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Lachiusa takes over as Select Board chairman

LONGMEADOW – With the annual town election in the rearview mirror, the Select Board was tasked on Monday with choosing a new chairman. Vice Chairman Thomas Lachiusa was selected through a 5-0 vote, replacing former chair Marie Angelides at the helm. Angelides remains on the board as she won another term in last week’s election, running unopposed.

Lachiusa was nominated for the chairman’s seat by Select Board member Richard Foster. The motion was seconded by William Low. However, before the vote was taken, Select Board member Mark Gold expressed concern about whether or not Lachiusa would be able to commit the time needed for the post.

“Being chair is a big time commitment,” Gold said to Lachiusa. “And I know you have a lot of other things going on.”

Lachiusa, who is a social worker, acknowledged that in the spring, he was essentially holding down four jobs – teaching at Springfield College, maintaining his private practice, working in a domestic violence program within the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, and serving as vice chair of the Select Board. However, Lachiusa noted that classes have ended, and as of June 30, he is retiring from the Sheriff’s Department.

“This summer, I’ll only have two jobs,” he said. “I don’t want to shortchange the town or the position, so I’m prepared for that (the time commitment).”

Lachiusa said that whenever he gets involved with a group or a project, he takes time to observe and determine what might be missing. Then, he said, he tries to fill that gap. This is the tactic he plans to employ as chair of the Select Board. But he knows he can’t do it alone.

“I’m going to need some help,” said Lachiusa. “I’ll definitely need help from the other members of the (Select) Board and our local legislators with some of the things that I have planned.”

He noted that he is excited about the opportunity to serve as chair, and looks forward to working collaboratively to set the board’s agenda. Lachiusa also shared a few tidbits about his personality and work style.

“I’m a person who doesn’t like to be surprised by bad news,” he said. “So if there is any bad news, I’d like to hear about it as soon as possible, rather than get a surprise later.

Lachiusa then took a moment to praise Angelides for her work as chair over the past year.

“Marie, you’ve had a great year,” he said to Angelides. “We got a lot done. I think the fact that we had a two-night town meeting really spells out how much work you and the town manager did to put things together. You really did a great job, and it’s not going to be easy to fill those shoes.”

Gold was chosen as vice chairman through a 5-0 vote, and Low was unanimously selected as clerk of the Select Board.

– Article by Sarah Leete Tsitso