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Hooksett council avoids special election

HOOKSETT - The Hooksett Town Council voted Wednesday to delay accepting a previously approved resignation to avoid triggering a costly special election.

The council voted unanimously to accept Councilor John Danforth's resignation on March 26, early enough to open up the district seat for candidates to file for the annual town election in May, and late enough to bar the possibility of a special election.

Danforth's resignation had previously been accepted on Feb. 13. Danforth said his council duties were conflicting with his duties to his family, but that he would be willing to stay until May if necessary.

The Hooksett Town Charter calls for a replacement to be appointed within 30 days of a "declared vacancy." Because the council had no appointee ready by their March 13 meeting, a special election would have been triggered.

Complicating the issue was the Supervisor of the Checklist's redistricting plan, approved Feb. 27. Danforth was elected to Hooksett District 2; redistricting put him in District 4. Councilors could not look for a replacement until they had clarified where an interim could come from under redistricting.

Several residents who expressed interest in becoming the interim councilor lived in the former District 2, but are now in District 4.

After a lengthy discussion and several proposals Wednesday night, Councilor Vincent Lembo offered the idea of delaying Danforth's resignation. Town Administrator Dean Shankle supplied the date of March 26.

Whoever ends up with the new District 2 seat will serve the remainder of Danforth's term, and face election in 2014.

Also on the May ballot will be Vincent Lembo's "at large" seat (open to all residents except those living in Districts 2 and 3), Nancy Comai's District 6 seat, and Michael Downer's District 5 seat, though Downer has indicated that he does not intend to run for reelection.

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