FARMINGDALE — Newcomer James Grant defeated incumbent Selectman Rickey McKenna by a large margin on Friday after a contentious race marked by accusations of dirty politics.

Grant got 207 votes to McKenna’s 77, according to Town Clerk Phyllis Weeks.

Voters also changed the road commissioner position into a three-year elected term instead of a one-year appointment by a vote of 260-25. In 2008, a town-approved warrant article changed the job to an appointed post when no one took out papers to run for a one-year term. Last month, Road Commissioner William Rogers resigned, leaving Selectman David Sirois as acting road commissioner.

The annual Town Meeting is set for 1 p.m. today in the Hall-Dale Middle School theater. Among the warrant items is a request to authorize selectmen to buy a sand and salt containment area and covered salt storage structure.

The selectman’s race heated up two weeks ago when Grant said someone from McKenna’s campaign taped a forged letter with Grant’s signature on mailboxes around town. The letter apologized for “half-truths” in Grant’s campaign materials.

Earlier, Grant circulated a six-page packet of information that questioned money paid to Ellis Construction for road projects and winter road salt.

McKenna said Grant had run a negative campaign and that neither he, nor Chris Ellis of Ellis Construction, circulated the forged letter.

Voting started slowly around noon Friday, but a steady stream of vehicles pulled in and out of parking spaces behind the gym at Hall-Dale Middle School.

Gene and Pat Moreau, speaking outside the gym, said they both cast their votes in favor of keeping the road commissioner job a one-year appointed post.

“In years past, we had an election with no one running,” said Gene Moreau, a former selectman.

Pat Moreau said she supported McKenna. “I always give the incumbent the benefit of my vote.”

Si and Donna Gilbert, who have lived in Farmingdale for 43 years, said they are opposed to the proposal to buy a salt and sand shed that is on the business portion of Town Meeting warrant.

The proposal to spend up to $85,000, plus survey and closing costs, would give the town a 3.67-acre parcel with a sand and salt containment area and covered salt storage structure. It is owned by Bruce Ellis, father of Chris Ellis, and Ellis Construction uses it to store salt and sand for the town.

The purchase would be funded by the town’s capital improvement fund.

In other voting Friday, Linda Leet got 261 votes in an uncontested race to serve on the Regional School Unit 2 board.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
[email protected]

Susan Cover — 621-5643
[email protected]