KENSINGTON — Kensington's three selectmen will not seek reelection this March.
Michael Schwotzer, Ben Cole and Bob Long made the announcement in Monday night's meeting, while reassuring constituents that they aren't going anywhere.
Schwotzer and Cole were appointed by Rockingham Superior Court Judge Andrew Schulman, at the recommendation of Town Moderator Harold Bragg, this past September after the prior board, Linda Blood, Robert Wadleigh and Norman DeBoisbriand, resigned on the eve of the September primary election. Schwotzer and Cole later appointed Long as the third member.
Though the judge only appointed them through March, Schwotzer was clear from the start that this wouldn't be any different than any of his previous terms as selectman. "We are not the 'interim selectmen,'" he said. "We are the selectmen."
The perception of some community members was that the appointment would "just get us through March," Schwotzer said Monday night. But neither he nor his two colleagues were comfortable with keeping the town in a holding pattern.
Under their leadership the employee handbook has been updated, a new agreement negotiated for the Sawyer-Kensington Trust, the Recreation Committee revitalized, and a budget created to meet the town's needs.
All three men said they were stepping down because of family concerns and the need to do other things. Schwotzer, who is retired, said he has been spending four hours a day, six days a week on town business. "I figure it works out to about a dollar an hour," he said jokingly.
Cole and Long still work full-time.
But all three said they will be around to orient the new board, and to help their community in general.
Though he had "greatness thrust on him," Cole doesn't regret the experience. "I used to dread board meetings, but for the past few weeks it's actually been fun," he said.
While Schwotzer and Long didn't see themselves running again, Cole said he hasn't ruled out another term on the board, sometime in the future.
"This is a thankless job, but I've been moved by the amount of thanks we've received," he said.
Schwotzer, who has served as selectman two previous times, had his own thanks to give. "This," Schwotzer said, "is the best board I've ever worked with."
Community member Glenn Greenwood spoke for many of the audience members when he said, "You were supposed to be stewards, but you ended up being leaders."