When Windham residents go to the polls Nov. 2, they’ll see only two names for three town council positions.

Chairman David Nadeau, who is finishing up his third three-year term on the council and running for another, is listed as the only candidate for his At Large seat.

Similarly, Councilor Ed Ohmott is the only contender for his At Large seat. Ohmott was appointed by the council after David Douglass resigned in April and, if elected, would serve the remainder of Douglass’ vacated term until November 2022.

Councilor Timothy Nangle, serving Windham’s West District for the past six years, did not file candidacy papers with the town. He could not be reached for comment.

Write-in candidates have a shot at any of the three seats, Town Clerk Linda Morrell said, provided they are registered voters within the council districts they intend to serve. If there are no write-in votes for the West District or a write-in winner declines the seat, the council will appoint someone to fill that vacancy until next November.

Town Manager Barry Tibbetts offered insight as to why Windham residents might not be eager to take on the challenge.

“Being an elected official is very rewarding in many respects,” Tibbetts said. “The flip side is, sometimes you have to make decisions that everyone may not like.” 

Tibbetts also cited the work that goes into being a volunteer public servant at about 10 hours a month at the minimum which, he said, is not ideal for many people.

Nadeau couldn’t say for certain why he doesn’t face any challengers, but offered a couple theories.

“I don’t know if you look at it and say ‘we must be doing a decent job,’ or in this day and age people don’t want to get involved in politics,” he said.

He hopes his lack of competition means his work has been well-received by the town, or that he’s the most qualified person for the position.

“I truly believe that people don’t understand how the finances of a town work,” Nadeau said.

Local involvement in town politics is rare and often fueled by discontent, he said.

“The only time you see participation is when you try to do something somebody doesn’t like,” he said. “The rest of the time people think you’re doing a halfway decent job and sit back and let you do your thing.”

Nadeau, who said he would not name names, spoke about past controversies during his tenure on the council where he and other members didn’t get along. About four to five years ago, the council “didn’t see eye to eye on anything” and “very little got done,” he said. “At one point in time the police were called.”

Now, he said, the council has overcome previous animosity and has been focused on investing in Windham. That’s what brought California native Ed Ohmott to the table.

“The reason why they ended up selecting me is because I came in as a fresh face,” said Ohmott, who was sworn-in at the end of May to replace David Douglass, who Tibbetts said moved out of town and could no longer serve. “I don’t have any axes to grind or any buddies to pay off, so to speak.”

Ohmott served on the town’s Long Range Planning Committee before being interviewed for the council vacancy and found to be a good fit.

“I enjoy learning about the town,” he said, adding he wishes more people joined him in their enthusiasm for local government.

“I wish there were more people who would fill these committees and even run as an opposition just so there are more people involved,” Ohmott said. “People don’t understand how rewarding and enlightening this type of thing is. As time goes on hopefully there will be more exposure.”

 

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