After a spirited campaign, Dedham incumbents retained their seats on the Select Board and the School Committee in Saturday’s town election.
Current Select Board Chair Dimitria Sullivan led the race with 31.1% of the vote, or 2,861 votes. Erin Boles Welsh, who has a background in public policy, will be joining her on the board, coming in second in the four-way race for two seats with 2,401 votes, or 26.1% and topping the ticket for Precinct 1. Dimitria Sullivan led the other six precincts, with her strongest showing in Precinct 7.
What was unusual about this contest was that one out of five votes was blank. There were 1,881 blank ballots cast in an election where the key topics of debate were the proposed town green in Dedham Square and the upcoming Route 1 redesign and Bussey Street bridge projects.
Community activist Jason Brogan came in third, garnering 1,625 votes for 17.7% of the tally. Cheryl Sullivan, the current Board of Assessors chair, rounded out the race with 4.5% of the votes with 416. There were 12 ballots cast for write-in candidates.
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The School Committee race was more contentious, with four candidates vying for two seats. Current School Committee Chair Tracey A. White came in first with 2,528 votes, or 27.5%. Incumbent Mayanne MacDonald Briggs, the longest-serving member on the board, was reelected with 2,478 votes, 26.9% of the total.
Challengers Rebecca Gates and Beth Flanagan Gleason charged that the current board was apathetic to parents’ concerns and said they supported the public comment period and would address issues with curriculum and bullying.
Mirroring the Select Board race, 19.7% of the ballots cast were blank, totaling 1,814.
Gates earned 17.8% of the vote with 1,633 votes. Flanagan Gleason earned 733 votes, or 8%.
Board of Health
The tightest race was for the vacant seat on the Board of Health created by the retirement of Vice Chair Mary Ellard. Bernadette “Bernie” Chirokas narrowly won the seat by 37 votes. She got 45.6% with 2,097 votes to the 2,060 earned by Colleen Hynes, who received 44.8%. There were 436 blanks and five write-ins.
In the uncontested races, Richard Schoenfeld III won a three-year term on the Board of Assessors. He received 2,476 votes for 53.8%. There were 2,108 blanks, for 45.8%.
Michael Polito won a one-year term on the Board of Assessors with 2,427 votes for 52.8%. There were 2,145 blanks for 46.7%.
James McGrail won a Planning Board seat with 2,386 votes, totaling 51.9%. There were 2,194 blanks for 47.7%. Eighteen write-in ballots were cast.
Brian Keaney and Crystal Power won seats of the Board of Library Trustees. Keaney received 25.9%, or 2,379 votes. Power got 2,234 votes for 24.3%. There were 4,567 blank votes cast, amounting to 49.7 percent.