NORTON -- This spring's annual town election could reshape the face of local government, with longtime Town Moderator Bill Gouveia stepping down after 12 years and several other key offices up for grabs.
The April 4 vote will also be the town's first Saturday election in years. Elections for several years have been held on a Tuesday, but residents decided, at the recommendation of town officials, to change for the sake of convenience, which will hopefully boost turnout.
In another change, voting will be at the middle school instead of the high school. Local officials decided to move the polls for safety and other reasons.
Walter Eykel, a software engineer, has pulled nomination papers for moderator.
Planning board member Kevin O’Neil has taken out papers for the board of selectmen. A former school committee member, he also recently served on the town hall/senior center building committee.
Longtime Selectwoman Mary Steele’s term is expiring, but she hasn't taken out papers.
School committee member Carolyn Kurker Gallagher has pulled papers for another term.
Also, Timothy Griffin is looking to keep his seat on the planning board where he is vice chair. There are two terms expiring on the board, the other held by chairman Steve Hornsby, but only Griffin has taken out papers.
James Riley has pulled papers for the board of assessors, which he chairs.
Other offices available and incumbents are water/sewer commission, Scott Ollerhead; and housing authority, Michael Young.
Gouveia recently announced he will end his four-term run as moderator when his current stint ends April 4.
The moderator runs town meetings and appoints finance committee members, but Gouveia plans to advocate for revamping town government. A charter study committee is studying Norton's government and Gouveia, ironically, would like to see town meeting abolished to improve efficiency.
All positions that will be on the ballot are for three years except housing authority.
The last day to obtain nomination papers from the town clerk's office is Feb. 12 and the last day to file papers with the board of registrars is Feb. 14.
For more information, call the clerk’s office at 508-285-0230.