PITTSON — Voters turned out Monday to elect Rodney Hembree III to the Board of Selectmen by a margin of 16 votes.

When the tally was completed after the polls closed at 7 p.m., Hembree had received 224 votes, while incumbent Greg Lumbert collected 208.

“I am new to all of this,” Hembree said Tuesday. “A fresh set of eyes might be able to help out with different ideas or values or something. I will know more tomorrow night when I go to my first meeting.”

Hembree, 46, said he expects to be sworn in at Wednesday’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting.

He said he would not have turned in nomination papers had he known Lumbert was running.

“He’s a good man,” Hembree said.

Rodney Hembree III Photo courtesy of Rodney Hembree III

Lumbert said Tuesday that after votes were announced Monday evening, he drove to Hembree’s house to shake his hand and wish him well.

“I will continue to serve the people of Pittston as I did before I was selectman,” Lumbert said. “The way I figure it is that I had one shot, and they voted the way they wanted, and that’s the way it is.”

He said he will not run again.

Hembree said he wasn’t able to knock on as many doors as he had hoped, but he had people campaigning on his behalf.

“I want to get people out to vote,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of turnout. You can’t be mad at the system if you don’t get out there and vote.”

In Pittston, the town election takes place on the Monday after Town Meeting.

In the days before the election, campaign signs for the two candidates started popping up on heavily traveled roads in town.

At a Board of Selectmen meeting 10 days before Town Meeting, complaints about snow plowing sparked sharp words between resident Cheryl Peaselee and Lumbert, and a rebuke from Selectwoman Jean Ambrose over Lumbert’s behavior.

For his part, Lumbert said he behaved professionally.

With this election, two seats on the three-person board will be filled.

Roger Linton, who had been chairman, announced he was leaving the board earlier this year. Because of the timing, that seat could not be filled in the town election. Instead, Pittston residents will cast votes to fill that seat in conjunction with the June 11 statewide primary.

In all, 435 votes were cast in the election, Town Clerk Deborah Barry said Tuesday. The results were posted around 11:30 p.m.

Barry said Monday’s turnout was among the highest in recent years at a town election.

A year ago, fewer than 80 voters cast ballots in town races. In 2017, when former Selectwoman Wanda Burns Macomber challenged Linton, about 340 voters cast ballots. In 2016, no one turned in nomination papers for the open seat that was created when Jane Hubert declined to run again. Three candidates ran as write-ins, drawing a total of 208 votes: 105 for Lumbert, 93 for Sharon Gleason and 10 for Montgomery Barto.

The other races on the ballot were uncontested. Jane Hubert, with 308 votes, and James Lothridge, with 285 votes, were elected to two of the three seats on the Planning Board up for election. Jason Dougherty was elected as a write-in candidate with 17 votes. Janet Richards was elected as a write-in with 18 votes to the Personnel Committee. Four people were elected to the four openings on the Budget Committee: Hubert, with 297 votes; Cheryl Peaslee, 267 votes;  Sam Snow, 263 votes; and Hope Ricker, 22 votes. Leroy Usher was elected to the East Pittston Fire District with six write-in votes.

 

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632
[email protected]
Twitter: @JLowellKJ

 

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