Fields, Cle­ments, Wood elected to Charlestown board

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JES­SICA IANNETTA jian­netta@ce­cil­

CHARLESTOWN — New­com­ers Jeff Fields, Pa­tri­cia Cle­ments and Lou Wood were elected to the town board Tues­day night in a hot­ly­con­tested elec­tion that ul­ti­mately came down to a sin­gle vote.

Fields, a for­mer town main­te­nance worker, led the slate of five can­di­dates, earn­ing 116 votes with Cle­ments, a re­tired teacher and mem­ber of the Avalon Park Com­mit­tee, com­ing in sec­ond with 101 votes. Wood, a re­tired po­lice of­fi­cer, came in third with 91 votes, barely edg­ing Jack Kron­ner who had 90 votes. The Well­wood owner Larry Metz was a dis­tant fifth with 80 votes.

The three win­ners will be sworn into a two-year term on the board dur­ing next Tues­day’s meet­ing, join­ing Joe Letts and Karl Fock­ler on the board. Next week will also mark the last meet­ing for in­cum­bent com­mis­sion­ers Re­nee Ca­pano and Mary Carol Du­range who both de­cided not to seek re­elec­tion.

Fields’ vic­tory in the elec­tion likely came as no sur­prise to any­one who drove by town hall Tues­day and saw him wav­ing a sign at the cor­ner of Mar­ket and Bladen streets. Fields voted three min­utes af­ter the polls opened at 7 a.m. and stood out­side un­til about 6:50 p.m., he told the Whig Tues­day night.

“I think I got out a lot of votes,” he said. “I fig­ured, if I lose, it’s not go­ing to be be­cause I didn’t try.”

A 25-year res­i­dent of the town, Fields ran a cam­paign fo­cused on im­prov­ing the town’s in­fra­struc­ture and the ser­vices it pro­vides to res­i­dents, such as in­creas­ing the fre­quency of bulk pickup and yard waste pickup. As he pre­pares to take his seat on the board next week, Fields said he’s ready to get started and urged all town res­i­dents to reach out to him with any prob­lems or sug­ges­tions, not­ing he wants to be reach­able and avail­able.

“I’m very ex­cited,” he said. “I’m very ex­cited to get started.”

Cle­ments was also happy to be join­ing the board and said she had a good feel­ing about the elec­tion re­sults go­ing into the fi­nal vote tal­ly­ing Tues­day night. As a two-year mem­ber of the Avalon Park Com­mit­tee, part of Cle­ments’ cam­paign cen­tered on get­ting im­prove­ments to the park mov­ing at a faster pace and she’s now ea­ger to get started.

“It’s very ex­cit­ing,” she said. “I’m look­ing for­ward to some ex­cit­ing years ahead.”

While Fields and Cle­ments have never served on the board be­fore, Wood served one term on the board many years ago but had to quit when she joined EPD. De­spite her nar­row vic­tory, Wood said she’s fo­cused on mak­ing a dif­fer­ence dur­ing her time on the board.

“I’m just look­ing for­ward to an ex­cit­ing term and some ex­cit­ing years to come,” she said.

For Kron­ner, the elec­tion ended in heart­break for the sec­ond year in a row. Last year, he lost to Fock­ler and Letts in a three-man race and this year came up short by only a sin­gle vote.

Still, Kron­ner said Wed­nes­day he’s not dis­ap­pointed in his per­for­mance, not­ing that he’s the “new guy in town,” hav­ing only lived in Charlestown for two years com­pared to other can­di­dates who have been in town for decades.

“The fact that I beat out Larry Metz is con­fus­ing,” he said with a laugh, not­ing Metz is a long­time busi­ness owner and town res­i­dent. “I don’t know what the peo­ple were think­ing this year but I wish (all the win­ners) the best.”

And Kron­ner said he still plans to run again next year.

“You know what they say about the third time, right?” he joked.

Metz also took his loss in stride, con­grat­u­lat­ing the other can­di­dates and of­fer­ing his help when­ever needed. He noted that the three win­ners worked hard to get votes and that paid off in the end.

“They out­worked me and got the ben­e­fit of hard work,” he said. “It just goes to show you that hard work pays off. If you work hard, good things hap­pen. I wish them all the best.”

In all, 189 of the town’s 930 reg­is­tered vot­ers cast their bal­lots in Tues­day’s elec­tion, re­sult­ing in a voter turnout of roughly 20 per­cent. That turnout rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease over both last year’s to­tal of 135 vot­ers and the 167 vot­ers who cast bal­lots in 2016.




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