Morristown needs a new select board member. Chris Towne, vice chair of the board, is resigning with two years left on his term.
Citing personal reasons, Towne informed fellow board members and municipal staff about his decision at the end of the select board meeting on Monday night. Towne and his husband recently adopted a baby girl, and he is stepping away from municipal government to spend more time with his family.
“This is a decision not made lightly. My time on the select board has been rewarding and humbling,” Towne wrote to the News & Citizen. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the community.”
Towne said he wants to help the board finalize the budget proposal that will go before voters on Town Meeting Day before resigning. He plans to step away Jan. 22.
The timing of Towne’s resignation will allow people interested in running for his seat to get their names on the election ballot for Town Meeting Day, March 3.
Candidates for Towne’s seat must turn in a petition signed by at least 30 registered Morristown voters by 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27. Petitions are available at the Morristown municipal offices, and should be returned to Town Clerk Sara Haskins. Only people who turn in a petition will be listed as candidates on the official warning. Write-in campaigns are also allowed for candidates who miss the Jan. 27 deadline.
Whoever’s elected to replace Towne will fill the remaining two years of his three-year term.
Two other seats on the Morristown Select Board will also be up for grabs on March 3, for a two-year term and three-year term.
Incumbent Judy Bickford has already submitted a petition to run again, Town Clerk Sara Haskins said. Eric Dodge, another incumbent, is collecting signatures on a petition re-election. Haskins said she hasn’t received petitions from anyone else for either spot, but some petition forms have been taken out.
Towne, who was re-elected last March, was appointed to the select board in August 2017 to replace Joni Lanphear, who resigned.
On Monday, the select board bandied about the idea of appointing someone to fill Towne’s seat, but decided to leave it up to voters.
Board Chair Bob Beeman praised Towne for “all the work he’s done.”
“It’s been a pleasure to have him on the board, and I’m sad to see him go,” Beeman said.
Board member Brian Kellogg joked, “When she’s older, you can come back.”
Towne said he hopes his resignation provides an opportunity for others to get involved in town government.
“Morristown is a great place to live, and I’m learning it’s also a great place to raise kids,” he said. “My departure from the board will allow me to spend more time with our daughter. I will continue to find ways to give back to the community I love.”