Wednesday, May 27
OTIS — A former town clerk has ousted an incumbent on the Board of Selectmen with a resounding victory in Otis' annual town election.

By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Donna Thomas defeated Clayton Chaffee, 174 to 90 during Tuesday's balloting at Town Hall. A third candidate, John "Jack" Conboy finished with 77 votes — the same number he received in last year's three-way race for selectman.

Chaffee was after his first back-to-back three-year terms on the board, having won non-consecutive terms in 1995, 2002 and 2006.

In all, 342 out of 1,088 registered voters went to the polls for a 31-percent turnout.

Thomas said she was stunned by her overwhelming support from the voters.

"I was blown away by the numbers," said Thomas, who was Otis Town Clerk for 11 years, before leaving the office in 2005.

Thomas pointed out working in town government is one of several ways she's built up a good relationship with townspeople that apparently translated into votes on Tuesday. Thomas and her husband Gary ran the Old Otis Inn for 17 years and she has volunteered for several local civic and youth groups, since arriving in town more than 30 years ago.

"We jumped right into the community when we moved here," added Thomas.

While the newest selectman in South County has moved up the town's political ladder, Thomas said being on the board is "all about responsibility to the voters, not power.


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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.