The new Windham Town Council voted for Jarrod Maxfield as chairman, Tim Nangle as vice chairman and David Douglass as parliamentarian. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

WINDHAM — With new leadership heading the Town Council, as well as two new members, councilors are hopeful that they can put the dysfunction of the past few years behind them and move forward.

Nick Kalogerakis and David Douglass defeated incumbents Donna Chapman and Bob Muir at the polls Nov. 5. At the Nov. 7 meeting, the council voted to replace Chairman Clayton Haskell with Jarrod Maxfield and Vice Chairwoman Rebecca Cummings with Tim Nangle.

Maxfield believes that having Kalogerakis and Douglass on the council “will change the dynamic very profoundly” and hopes that the council “can be more unified in terms of being able to work together and be cordial and be professional.”

“By doing that, we can help start to heal some of the wounds from the last few years,” he said. 

In recent years, there has been tension on the Town Council that has escalated into name-calling and discord both at meetings and outside of them. Maxfield was often in the heart of such disagreements with Chapman, and the two frequently clashed.

Councilor Dave Nadeau thinks that councilors have to be able to “agree to disagree and then move on. You cannot win every battle,” he said. “My biggest hope is that the new councilors didn’t come in there with an agenda, but with an open mindset with the basis being what’s best for Windham.”

The town is grappling with a variety of broad issues, including recreational marijuana, private roads, a lack of infrastructure and over-development.

“The sooner that we tackle these issues and vote and decide, we can get accustomed to what’s happening and move forward,” Kalogerakis said.

Douglass sounded a hopeful note, stating that the new majority group of councilors, him, Maxfield, Nangle, Nadeau and Kalogerakis, “are like-minded, well-educated and can get along and work towards common goals.”

“That’s what you need,” he said. 

Nick Kalogerakis, David Douglass and Jarrod Maxfield are sworn in on Nov. 7. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

Kalogerakis said that all councilors seem eager to work together and he hopes that the council will look forward rather than becoming mired in the past.

We’re looking forward,” Kalogerakis said. “What’s done is done. We don’t need to continue to rehash the past.” 

Not every councilor seemed as hopeful. Haskell said he felt “guarded” about the council’s new members and leadership, with whom he has often disagreed in the past. He declined to comment further.

Douglass thinks that the new council will help attract a permanent town manager to town. Windham has been searching for a new town manager since October 2018 when then-Town Manager Tony Plante left with a $175,000 severance package amid turmoil on the council about his job performance. Plante was replaced by Interim Town Manager Don Gerrish. Three searches have not yielded a permanent manager.

Now that we have a unified council that is potentially less threatening to staff, we can attract people who want to work for a good group of administrators,” Douglass said. 

As chairman, Maxfield said he plans to run the meetings more efficiently in order to “get these things done and utilize staff’s time properly.”

Nangle could not be reached for comment. Cummings did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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