New job forces Sanbornton selectman to resign
December 15, 2010
SANBORNTON — Selectman Steven Ober resigned from the board last week, concerned that his new job would prevent him from properly serving the town.
Ober was represented by his wife Karen last week as she went before the select board on Dec. 8 to present a statement on his behalf tending his official resignation from the board halfway through his second term in office. She said her husband had recently accepted a job as a safety officer for a local company and found that job to be very time-consuming. In the letter Ober said he could be away for extended periods of time and felt his decision to resign was made in the best interest of both the town and the board of selectmen.
"After completing my first job assignment and reviewing the upcoming job schedule, it is safe to say I will need to resign my position as selectman. It is not fair to the board of selectmen or the people of Sanbornton who elected me that I stay on," chairman David Nickerson read
Nickerson, Selectman Andrew Livernois, and Town Administrator Bob Veloski were already aware Ober's new job would limit his availability and might eventually result in his resignation but Veloski said he did not anticipate that day would come so soon.
"We already knew the job would mean Steve would be traveling a lot and had an idea it was coming but we didn't know it would be this week," said Veloski.
He expressed his regrets for Ober's departure from office but said town business would carry on in a normal fashion until a replacement is appointed.
Ober said he decided to step down as soon as possible in order to allow the remaining two selectmen an opportunity to appoint someone else to conduct that business.
"I've had to miss four meetings already and I can't do that to those guys," he said over the weekend.
In his letter Ober said he was proud of all that was accomplished over his five years on the board and was certain their work would continue in the best interest of the town. His resignation will take effect on Dec. 31.
Nickerson said he will miss Ober's presence on the board.
"He was a voice of reason. Steve doesn't pull any punches. I loved working with him because he always had the best interest of the town in his heart," he said.
Besides his position on the board, Ober was a representative to other committees and boards in town government such as the Conservation Commission, Historic Commission and the police and fire departments. His resignation includes those positions as well.
Livernois expressed both his regret and respect for the decision. While he recognized Ober's need to put his family first by taking the new job, he said he will miss working with him as a selectman.
"We were a good team and I think we've been very successful as such so I'm going to miss him, but I also think it was a very responsible decision on his part to recognize he couldn't fulfill his responsibility," Livernois said.
State statutes allow he and Nickerson the authority to appoint a new selectman to fill the position until Town Meeting in May. At that time voters will decide who will carry on in Ober's stead for the one year remaining of his current three-year term. Prior to their Dec. 15 regularly scheduled meeting, Livernois said there had yet been no discussion as to how they would fill the opening.
"We've already heard from several parties who are interested in taking over the seat until May, but we'll need to decide on a process first before we make our decision," Livernois said.
He said some towns have appointed former selectmen or prior candidates when faced with a similar situation but anyone can be eligible for the opening.
"We may find a good candidate and just appoint them or perhaps we'll conduct interviews and decide from there. We'll have to wait and see," said Livernois.
Nickerson pointed out the position could also remain vacant until May should the board chose not to appoint anyone.
"We have a thousand options. We'll just have to see how what we decide on but it's not something we're going to rush into," Nickerson said.
Anyone interested in filling Ober's seat until May is asked to contact the selectmen's office at 286-8303.