WATERVILLE — Friday’s Democratic city caucus couldn’t produce a Ward 1 City Council candidate because only one resident from the ward, aside from the two candidates, attended.

Incumbent City Council Chairman Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1, sought the candidacy Friday, as did newcomer Steve Soule, a former educator and coordinator of the South End Teen Center.

But the only other resident of Ward 1 attending the caucus, Sara Sylvester, did not want to be the lone person deciding on who would be the Democratic candidate for Ward 1 council and abstained from voting. Ward 1 is the area of the city north of Eustis Parkway.

Alicia Barnes, co-chairman of the Waterville Democratic City Committee, said Monday that both Stubbert and Soule, like others who want to run for the seat, must get 25 to 50 signatures on their nomination papers and their names would appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, but with no party affiliation. They must submit the papers to the city clerk’s office by 4:30 p.m. Sept. 4, which is 60 days before the Nov. 3 election.

But Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, who was chosen Friday to run for re-election, believes Stubbert is the nominee and should be listed on the ballot as the Democratic candidate for Ward 1 council.

A 34-minute video of the caucus by Dan Chasse and posted online at YouTube on the Info Waterville subscriber site reveals a confusing meeting.

The video shows Pamela Trinward, a member of the Waterville Board of Education representing Ward 7, nominating incumbent Sylvester, the chairman of the Board of Education representing Ward 1, to run for re-election. Stubbert seconded the motion.

Then Soule nominated himself for the Ward 1 council seat and Ward 6 resident Heather Merrow seconded. But someone then called Merrow’s second into question because she is not a Ward 1 resident, and Merrow noted that Trinward had nominated Sylvester, even though Trinward is not a resident in Sylvester’s ward.

To try to correct the problem, Stubbert then nominated Sylvester for her Board of Education seat and Soule seconded the motion. Sylvester then nominated Stubbert for the Ward 1 seat and Stubbert seconded the motion.

Sylvester then said she will abstain from voting because she does not think it fair that she — one person — should decide the fate of the Ward 1 candidacy.

City Clerk Patti Dubois said Monday that any disagreement about what happened at the caucus is not something her office would deal with as the caucus is its own entity and not run by the city. Dubois was at the caucus for a brief time Friday to register voters and enroll them in parties.

City Solicitor William Lee said Monday that party members decide the rules for their own procedures, and if the party tells the city a certain person is the candidate, the city puts the name on the ballot.

“The city does not control the organization and operation of a city caucus,” Lee said.

About 20 people attended the caucus held in the council chambers at The Center.

The Republican City Committee caucus to choose nominees for council and Board of Education in wards 1 and 7 will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, also in the council chambers.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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