Waterman takes selectman seat with 53 percent of votes

May 19, 2018

Marion resident John Waterman soared to victory in a four-way race for a one-year term on Marion's Board of Selectmen on May 18, winning roughly 53 percent of the vote.

Randy Parker, who ran uncontested for a three-year term, will join Waterman and Norm Hills on the board.

George "TJ" Walker was voted onto Marion's Board of Assessors—he defeated longtime incumbent Ray Pickles for the post.

Voter turnout was at 25 percent; 1,023 voters turned out to the polls, out of a total of 4,016 voters.

Waterman, a financial analyst, was happy with the results.

"I think I was able to win because I did my homework, listened to voters, and sided with them on several issues," he explained. "Of course, the hard work starts now. It's easy to talk—it's much harder to get things done."

During his campaign, Waterman stated that it was beyond time to get the town's finances in order. His plan, he said, is to get together a list of priorities to tackle—top among them are restarting infrastructure work within Marion Village, and tackling Marion's wastewater plant upgrades.

The top priority when it comes to wastewater, Waterman said, should be a plan for sewer infrastructure, including selectively extending the town's sewer, developing policies for failed septic tanks and illegal sump pump connections, reducing costly inflow and infiltration, and upgrading the waste facility.

He was against the proposed renovation of Marion's Town House, he said during his campaign. Not because he didn't want to see the building restored, but because the financial burden was far too big for a town that was already looking at other extremely large expenses, he said.

Waterman and resident Ted North submitted a citizen petition to Marion's Town Meeting that instead called for piecemeal repair of the current Town House. Waterman said that he thought the approach would be a good balance for those who were concerned about the expense of renovating the Town House, and those who wanted the current Town House to remain.

The idea was removed from consideration at Town Meeting, though, after Marion's town attorney said that it interfered with the selectmen's right to set the meeting agenda.

Waterman also feels that condos in Marion Village should be considered, as they would both help senior citizens looking to remain in town, as well as add economic support to the town that wouldn't necessarily draw on other resources, he said.

He received 551 votes on Friday night; he was followed by fellow selectman candidate Michelle Ouellette Smith, who received 221 votes. Joe Zora and Dale Jones each received 113 and 106 votes respectively.

TJ Walker received 658 votes to join the Board of Assessors—Ray Pickles received 268 votes.

Pickles, who serves as Marion's Town Clerk, is also the owner of Moss Hollow Management, which until earlier this year ran the Carver, Marion, Wareham Regional Refuse District. The firm's relationship with the district was abruptly ended amid skyrocketing disposal costs and concern about district finances. The district allows the three member towns to jointly contract with waste-to-energy facility SEMASS in Rochester.

Other election results

There were no other contested races in this year's election. Andrew Daniel will return to his post on the town's Planning Board. Kristen Saint-Don Campbell will join him, having run unopposed for a second seat on the board.

Michelle Ouellette Smith will return to the Marion School Committee, joined by newcomer April Rios, who ran unopposed for a second seat on the board.

Brad Gordon will return to his post as Town Moderator, John Howard and Alan Harris will return to the Board of Health and the Open Space Acquisition Committee, respectively.