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A new face will join the Cary Village Board along with two re-elected incumbents who previously butt heads over a harassment complaint last year, according to unofficial election results.
Sitting trustees Ellen McAlpine and Kim Covelli garnered the most votes – 1,214 and 1,180, respectively – for two of three open seats on the Village Board.
The third seat is likely to be claimed by either Dale Collier Jr. (1,182 votes) or Sean Wheeler (1,168), who were neck and neck Tuesday evening, with Collier in the lead by just 12 votes. Fellow political newcomer, Tim Ritter, fell behind with 735 votes.
With all precincts reporting, voters appear to have unseated trustee Jim Cosler (1,076), who had sat on the Village Board since he was elected in 2015 as a write-in candidate. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Cosler and McAlpine were at the center of situation that sparked ire between board members last year. On Jan. 29, 2018, McAlpine filed a written complaint alleging that Cosler’s treated her with disrespect and unprofessionalism. Cosler has claimed the investigation was unwarranted.
Tuesday’s election had the potential to reunite an otherwise divided village board. McAlpine, Wheeler and Collier campaigned together with a promise of unity, hoping to end the political polarization.
McAlpine took the lead Tuesday evening with 18.52% of votes, according to unofficial results. She could not immediately be reached for comment.
Cosler and Covelli also campaigned together. The pair expressed frustrations last year with the village’s handling McAlpine's harassment complaint. Covelli said it's possible the situation influenced the way residents voted.
"If I had to speculate, I think that it’s possible," she said. "I also think it’s unfair. I was very vocal about how that whole harassment investigation was mishandled."
During their campaign, Cosler and Covelli advocated for the hiring of a contracted employee to work specifically with economic development. The pair was additionally hopeful to bring a low-cost transportation option the area.
Covelli retained her seat on the Village Board with 18.2% of votes, according to unofficial results. A police commander with the Lincolnshire Police Department, Covelli has suggested the village contract with outside entities for the extra use of its personnel, noting that police overtime was nearly $100,000 over budget during the 2017-18 budget year.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correctly state the police department where Kim Covelli is employed. Covelli is a commander at the Lincolnshire Police Department.