WATERVILLE — Erik Thomas is the new city councilor representing Ward 4, after being appointed to the seat Tuesday by the council.
Thomas, 35, is a 3-year member of the Planning Board, vice president of the Board of Directors for Waterville Main Street and owner of Digital ImageWorks and Sweet People Productions.
“I’m excited,” Thomas said after the meeting, of being on the council. “I just think it’s the next logical step.”
Thomas said one of his goals is to help attract young people to the city and retain those that are here. He also wants to address vacant and dilapidated properties in the city, he said.
“That’s probably going to be one of the biggest issues for the city in the coming years and it affects the value of everyone’s property,” he said.
Thomas was appointed to the seat after councilors interviewed him and three others vying for the position: Alicia Barnes, who served in the U.S. Navy as an electronic technician and now teaches daily living skills to and supports people recovering from severe mental illness; Edward Lachowicz, a University of Maine junior majoring in social work who also is treasurer of Kennebec County Democrats; and David Vashon, base engineer for Maine Air National Guard and former chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Thomas got three votes, from councilors George Myers Jr., D-Ward 2, Rosemary J. Winslow, D-Ward 3 and Eliza Mathias, D-Ward 6.
Councilor Charles “Fred” Stubbert Jr., D-Ward 1, nominated Lachowicz for the seat and Councilor John O’Donnell nominated Vashon.
Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, was absent from the meeting due to an illness in the family, according to City Manager Michael Roy.
In interviews Tuesday, Barnes said she was vying for the seat because she wanted to be involved in the community and listen to Ward 4 residents’ concerns.
Lachowicz said he also wanted to listen to constituents and do what he could to help people in the ward. Vashon said he wanted to give back to the community and he felt his financial, engineering and managerial experience would benefit the council.
Thomas replaces Mayor Dana Sennett, who served in the Ward 4 seat 15 years, 10 as council chairman. Sennett was elected mayor June 14.
Thomas took the oath of office after being appointed and sat in Sennett’s vacant seat, next to the mayor’s chair.
 Born in Waterville, Thomas graduated from Messalonskee High School in Oakland in 1993 and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1997, with a bachelor of science degree in structural engineering.
In 2009, he was named Business Person of the Year by Waterville Main Street. That year, he also was given the Cotter Award by the Waterville Regional Arts & Community Center Board for community service and working to advance the arts in the city.
He has been involved in organizing many events in Waterville, including the Harvest Fest, Parade of Lights, Kringleville, Seize the Mic and Hill in the Ville.
Thomas’ term expires at the end of the year. He plans to run for the Ward 4 seat again in November. That term begins in January, 2012.
Sennett said councilors at their next meeting Aug. 1 will consider appointing a council chairman.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]


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