Two candidates are running for the Town Moderator position, vacated by Charlie Baker who did not seek reelection after a 25 year stint as Moderator. The Town Moderator primarily oversees Auburn Town Meetings, and appoints certain committee members including the Town Meeting Precinct Committee and the Riley Award Committee.

Chester S. Stencel, Jr.- Candidate for Town Moderator

Chet Stencel - Jeff LaBonte photo

Chet Stencel – Jeff LaBonte photo

Chester S. Stencel, Jr. is a retired math teacher at Bartlett High School in Webster. He currently teaches algebra at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. He stated, “I hope people really do get out to vote.”

Q. Why do you want to serve as moderator?

A. I’ve attended town meetings for about 40 years. Now I want the chance to lead the meetings. I have served as the assistant moderator in the past and did run one town meeting when Mr. Baker was ill.

Q. The moderator makes certain committee appointments; what would be your approach to appointing residents to committee positions?

A. The moderator appoints town meeting members of specific committees. If 5 or more are needed, I would ask for volunteers from each precinct. I would also take members’ attendance records at previous town meetings into consideration when making a decision.

 

Q. How would you prepare to moderate Town Meetings?

A. I would read the articles thoroughly and attempt to talk to the sponsor if I had any questions.

 

Q. Beside presiding over Town Meeting, what do you view as the role of Town Moderator?

A. Presiding over town meetings is the most important role.

 

Raffi Vartabedian –  Candidate for Town Moderator

Raffi Vartabedian (Jeff LaBonte photo)

Raffi Vartabedian (Jeff LaBonte photo)

Raffi Vartabedian is a native of Haverhill, MA. He moved to Auburn 13 years ago, where he lives with his wife and four children. Vartabedian has become a fixture in town sports and activities, sitting on the boards of Auburn Youth Football, Auburn Youth Basketball and Auburn Little League. He is also the co-chair of the Auburn PTO, a Town Meeting Member, and is active in Cub Scouts. He has worked in the financial services industry for the same employer for the past 16 years.

Q. Why do you want to serve as moderator?

A. I want to be involved. The Moderator position is a good fit, since you are not on either side politically. It feels like there is a lack of involvement from “our” generation. People move around a lot and don’t set down roots.  I want to set down roots.

Q. The moderator makes certain committee appointments; what would be your approach to appointing residents to committee positions?

A. I would make sure I understand the intent of those committees, and try to find interested people. I would try to generate some interest, and get a good representation to serve on those committees.

Q. How would you prepare to moderate Town Meetings?

A. I would make sure I have knowledge and understanding of the topics being discussed. I would talk to the Town administrators, and be sure I could discuss the topics with residents or Town Meeting Members who want information.

Q. Beside presiding over Town Meeting, what do you view as the role of Town Moderator?

A. I think Town Moderator is more than two meetings per year. I would advocate for the Town, and especially try to get more people involved. People see the growth happening in Auburn, but don’t know to get involved. For example, when I talk to people, many say “What is a Town Moderator?”  I would like to see more contested elections and more interest from residents. People are getting to know my name, know my face, so I think I can use that to get more people involved.