum going,” Busque said.

Anania has not served in elected office before and said he’s “looking forward to it.”

Councilor John MacKinnon, who made the motion to appoint Anania, said Anania was “the best candidate in terms of addressing each councilor’s concerns.”

MacKinnon also said the council, which he said is trying to reverse its fractured image of the past few months, had reached consensus prior to the vote and that Anania was the unanimous choice. The council met with and discussed the three candidates in a closed-door session held last week.

“We’re trying to avoid an illusion of a divided council,” MacKinnon said. “All of us felt it was important to start out with the perception we are working together.”

Councilor Kevin Call seconded MacKinnon’s motion, saying afterward, “I think he’s a great fit for this council.”

Councilor Tommy Gleason, who said prior to the 6-0 vote that the appointment process was flawed but for cohesion’s sake voted for Anania’s appointment, said after the meeting that “the council was faced with two well-qualified gentlemen,” referring to Anania and Nadeau.

Asked why he thought the nominating process was flawed, Gleason said the questions that were asked of the appointee candidates were too difficult to answer.

“Some of us, even, couldn’t have answered those questions,” Gleason said, a feeling the three candidates themselves expressed in a newspaper interview last week.

“But I’m happy the way it turned out,” Gleason said. “I would have voted for Dave (Nadeau), but I wanted to show solidarity with the council, that we can get together and get things done, because we have some serious issues coming up where we will need people who can work together.”

Town Clerk Linda Morrell administers the oath of office to Peter
Anania, who was unanimously chosen to serve as an at-large
councilor last year. Having served out the term, Anania has
submitted an application to fill a vacant spot on the council.

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