NORTH ATTLEBORO — For Andy Shanahan, the second time’s the charm.

Shanahan, a fire protection engineer and building consultant, was among the 19 candidates in last June’s first election for town council under the new charter, which did away with the board of selectmen and representative town meeting.

Under the new rules, the top nine vote-getters would constitute the first council.

Shananan didn’t make the cut.

That changed last week when Adam Scanlon formally resigned his council seat after winning last month’s election to replace state Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, R-North Attleboro, to represent the 14th Bristol District on Beacon Hill.

Under those same charter rules, one of the unsuccessful council candidates was eligible to step in and fill the vacancy. The person who came in 10th in the voting last year, local real estate company owner Michael Bedard, declined, citing the needs of his business.

That put Shanahan next in line.

“It was a surprise that it was me,” Shanahan, 40, said this week, but he was more than ready to accept when Scanlon told him the post would be available.

Shanahan is not a town government novice. He was a member of the planning board, a position from which he has now resigned to move on to the council. He is also a resident member of the council’s bylaw study committee. He’ll remain on that body as part of his council duties.

(That will leave a spot open for a new resident member, council President Keith Lapointe reminded residents last week. Application forms are on the town website, nattleboro.com, on the town manager’s section.)

Shanahan, a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, grew up in Abington and has lived in Attleboro for 10 years. He’s married with two school-age daughters.

In the run-up to last June’s election, Shanahan, who listed his party affiliation as “independent,” was asked by The Sun Chronicle what changes, if any, would be needed in the charter.

Shanahan deferred at the time, saying, “We need to operate under the new charter for a little while. Then, I believe the areas where change is needed will be more apparent.”

And now?

“We’ve been working on some tweaks,” he said, referring to the bylaw committee. “I think (the charter) is working as well as can be expected, as smooth if not smoother. It’s been a victory.”

Shanahan said he expects his engineering and planning background to be a help as he joins the council.

“Making it easier to build and work in town is part of my overall goals,” he said.

Shanahan knows he has to get his feet wet quickly. His first meeting as a councilor will be a supplemental budget hearing, set for next Tuesday, in a virtual format. It will take up changes in the town’s recently approved spending plan once, as officials anticipate, the state Legislature has passed and the governor has signed a new budget that will include local aid figures.

“(Dec.) 8th is going to be a very interesting introduction,” he said.

Scanlon’s unexpired council term ends this year and Shanahan said he plans to seek a full term in April town elections.

“I’m anticipating running again, hopefully,” he said.

Tom Reilly can be reached at 508-236-0332 or treilly@thesunchronicle.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tomreillynews

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