NORTH ATTLEBORO — Voters asked for change when they adopted a charter last April to usher in a new form of town government, but Tuesday they picked a lot of familiar faces to run that government.
In a special election, voters picked three selectmen, a former town administrative assistant, a finance committee member and a school committee member to be among the nine people to sit on North Attleboro’s first- ever town council.
The council will replace representative town meeting as the legislative branch of government July 1 and will hire a town manager to run the government.
Selectman Keith Lapointe topped the ticket with 1,932 votes, making him the council president, or ceremonial head of government.
Selectman Justin Paré was a close second with 1,901 votes and carried Precincts 3 and 9 in his end of town.
A little further behind, in third and fourth place, were selectmen Chairman Michael Lennox and former town hall administrative assistant Jo Ann Cathcart.
They were followed by attorney John Simmons, anti-tax-override activist Julie Boyce, newcomer Darius Gregory, school committee member Adam Scanlon, and finance committee member Kathleen Prescott.
There were 19 candidates for the nine council seats and only three of them were women, but all three of them won.
Despite the historic nature of the election, only 15 percent of voters turned out out to cast ballots.
Lapointe said he was “incredibly excited” to be elected to help the town transition into its new government.
“I think its a great opportunity now to take the next step forward,” he said.
He said it was gratifying to see the three selectmen who were candidates come out on top, saying it was a sign voters are pleased with the new direction the town has taken.
Lapointe said significant changes have been made in recent years to improve the culture of town government, shore up its finances, pass a tax increase, bring in economic development and pass the charter, he said.
Each of the three selectmen running got a vote from more more than 50 percent of the 3,077 people who participated in the special election.
He also said the council appears to be a diverse board with a range of experiences and backgrounds.
Some of the winners, such as Lapointe, are lifelong residents of North Attleboro, while others, such as Gregory, are new to town.
Some have many years experience in town government, some have none.
Pare also said the special election results were a tribute to the good example selectmen have set in behaving professionally and working together.
He also said he was excited about the future of the town and its government.
Cathcart said he believes she did well because she has been around town government so long everyone knows her.
She once worked in the police department, was an administrative assistant in town hall and acting town administrator for a while.
The council members will be sworn in July 1, Town Clerk Kevin Poirier said. They will serve two-year terms.
Election commission Chairman David Torpey said he was disappointed in the 15 percent turnout, but not surprised.
It was actually on the higher end of his prediction. He said there just didn’t seem to be much interest in the election.
Town council was not the only office on the ballot. There were low profile races with John Gould and John Casey getting elected to the electric commission and Anthony Rinaldi, who was unopposed, to the board of public works.