FALMOUTH – Four candidates, all of them familiar faces to voters, are vying for two open seats on Falmouth’s Board of Selectmen.
On May 17, incumbent Brent Putnam will face a trio of challengers: former Selectman Kevin Murphy; three-time selectman candidate David Moriarty; and Paul Brodeur, Falmouth’s recently retired fire chief.
Three-term Selectman Ahmed Mustafa is not seeking re-election.
Putnam, who was elected in 2008 on a reform platform, said the town has seen its share of turbulence since his election but selectmen have united and worked well together during his year-long stint as chairman.
One of his proudest achievements, Putnam said, is the board’s focus on the budget.
Putnam made it a point to institute budget discussions earlier in the fiscal year and on a regular basis.
“My first year in office, we spent 30 minutes talking about the budget,” Putnam said. “This year we started in the summer and there’s more detail than there’s ever been.”
But David Moriarty, who has run unsuccessfully for selectman twice before, said he sees residents who are frustrated by the same recurring problems and town leaders who aren’t stepping up to the plate.
Moriarty said wastewater issues, mounting lawsuits against the town and the exodus of young people from the Cape because of the high cost of living are all problems that have been lingering for decades.
But more recently, Moriarty said the flap over a town-owned 1.65-megawatt wind turbine – which neighbors claim is keeping them awake at night, causing health problems and lowering property values – is inexcusable.
“Why does the town have the right to devalue your home that you’ve worked your whole life for? Moriarty said. “The turbines are just not appropriate for here.”
Kevin Murphy, a former selectman, agreed the town erred when it came to erecting the turbine. But while Murphy is interested in working with neighbors toward a compromise, he also said there are other pressing issues for the town.
Deciding whether to sewer the town or use alternative methods is vital to ensure the well-being of Falmouth’s coastal ponds, Murphy said. He also said the town must keep up with capital expenses and maintaining infrastructure in order to retain Falmouth’s character.
“After two years off, I now have a renewed energy and fresh perspective,” Murphy said. “I’m able to talk to everyone and no one’s opinion will be taken over anyone else’s.”
The final candidate, Paul Brodeur, is hoping to go from putting out real fires to squelching proverbial ones.
After serving as the town’s fire chief for 13 years, Brodeur said he wants to tackle problems related to crumbling infrastructure, the budget, wastewater, drinking water and wind turbines.
Although Brodeur has been a fixture in town for decades and is well known for his humorous presentations during town meeting, he said his greatest asset is not being tied to any special interest groups and his reputation for fairness.
“I’m in the elderly stages now in my life so I understand what seniors need, but I also understand the young whippersnappers in town and the issues they face,” Brodeur said. “I bring a good balance and hopefully that makes Falmouth a better community to live in.”
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