In 2008, she defeated challenger Peter Cotch by a 260-vote margin to retain her seat, receiving 1,446 votes to his 1,186. Lyman ran unopposed for her current three-year term on the board in 2011.
Prior to serving as an elected official, she worked as director of human resources for the town for five years, from 1985 to 1990. She said it was that work that prompted her to run for public office.
“I always felt like I could make a difference if I could change policies that I saw when I was working,” she said. “I felt like I was more effective because I knew what was going on.”
Lyman, who has a master’s degree in public administration, said that inside knowledge, along with her educational background, helped her push for changes on such things as the use of town cars by department heads.
For years, the town had been overly generous in the way it doled out take-home cars for town employees, Lyman said. She sought to create more structure with the program to reduce the cost to taxpayers.
She said she also sought to change some of the antiquated language in union contracts, and to strive for fairness in the way employees on both the town and school sides of the ledger were treated.
“A secretary in one department should be treated the same as a secretary in another department,” she said, noting that for years one side was paid at a higher rate than another side.
“I haven’t done everything I wanted to do, but I felt like I’ve made a difference,” she said.