Pat Consentino (click for larger version)
March 07, 2012TILTON — A pair of experienced and well qualified candidates are seeking a return to Tilton's Board of Selectmen during Tuesday's town election — one a former board member, and the other an incumbent who has become something of an institution in the local community.
Incumbent candidate for a the Tilton Board of Selectmen, Pat Consentino, said she still has a lot of work to do, and hopes voters will give her three more years on the board so she may continue to serve the town.
Consentino has been a resident of Tilton for 29 years. She was raised in Atkinson, where she proudly served on the budget committee, and at the age of 18, she was elected to the Atkinson Board of Selectmen. At the time, she was the youngest person in New Hampshire to hold such a position. Consentino went on to work for many years with Verizon Communications, and through her job moved to Tilton, which she has called her home ever since.
During her term as selectman, Consentino has served as chairman of a very busy board. Besides the day to day operations of the town, the board also found itself negotiating contracts for the police department, involved in three town meetings, several public hearings, road and bridge construction projects and a lot of hard work to keep spending down.
Albert LaPlante (click for larger version)
"For the past couple of years, we actually under spent the budget, and that's something I'm proud of," said Consentino.
One cost-saving, beneficial measure Consentino was involved with was the creation of a community service program for teens and young adults who found themselves in trouble with the court systems. Those recommended for court diversion programs to help clear their record for minor offenses, can now apply to volunteer with the town.
"We're one of the few towns in the state who have this in place, and it's really worked well," said Consentino.
Once approved by the board, the first time offenders spend four hours volunteering with the police department, then are assigned other projects. Consentino said they have cleaned the Town Hall, painted, raked leaves for senior citizens, shoveled snow banks to ease access to sidewalks on Main Street, and more. Some even spent hours scanning town reports and documents to digitalize them for easy future reference.
"I'm very proud of how this program has worked out. If you can make a difference in one life, turn one person around, I think that's great," said Consentino.
Her commitment to seniors is high on her list of both accomplishments and things she would like to continue working on as selectman. Consentino helped form the Caring Hands Assisting Tilton committee, and today, they have 29 volunteers helping with the care of older residents in the town. Besides driving people to appointments, assisting with small chores or perhaps just keeping someone company for a while, the committee is also finishing up work on a new senior center.
"That dream has become a reality, but the work isn't quite finished. I want to continue to serve as selectman and help establish programs through groups like Health South, Community Action and the Franklin Visiting Nurses Association. There's a lot more to be done for seniors in Tilton," Consentino said.
During her past term on the board, she has served as a liason to many town boards and committees, helped establish the Vicy Virgin Food Drive for local food pantries, been a member of the Tilton-Northfield Old Home Day committee and the Tilton-Northfield-Sanbornton Christmas Fund.
"I love what I do. There are challenges, for sure, but I love making a difference and I would like to continue to serve the residents of Tilton," Consentino said.
Code Enforcement Officer Albert LaPlante will be asking residents of Tilton for their votes to elect him to the board of selectmen, where he would fill a seat being vacated by outgoing selectman Normand Boudreau. He and incumbent Pat Consentino are both running unopposed for the two seats open on the board this year.
LaPlante is a familiar face on the board, having previously served three years as a selectman until 2009. This year, he decided the time was right to get back to work on projects and goals he would like to accomplish.
"I'm running for office again to finish up things I wanted to do, some odds and ends that I didn't get done when I was a selectman before," LaPlante said.
As a town employee for the past six years and a resident of Tilton for 44 years, he is familiar with both the community and the workings of municipal government. LaPlante feels communication, from both residents and town departments and employees, is key to successful town government. As a selectman, he said he would once again be easily accessible for anyone with a problem, concern or even an idea about any issues facing Tilton and its residents.
"I have an office phone, and there's the town phone where people can always feel free to call me to discuss anything they need help with," said LaPlante.
In his prior term as a selectman, LaPlante worked to keep budget expenses to a minimum and would continue looking for cost cutting measures wherever possible.
After leaving his seat as a selectman in 2009, LaPlante was involved with the search committee for a possible new location for the police department. He has otherwise stayed busy serving the town through his job in code enforcement. That job, as he has said in the past, is not something that would interfere with his election to the select board.
"I know when to take off one hat and put on the other," LaPlante has maintained over the years.
He said is ready for three more years in service to residents of Tilton, and is looking forward to their support on March 13.