LEE — A former selectman is back on the board ready to fight the proposed PCB landfill in town.
In Monday’s annual town election, Gordon Bailey, a retired state inspector who served on the three-person board from 2000-12, garnered 574 votes to win a three-way race for the three-year term. Anne Langlais, a leader in the “No PCB Dump” movement the past two years was second with 381 votes while Robert Wright pulled in 128 votes.
Bailey succeeds Chair Patricia Carlino, who decided against a reelection bid after serving on the board for 24 years.
Bailey, who along with his opponents campaigned all day at the driveway entrance to the Crossway Village polling place, was stunned by the outcome.
“I’m absolutely shocked because so many people came up to Anne and were congratulating her. She spent a ton of money and had a lot of signs out,” he said. “I’m absolutely humbled that the people in Lee have faith in me.”
Bailey will begin his term Tuesday night as the Select Board holds a regular meeting in which they reorganize with Sean Regnier likely becoming the new chair. It is a tradition in Lee that the Select Board member next up for reelection serves as the chair in their final year of the term.
Meanwhile all three ballot questions passed with ease.
By a count of 652-388, voters approved a nonbinding referendum calling on the Select Board to rescind its decision two years ago to accept the Rest of River cleanup. The remediation plan for the Housatonic River calls for 1 million cubic yards of PCB contaminated sediment be placed in a landfill in Lee.
An anti-dump proponent, Bailey says he will consider the mandate from the people.
“If [rescinding] is a good, legal option, I’m for it,” he said, “but we need to know the ramifications. I’m not afraid to fight the dump.”
Voters also agreed, by a vote of 629-417, to return to an open town meeting form of government. Lee implemented the town meeting representative form of government in the late 1960s.
And by an overwhelming margin, 845-169, voters supported a plan to revoke a 1 percent surcharge on property tax bills to pay down debt on municipal water system improvements.
The remaining races were uncontested, with one seat in need of write-in candidates.
Sarah Wright won another one-year term as town moderator while incumbent Matthew Carlino grabbed another five-year stint on the Planning Board.
For the two, three-year terms available on the School Committee, Chair Andrea Larson was returned to the board while the other slot had no candidates listed on the ballot. Local election officials will determine if a viable write-in candidate won the seat.
Kirk Nichols will serve out the remaining two years on a seat vacated by Nelson Daley Sr., who did not seek reelection last year. Nichols served the first year of the three-year term as an appointee.
Meanwhile another appointee from last spring, Nicole Kosiorek, was elected to the final year of an unexpired three-year term. She replaced Anne Wescott, who resigned May 1, 2021.