By Chris Maza
As of this writing, Stephen Crane’s watch has officially ended.
Town manager for six years, Crane’s road wasn’t always a smooth one. Some found his style abrasive. Some thought he wasn’t as accessible as he could have been. He would butt heads with elected officials, oftentimes publicly.
But for whatever his faults were, it is this writer’s belief that his legacy where the rubber meets the road was a positive one. Longmeadow saw a number of projects realized, including recently the groundbreaking of a new Department of Public Works facility and Adult Center, new street lighting, and a major improvement of the Wolf Swamp Fields.
Budgets overall were well done and by the end of his tenure, the town was able to manage and reduce budget increases as the tax ceiling question looms.
Perhaps the biggest notch in Crane’s belt, at least in my mind, however, was the part he played in securing an extremely lucrative surrounding community agreement that was one of the most robust in the area.
Of course, Crane didn’t accomplish any of these alone. Crane regularly would credit the work of Paul Pasterczyk and the town’s various departments for their good work. On several occasions, he stated his belief the town of Longmeadow had hands down the best department heads around, an assertion that is hard to argue with. While he didn’t see eye-to-eye with every elected official, the work that needed to get done got done. He also credited the residents of Longmeadow with being some of the best-educated and involved he has come across.
Now, the town is again at a crossroads.
Longmeadow is fortunate in the sense that several members of the board have been through the rough experience of trying to find the town’s next chief executive. The process that brought Crane to Longmeadow carried with it a lot of lessons and to this point, it appears the Select Board is applying much of what was learned.
Finding a new town manager isn’t about finding the next Stephen Crane. It’s not about finding the opposite of Stephen Crane either.
It’s about finding someone who will build upon what’s already been accomplished here. It’s about reflecting on what the town’s goals and what next moves should be and finding the person who can help reach those goals.
As the application process comes to an end and the candidate review begins, it will be interesting to see just how far things have progressed.
Just as the town has an opportunity for self-examination, so does the Longmeadow News.
As I am sure everyone is aware by now, the Longmeadow News recently became part of the Reminder Publishing family. When I addressed this transition shortly after it happened, I assured readers that there would not be any changes. In a sense, this is true. The Longmeadow News will retain its ultra-local approach to community journalism with a mission of bringing valuable information to the town’s residents.
With that being said, we want to ensure that what we are providing is, in fact, what our readership finds most valuable. We want to maximize the impact our product has for Longmeadow.
The best way we could think of the make sure this was happening?
So that’s what we’re doing. We want to hear from you, the people of Longmeadow. We are asking our readers to complete a 10-question survey that will help us identify the things we’re doing well and what needs to be improved and what you’re looking for when you pick up the Longmeadow News.
This simple survey literally takes less than two minutes to complete and will give us valuable information that will allow us to serve you better.
The survey is available on our website at https://www.thelongmeadownews.com/reader-survey/.
If you are not tech-savvy, we also have printed surveys available at the Longmeadow Adult Center and Storrs Library that can be completed and returned to us at The Longmeadow News c/o Reminder Publishing, 280 North Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028.
Thank you in advance for your help.