By Jonathan Phelps
---- — Jack Wilhelm overwhelmingly defeated the current chairman by 311 votes to win a seat on the Wenham Board of Selectmen in yesterday’s Town Election.
Wilhelm, 70, defeated Selectman Molly Martins with 578 votes over Martins’ 267 votes, according to the unofficial results released by the town clerk’s office last night.
He said he is humbled and appreciative to have received about 67 percent of the vote as he celebrated his victory last night with family and friends.
“We worked hard to get our message out, and it resounded with the Wenham voters,” Wilhelm said.
During his campaign, Wilhelm, a former Finance Committee member, said the town’s Finance Department is in “disarray” and that he’d make it a top priority to hire back a full-time finance director, rather than continuing to use an outside consulting firm.
“I look forward to helping Wenham resolve some of the difficulties I articulated in my campaign,” he said. “No. 1 will be resolving the issues in the Finance Department.”
Martins, 47, who was elected to the board three years ago, said during her campaign that Wilhelm’s statements about the Finance Department being in disarray were based on “sound bites and innuendo.” She promised to continue to work making sure the town is innovative in the management of its resources.
Martins did not return phone calls seeking comment last night.
Wenham Town Clerk Trudy Reid said 859 ballots were cast yesterday out of the town’s 2,869 registered voters — a 30 percent turnout.
In Hamilton, Selectman Marc Johnson won re-election and will be joined by newcomer Scott Maddern. Selectman Jeff Stinson did not seek re-election.
The field of candidates also included Jacob “Jack” Hauck, 77, a retired journalist, and William Dery, 72, a current School Committee member.
Maddern received 568 votes, while Johnson received 515 votes. A total of 856 ballots were cast out of the town’s 5,833 registered voters — a 15 percent voter turnout.
Maddern, 57, a Finance Committee member, said during his campaign that one of his main goals is to bring more revenue into town and lower tax rates for residents.
“I am humbled by all the support I received,” Maddern said last night. “My family and friends have been very supportive.”
He said he is “enthused” to join the board with experience working with the board and town manager as a Finance Committee member.
“My role on the FinCom has been great, and I can’t wait to help more,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with the current board.”
During his campaign, Johnson, 54, said he’d like to stay involved with closing the town’s landfill and plans for the Patton property, which was gifted to the town by the Patton family.
“I am excited about winning and getting a lot done over the next couple of years,” he said. “We definitely need to stabilize the Patton property and see if the Pirea property can give us some new net increase revenue options.”
School Committee race
Three new members will join the School Committee after yesterday’s election. Incumbents Ann Minois, Larry Swartz and Kym Donnellan did not seek re-election.
The newcomers are Jeanise Bertrand, 22, of Wenham; Deborah Evans, 49, of Wenham; and Melissa Even Moore, 43, of Hamilton.
Richard Boroff, 70, of Hamilton, a seven-year member of the School Committee, was unable to garner enough votes to rejoin the board.
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.
Election results Wenham selectmen Molly Martins 267 Jack Wilhelm 578 Hamilton selectmen Marc Johnson 515 William Dery 195 Jacob "Jack" Hauck 237 Scott Maddern 568 Hamilton-Wenham School Committee Jeanise Bertrand 743 Richard Boroff 707 Deborah Evans 1,335 Melissa Even Moore 1,110