Government Spotlight

Select board candidates for 1 year term

The following candidates seek election to complete the term of George Colby, who resigned from the board:
Dustin Ward
Brian Shedlarski
Linda Chase

Scott Doyle is also on the ballot. We will run his profile when we receive it.

Dustin Ward

[photo Tom Jordan]
Occupation: Racial Equity and Reconciliation Advocate
Education: B.S. Political Science & Minor in Economics – USM (’10) , Master of Divinity – Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (’19)
Community organizations/ service: Currently partnering as an Implicit Bias Educator for Mindbridge; Board member and partner with Atlantic Black Box; Founder of It Is Time…LLC; Partner with Greater Portland Council of Governments
Interests/ hobbies: Golf, Basketball, Music
Family status: Married
Social media: @vote_forward – Instagram

Q: Why do you want to serve on the select board? What experience and expertise do you bring to this role? 
A: I’m running to show how we can move town ForWard in the face of troubles in our past. To reconcile those and bring new vision, thinking, and efforts to the board. I want to help bring healing, reconciliation, and rebuild the trust that has been lost over the last few years. I’ll focus on being an exemplar for how this can be accomplished, and rectify mistakes made along the way. I desire to bring a change of culture to local town politics, and to empower others who might be new to the political process; to stand up and share their voice. I hope to bring more transparency, open my ears and listen to all residents, and engage in positive dialogue. I am running for the people. My education has been geared towards politics in both national and local governments. Thus, I have dedicated my academics to bringing value to municipalities. I also have previous work in ministry and the organization of a local church mirrors that of local towns; including budgetary processes, and how to work with committees and boards to achieve outcomes. I have worked with presenting small and large budgets, and handling outside investments and endowments to operate. Finally, I work as a Racial Equity and Reconciliation Advocate, and thus I have value in how to bring multiple sides together and bridge the gap that can divide individuals. Thus, I hope to bring reconciliation to New Gloucester.

Q: What are the three most critical issues facing the town, and how would you like the board to address them? 
A: Supporting new town employees including the new town manager and how we can create a better working environment. This requires support, development on the job, and investment of skills that the town manager may not have or can expand upon. We also have a comprehensive plan that has a plethora of great ideas and plans that need details and focus on how to implement. It is important to start setting these in motion, and keeping the comp plan as a guide to future vision and goals. Finally, we need to support the work of the charter commission, and allowing this group to give us stability and organization which has been lacking for the last few years.

Q: The town has experienced considerable staff turnover, including in town managers. In light of this, what should the new town manager’s initial priorities be and how would you support them in their role? 
A: The first priority is to carry the vision and goals of the town to the staff and other employees, to help direct those they oversee to make decisions based on collaborative goals and tasks that the community has invested in. The town manager also needs to help with tearing down silos, and allowing departments to work with one another and together. There shouldn’t be a climate of “ownership” of tasks and “areas” but that we work together to achieve a common goal. The select board needs to be the support group for the town manager, to help achieve these, and provide whatever they need to bring down the silos, and fix the working culture. They should also be investing in training and continue development of the town manager, to allow new ideas to flourish while in the job. The select board also needs to set that vision, tone, and goals for the town manager in order to have them carry it forward.

Brian Shedlarski

Occupation: Realtor since 2006
Education: 1995 Graduate of Gray-New Gloucester High School. I enrolled in Burlington College, VT in 1997 and later transferred to UMaine Orono for Journalism.
Community organizations/ service: I am currently the chairman of the Land Management Planning Committee and a member of the Budget Committee.
Interests/ hobbies: I love the outdoors. I like to spend time fishing with my kids, swimming at our family’s camp on Sabbathday Lake and more recently my family has taken an interest in geology. We are members of the Maine Mineral Club and love exploring Maine’s mines and quarries.
Family status: I am married and have 2 children ages 8 and 13.
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/voteforbrian2021

Q: Why do you want to serve on the select board? What experience and expertise do you bring to this role?
A: I love being involved in my community. Meeting new people, talking to friends and neighbors, and having a positive impact on the community I live in are all important to me. As a small business owner, I know the importance of fiscal responsibility. As a realtor, I follow and value a code of ethics. As a candidate, I am non-partisan. Combine these attributes and I am a candidate that will work diligently for the people of New Gloucester. I will be approachable, open and most importantly I will listen to the issues that are important to you.

Q: What are the three most critical issues facing the town, and how would you like the board to address them? 
A: 1. Employee turnover. Assess the current working environment within the town as well as review the hiring practices and policies currently in place. 2. The Upper Village development. It is important for the town to dispose of excess property in the Upper Village and work toward the vision as laid out in the Upper Village Master Plan. 3. Conservation and development. Managing conservation and development to maintain New Gloucester’s rural character by reviewing the Transfer of Development Rights Program.

Q: The town has experienced considerable staff turnover, including in town managers. In light of this, what should the new town manager’s initial priorities be and how would you support them in their role? 
A: The town manager’s initial priorities should be: 1. To interact with all town boards and committees to obtain an accurate overview of what is currently happening in our community. 2. To compile a summary of employee concerns for the Board to review, look for common themes among recent employee departures, review hiring practices and policies, and employee morale I would support her by being open and receptive to the information she presents and support open communication with the board.

Linda D. Chase

Occupation: Laboratory Associate / Business Owner
Education: Associates Degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences,           University of Maine Augusta
Community organizations/ service: New Gloucester Comprehensive Plan Update Comprehensive, New Gloucester Board of Selectmen, New Gloucester Board of Library Trustees Liaison, New Gloucester Parks & Recreation Committee Liaison, Former President New Gloucester Little League, Former member of MSAD 15 Facility Committee, Former member Gray Parks & Recreation, Former Girl Scout Leader.
Interests/ hobbies: Gardening, reading, hiking crocheting, crafts and enjoying the outdoors.

Q: Why do you want to serve on the select board? What experience and expertise do you bring to this role? 
A: I seek to complete a vacant one year term. I believe my experience will serve the New Gloucester community well. I am currently the vice-chairman of the board. I have been successful in reviewing, writing and implementing policies and procedures for our town. I understand the budget, and CIP process.

Q: What are the three most critical issues facing the town, and how would you like the board to address them? 
A: 1. Communication is difficult in our small town. We have many community members who do not have access to internet or electronic information. We need to better serve them with direct, or paper communication. 2. Division of our town. We need to meet the needs of all our community members. Neighbors helping neighbors. We need community events where all community members feel invited, people need to feel they are heard. 3. Increased tax base. We need to become more businesses friendly. We need to draw more business by investing in infrastructure, Incentive and zoning.

Q: The town has experienced considerable staff turnover, including in town managers. In light of this, what should the new town manager’s initial priorities be and how would you support them in their role? 
A: We have had staff turnover due to retirement, better opportunities and career locations we are not alone. One of the best practices is for the board to sit down and discuss goals, expectations and communication guidelines. The board needs to focus on a clear plan, support staff and have a positive attitude. The manager will discuss the goals, expectations and communication guidelines with staff so everyone is on the same page. Any and all changes should be communicated immediately.