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Familiar faces compete for Northfield select board seat

Peg Shepard (click for larger version)
March 07, 2012
NORTHFIELD — A pair of familiar faces will go head to head at the polls Tuesday for a three-year position on Northfield's Board of Selectmen.

Peg Shepard

Selectman's candidate Peg Shepard is a friendly, familiar face in Northfield, having served as administrative assistant to the Department of Public Works Director for several years, and through her volunteerism with other town committees.

Shepard first came to Northfield ten years ago, when she married her husband, Fred. He and his family all reside in the town, and Shepard said she is proud to also be a part of the community and call it her home.

Lisa Swancott (click for larger version)
Before her move, she was employed by the Department of Transportation in Concord, but in 2005, she began working for DPW at the Northfield Recycling Center. In her role as administrative assistant, Shepard took time to poll the public and gather ideas from the state on how to make trips to the recycling center a good experience for residents of the town. The result, she said, was a smooth traffic flow, as people brought their plastics, glass, paper, metals and other items to the center where the town then sold it for added revenue.

"I also created Amnesty Week, where, during that time period, people could bring items like electronics to the recycling center without being charged the fee they normally would have to pay," said Shepard.

She soon saw the recycling program increase from seven percent to ten percent of the residents, she added.

During her six years with the pubic works department, Shepard handled any problems residents had with road conditions, was a representative for the town at the regional solid waste co-operative and assisted in the annual budget.

"I'm definitely knowledgeable about the budget process. I worked with (DPW director) Mike Summerset for six years on our department's budget because it's one of the biggest in the town," Shepard said.

She also helped in compiling all the annual reports from DPW on solid waste and recycling.

Other community involvement includes six years on the Old Home Day Committee, which she has chaired for the past three years.

While Shepard recently moved on to another fulltime job, she said she misses the town employees she worked with over the years, as well as the many vendors and residents she met with on a regular basis.

Should she be elected to the select board, Shepard said she would like to utilize her knowledge of recycling and work to continue building on the program.

"I really want to help generate even more revenue for the town through recycling, and to work to attract more business to the town. I loved the people I worked with, and would like to do so again through the view point of a selectman to see what we can all accomplish," she said.

Other goals would be to seek additional ways to use the Pines Community Center, and to work more closely with the nearby towns, such as Tilton and Franklin.

"We need to develop a better rapport with other towns around us. I think that's important. We all need each other," Shepard said.

Lisa Swancott

Incumbent Lisa Swancott will go before voters on March 13 in hopes of retaining her seat on the Board of Selectmen in Northfield, to which she was appointed last June, when Jamie Knowlton resigned from his position due to an out-of-state job relocation.

Swancott and her family have lived in Northfield for 19 years. She has been actively involved in the community, both on her own and through her children and their interests and activities. Over the years, she has participated in both the local Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations, served as a treasurer for the Winnisquam Middle School PTO and the high school PTSO. She has also been involved in a number of nonprofit organizations, along with other school and community committees and volunteer projects.

Swancott has served on the budget committee in Northfield for six years, and has continued with the committee since last summer as a representative from the Board of Selectmen.

"We work really hard on the budget, with the assistance of (Town Administrator) Glenn Smith, to keep taxes down in Northfield," Swancott said.

One key point that led to her selection as the appointed replacement for Knowlton was her keen interest in developing a recycling program for the town. Since her term on the board began, she has investigated options for curbside recycling, maintaining a town-operated recycling center and other means of reducing the costs associated with waste removal in Northfield.

"I'd really like to continue to work on recycling, whether it (an upcoming warrant article on recycling) passes or not," she said. "There's still a lot of work to do either way."

She also looks forward to working on the Master Plan, enhancing the parks through grants and volunteerism and working with department heads on cost-efficient, safe services to the town.

Considering her accomplishments on the board in the past 10 months, Swancott said she was pleased to be part of the hiring process for the new Department of Public Works Director, Bob Southwick, and also the promotion of John Raffaelly from sergeant to a lieutenant on the Northfield Police Department.

"He's a great person. John just does so much for the community, even on his own time, and I was glad to be a part of the decision to promote him," she said.

Swancott owns and operates Swancott Consulting Services, LLC, and said her background in accounting and bookkeeping has been a benefit to her roles on both the budget committee and the select board. She said she also enjoys working with a great staff on the many departments in town.

"I really like going to Town Hall each week. They're a great bunch of people to work with," said Swancott.

She said involvement by citizens is important to town government, and she encourages people to contact board members or attend meetings to voice their opinions or point out issues they would like to see addressed. Without their input, Swancott said, selectmen are not always aware of some matters and she has appreciated hearing their ideas, thoughts and concerns.

Swancott has compiled a website for her re-election, which can be found at http://elect-lisa-swancott.webs.com, or residents may contact her at 630-4894.

Mike Cryans
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