Marblehead brought change to the Select Board on Tuesday, voting out incumbent Jackie Belf-Becker, who had served 18 years on the board, including 13 years as its chair, according to unofficial results.
Bret Murray, a former six-term Select Board member, will replace Belf-Becker. Murray, who came in third place on Tuesday, earned a total of 3,596 votes.
Incumbent Alexa Singer topped the Select Board ticket with 3,764 votes, closely followed by Erin Noonan with 3,762 votes. James Nye and Moses Grader also retained their seats with 3,311 and 2,940 votes, while Belf-Becker secured 2,615 votes.
Murray’s campaign emphasized addressing the town’s finanical woes, creating a strategic plan and increasing transparency. He said the night’s results were not just a public mandate but also an endorsement of these priorities.
“I think tonight’s results say Marblehead wants to try something different,” said Murray after polls closed. “The town wants to go in a different direction.”
The night’s results seemingly shift a voting majority away from the longer-serving incumbents to a new cohort that has called for more discussion, transparency and deliberation during the board’s public meetings.
“Voters came out for progress, for more deliberation around the big issues we face,” said Noonan. “Obviously, the biggest issue is our finances.”
Select Board members will have to navigate financial challenges magnified by voters’ rejection of the $2.5 million general override on Tuesday. They are now faced with addressing cuts to public services and steadily depleting “free cash” reserves that it has leaned on to balance budgets.
Barker to join Abbot Public Library Board of Trustees
The elections for the Abbot Public Library Board of Trustees saw incumbent Gary J. Amberik emerge victorious, garnering a total of 3,190 votes. Katherine H. Barker closely followed with 3,130 votes to claim the other open seat.
Rose Ann Wheeler McCarthy secured third place with a total of 1,683 votes.
Martin tops Rec and Parks ticket
In the race for five, one-year seats on the Recreation and Parks Commission, Matthew Martin led the pack with 3,311 votes.
Linda Rice Collins followed with a respectable 3,008 votes, while Rossana Ferrante gained third place with a total of 2,890 votes.
Karin Ernst was fourth with 2,806 votes while newcomer Shelly Curran Bedrossian claimed the final seat on the board with 2,740 votes.
Larry Simpson fell just short of gaining election with 2,658 votes.
Light Board results
Voters awarded seats on the Marblehead Municipal Light Commission to incumbent Lisa Wolf (for a three-year term, defeating former light commissioner Walter Homan) and interim Light Commissioner Adam Smith for a one-year unexpired term (defeating Nathanael Burke).
Many viewed this race as a referendum on how quickly the town should be moving towards meeting its sustainability goals. In electing Wolf and Smith the town has decided that there is no time to waste.