Election Roundup: School Comm. Shakeup; Adult Center Approved

LONGMEADOW, MA – Almost as soon as it welcomed two members, the School Committee has to begin the process of finding a new one.

On June 14, 2018, Ryan Kelly and Bronwyn Monahan took part in their first meeting since being elected to the committee. In the town’s only contested race on the ballot for the June 12 Annual Town Election, Ryan and Monahan beat out Janet Robinson and Daniel Murphy for their seats.

But Jessica Hutchins created a new vacancy on the board by tendering her resignation, effective June 15. Her letter of resignation was stamped as received by Town Clerk Kathy Ingram on June 5.

“I am so happy to have been of service to the schools and the community for five years as a School Committee member,” the short letter reads. “The work is important to me and I am grateful to have served and very proud of all I have accomplished.”

Hutchins joins former Chair Michelle Grodsky and former Vice Chair Russell Dupere as recent departures from the committee. Grodsky and Dupere did not run for re-election.

School Committee member Melanie Rothstein thanked Hutchins for her years of service to the committee, which Stephanie Jasmin echoed, adding Grodsky and Dupere would also be missed.

The Select Board and School Committee will work in tandem to fill her position. The appointment would be effective until the next election. A meeting between the Select Board and School Committee had not been scheduled as of the Select Board’s June 18 meeting.

The School Committee also voted to elevate Beth Barron to chair and Kerrin Morrin to vice chair at the meeting, with Stephanie Jasmin assuming the role of clerk.

While the Select Board stayed intact as Selectmen Richard Foster and Thomas Lachiusa were re-elected in uncontested races, it did undergo a reorganization. Mark Gold was selected to serve as chair at the board’s June 18 meeting, while Marie Angelides was elected vice chair. William Low will serve as clerk for the next year.

Angelides thanked Lachiusa for his service as chair, saying he “rose to the occasion.”

In addition, the community also voted during the election to approved a Proposition 2 ½ override necessary to build a new adult center at Greenwood Park by a margin of 1220-772. Residents had previously approved the plans for the senior center at the Annual Town Meeting. That project is estimated to cost $13.9 million, with $11.1 million budgeted for construction of the 24,200-square foot building, and the remaining $2.8 million allocated for soft costs.

Stephen Crane told the Select Board the next step would be to hire an owner’s project manager, an effort that would be directed by Procurement Officer Chad Thompson. Crane estimated the process could easily be completed in six to eight weeks and also added he had been in touch with Marybeth Bergeron, chair of the Adult Center Building Committee about their role in the process moving forward.

Moderator Rebecca Townsend, Housing Authority member Ronald Manseau, and Planning Board member Donald Holland all took part in uncontested races.
The election drew a 17.3 percent turnout, down from 20.1 percent a year ago when a question on the Department of Public Works was on the ballot.

– By Chris Maza