SCARBOROUGH — Incumbent William “Bill” Donovan, who was seeking a third term on the town council, was ousted by Betsy Gleysteen and Kenneth Johnson at the polls Nov. 5, coming in last in a field of four candidates.

Donovan

In other election results, incumbent Alicia Giftos and Kristen Turner are set to serve on the board of education in a bid for two seats by three candidates.

Gleysteen received 2,910 votes, while Johnson received 2,172. Robert “Will” Rowan, who was looking to return to the council after a failed bid for a second term last year, received 1,972 votes. Donovan came in with 1,948 votes. Katy Foley, who currently holds one of the seats up for election, did not seek a second term.

Gleysteen, who was a Frye Island selectwoman from 2015-2018 and a school board member for SAD 6 from 2014-2015, said her prior political experience will play a strong role in her new position as a council member.

Gleysteen said she hoped to preserve the character of Scarborough, which to her means keeping the town affordable, managing growth, ensuring schools are in excellent condition, and ensuring the needs of seniors and those on fixed incomes are met.

“Almost everyone I talked to wanted us to slow down and refocus on these top priorities as a town,” Gleysteen said. “I heard too, that Scarborough has been using rapid growth and borrowing money to keep the mill rate in check, but this has to change. We won’t break that cycle overnight but residents need to see and hear a viable long-term plan of how we’ll accomplish this.”

An attempt to reach out to Donovan for comment was unsuccessful on Nov. 6.

In an October interview, Johnson said he has seen the town evolve dramatically in his 35 years, and he feels it’s time to give back to the community. The town has a problematic debt issue, he said, and as a fiscal conservative he hopes to play an important role in long-term plans to rework the tax rate and improve the lives of retiring residents who struggle. He also hopes to mend communications among officials and residents.

“The communication is borderline non-existent,” he said. “Without that, folks in the town feel uninformed, left behind, and that’s a top priority for me because an awful lot of other issues can be solved if communication channels are solved and people can engage when necessary.”

Incumbent Alicia Giftos, who was elected last year to fill the final year of Jodi Shea’s term, will keep her seat on the school board. Turner will be joining her to fill one of two, three-year terms.

Giftos received 3,133 votes, Turner received 2,732 votes and Brian Shumway, the third challenger, received 2,218 votes. Amy Glidden, who was up for re-election, opted not to run again. 

Shea was recalled in May 2018 following a campaign to oust her, Donna Beeley and Cary Lyford by a group called Road to Renewal. The group was unhappy with the direction of the board and claimed it demonstrated a lack of leadership and transparency. 

Giftos said she is excited to have been elected, and is looking forward to participating in additional work, which includes hiring a permanent superintendent, updating policies and facilitating change to empower students and teachers.

She’s been a member of the school’s Building Steering Committee and has been helping to find solutions to overcrowding in primary schools. Because of the increased and fast-paced town growth, she said it’s an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

“One of my top priorities also is the budget; we need to ramp up our efforts and work with town council,” she said. “I’m glad the polling is over because now that I know I’ve been elected, I can get back to focusing on what matters.”

Turner

Turner said she likes the trajectory the board has taken and is looking forward to helping them continue moving in that direction.

“I know our town has had a lot of turmoil in the last few years and I just appreciate the path we’re on right now,” she said in early October. “We have a fantastic school board right now and want to see it going in the right direction where people feel heard.”

All candidates will be sworn in at the town council meeting on Nov. 20.

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