MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectmen on Tuesday picked Brookside Drive resident Nick Artim to fill out a term vacated at the end of last month by longtime Selectman Bill Perkins.
Artim was one of four candidates who had declared interest in replacing Perkins, who has moved to Colorado. The other candidates were residents Jeremy Rathbun, Ted Shambo and Travis Forbes. Artim and Rathbun showed up for public interviews with selectmen on Tuesday; Forbes withdrew his name from contention before the meeting, but said he may run for the spot when it comes up for election next March.
“Following in Bill Perkins’ footsteps — could you make it any harder?” Artim told his new colleagues with a smile after he was selected in a 4-1 vote.
Artim is a licensed fire protection engineer with experience in emergency services. He has served as a member of the Middlebury Public Safety Committee; and sits on the Middlebury Fire Department Planning Committee that is devising a master plan for future upgrades to the department’s facilities. He also served on the ad hoc panel that narrowed down a series of potential in-town bridge sites to Cross Street, and is an election official for the town of Middlebury.
He told selectmen that he had been giving a run for the selectboard “serious consideration for a while.” Like Rathbun, Artim decided to apply for the balance of Perkins’ term to get used to the job before formally running in 2010.
Artim told selectmen he’d like to see the town do more to attract and retain businesses to boost the local economy.
“What I would like to see happen more … is efforts to increase the economic base, and increasing it with quality jobs that keep people here,” Artim said.
Specifically, Artim said he’d like to see Middlebury become more of a player in creating jobs and products in the “green energy” industries.
“I haven’t seen a lot of that here,” Artim said. “It would be something I would like to see happen.”
Selectmen gave great credit to Rathbun for his interest in serving the community. Rathbun was born and raised in Middlebury and currently works for Phelps Engineering.
“Frankly, my generation does a pretty good job of sitting around complaining about what they don’t like, but not such a great job stepping up and getting involved,” Rathbun said. “That is what I would like to change, and I believe my perspective as a young married man who lives and works and will be starting a family in this town, would be a good perspective to have on the board.”
Rathbun said the town should do more to promote local sustainability, in terms of producing more of its own food, energy and consumer goods. He added the town should find more ways to nurture “blue collar” industries and decrease the cost of living for young families and others struggling to make ends meet.
“It is very difficult to buy a home in this town and live in this town,” Rathbun said.
Selectman Don Keeler nominated Artim, for whom he voted. Selectmen Craig Bingham, Victor Nuovo and John Tenny also voted for Artim.
Selectwoman Janelle Ashley nominated and voted for Rathbun.
Bingham said he hopes applicants maintain their interest through the next election.
“Since we can’t appoint all of you, I hope those of you who are not appointed will run again in March,” Bingham said.