Brunswick Town Council Chairperson Jim Mason (left) and School Board Chairperson Beth Bisson (right). Courtesy of Mason and Bisson

New chairpersons and vice-chairpersons were appointed to both the Brunswick Town Council and school board on Monday.

Jim Mason was unanimously elected as the Brunswick Town Council chairperson, taking over for former Councilor John Perreault who did not seek re-election in 2021 after serving 12 years. Mason was first elected to the council in 2017 and served two years as vice-chairperson.

As chairperson, Mason said his goal is to ensure that any councilor who wants to bring an issue onto the agenda can do so. Going forward into 2022, he said that the two largest challenges for the council will be the town’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and managing the upcoming budget.

“All of the councilors I think are very aware that budget season is just about that balance, and I think finding the middle ground that is acceptable to the majority of the council is the toughest thing that we do,” said Mason. “I think the chairperson’s big responsibility as part of that is simply managing the discussion.”

Town Councilor Dan Ankeles, who was first elected in 2018, was unanimously appointed vice-chairperson.

On the school board, Beth Bisson was unanimously appointed to chair the group after previously serving as vice-chairperson for one year. Bisson, who was first elected in 2020, is taking over for Billy Thompson who is still on the board but did not seek another year as chairperson.

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Bisson said that navigating the school’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be one of the most pressing challenges for the board through 2022. Launching the school department’s strategic planning process, which hasn’t been done in more than five years, will be another endeavor, she said.

“This is really an opportunity to hear from the community at large about what their biggest needs are, and biggest concerns and priorities are,” said Bisson. “So, as board chair I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the board and really encouraging Brunswick community participation in that strategic planning process.”

Sarah Singer was unanimously appointed to vice-chairperson to the school board. Singer was first elected to the school board in 2014.

Council and school board members elected in November 2021 were also sworn in on Monday.

Erica Carley Harris was sworn in for her first term on the school board as well as incumbents Celina Harrison and Joy Prescott.

On the council, newcomers Abby King and Sande Updegraph were sworn in as well as Ankeles, an incumbent.

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