KENNEBUNK, Maine – Shiloh Schulte is the new chair of the Kennebunk Select Board.
At its first meeting of the new fiscal year on Tuesday, the board of directors chose Schulte as the new leader by a 4-3 vote.
Board member Lisa Pratt and newly elected members Miriam Whitehouse and Leslie Trantelange provided opposing votes.
Board member Kortney Nedeau nominated Schulte for the position. With his seven years of experience on the board and his recent stint as vice chairman, Nedeau described Schulte as neutral, calm and rational, and “the next natural thing.”
“He’s someone who can run a meeting,” Nedeau said. “We’re all going to contribute in our own way, and I feel like Shiloh has a really good way of getting things done no matter where he is on the spectrum of an issue.”
In appointing Schulte, Nedeau was refusing a nomination for president by board member Sally Carpenter. In making his nomination, Carpenter praised Nedeau for his qualities and abilities.
“I think she has very strong leadership skills,” Carpenter said. “When she tackles a project, she stays focused on the task. She has thick skin, which I think the president really must have. She can face adversity… She doesn’t really have an opinion. She listens. She can see some value in some of the things on an opposite side.
After electing Schulte, the board voted 4 to 3 to appoint Nedeau as vice president.
Trantelange named Pratt president and vice president, praising her as fair and as an “incredible communicator,” someone who has done a lot of research and “knows the ins and outs” of the council.
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Pratt would actually be selected for one job – that of secretary to the board. By a vote of 5 to 2, the board selected Pratt to serve in that capacity. Selectperson Bill Ward had also been nominated for the position.
Schulte succeeds Blake Baldwin, who had served as chairman of the board for the past three years. Baldwin lost his re-election bid in the annual municipal elections in June.
At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Schulte welcomed newcomers Whitehouse and Trantelange and thanked everyone for supporting him as chairman.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done, but I’m happy to serve this year and maybe for as long as you decide you want me here,” he said, noting that he will be “excluded”. ” in two years.
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Schulte also put the city’s recent history into context, saying the community — and, in particular, the Select Board — has changed so much over the past 13 months.
“There has been a huge turnover, a huge amount of change, a huge amount of energy and excitement and a broadening of perspectives and thoughts…that have come to this council since June of last year,” said he declared.
Two years ago, the board consisted of seven men – a composition Baldwin once described as “six old guys and Shiloh” when encouraging a diverse mix of candidates to run in the next election. In June 2021, voters elected Nedeau, Pratt and Carpenter. And last month voters also elected Whitehouse and Trantelange, giving the Select Board a female majority for the first time in the city’s history.
Schulte said, “We have a ton of work to do,” but he also said he was excited and “certainly up for the challenge.” He added that he thinks his colleagues on the board are too.
“There is going to be a learning curve,” he said. “There are going to be some growing pains… We’re going to have to spend more time figuring out who we are as a board, what our priorities are, what we’re trying to do.
“I hope everyone in the city will support us and help us get there.”