Sheriff, 1st District Candidates Seek Votes in Adams
Daniel E. Bosley addresses the Maple Grove Civic Club as three candidates hoping to replace him, David Bissaillon, left, Edward MacDonald and Gailanne Cardiid look on.
ADAMS, Mass. — The candidates for 1st District and the sheriff's office spent their last formal campaign gathering on Sunday afternoon chasing a few more voters.
Both sheriff's candidates, Thomas N. Bowler and Daniel E. Bosley, and all three representative candidates, Gailanne Cariddi, David Bissaillon and Edward MacDonald, spent just over an hour giving their stump speeches and answering a smattering of questions from the nearly 50 members of the Maple Grove Civic Club.
"For us the race is almost over ...," said Bosley, who spoke first. "This primary on Tuesday is the election. There is no Republican in either of these races, so whoever wins the primary becomes — barring a miracle on the Republican side — the sheriff or state representatives it's extremely important that you get out and make your vote."
Tom Bowler in a pensive pose, top, during the Maple Grove Civic Club candidates' forum. Bosley, left, chats up civic club members afterward.
Tuesday's election will fill two long-occupied and important political positions; Carmen Massimiano has been sheriff for 32 years, Bosley representative for 24. The forum, the last before the election, capped off a series of more formal encounters on local television and radio over the past months.
The candidates stuck to their stump speeches in the short time allowed.
"You know me. I've been your state representative for 24 years," said Bosley, whose district includes Adams. "I've brought more programs, more services, more money back to the 1st Berkshire District than anyone who's ever held this seat."
Bosley stressed his focus on security, rehabilitation and re-entry, saying he'd
laid out a plan to develop new programs, bring adult probation into the House of Correction and find cost savings measures, including solar energy and the possibility of a regional lockup.
Bowler, a 20-year Pittsfield Police detective, pointed to his longtime collaboration with various federal and local law enforcement agencies and said he would work on communication between agencies. He added, "you're not just dealing with the law enforcement aspect, you're dealing with the social service aspect as well with the victims and families."
The main difference between the sheriff candidates has been their philosophical take on the sheriff's office, with Bosley describing it as an administrator position and Bowler as a law enforcement issue. However, both answered similarly when asked about resources and if it was worthwhile to spend time and money on criminals.
"Our job is to rehabilitate those people - they're not all bad, but they've made bad choices," said Bowler. "We need to give these people the opportunity to become good people."
Bosley said it was cost-effective to provide services to help keep inmates from returning, noting it costs about $43,000 to keep someone in the House of Correction. "We need to give them services to keep them out; we can't keep them all out but it saves us money if we give them services ... We need them to take responsibility, to work a 40-hour work week."
Cariddi greets town meeting members Starr and Pat Baker.
MacDonald promised to 'bring home the bacon.'
Bissaillon had a contingent of supporters at the forum.
Budget cuts have made it difficult but Bosley said he would work to find funding. "I think I can squeeze some money out of the state ... but we need to find other sources to generate revenue ourselves."
"I do not have the legislative experience Dan Bosley has in Boston but I do know where Boston is and have a car and i know how to get there," responded Bowler, though he had previously said he wouldn't hang around at the State House. He pledged to "use every resource I can."
Both MacDonald and Bissaillon are from Adams and Cariddi highlighted her family business connections to the town through some of the former stores, such as Albert's Hardware.
Bissaillon said his experience as president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce has given invaluable regional leadership and good professional, working relationship with the area's many businesses, agencies and loal officials. The most important thing he's heard during his campaign, he said, was jobs.
"Berkshire County has an aging work force ... We need to work to make sure our young people stay here," he said, but added it wasn't easy to bring employers here. "We have to take advantage of our strengths. ... We have to make attractive for companies to come here."
MacDonald, a former selectman who is now town manager for Chester, said he has the educational and legislative experience to make a difference in the State House. He said the proof was his efforts in bringing in millions of dollars of grant money for the town both singly and in cooperation with nearby communities.
My town received the second-highest grant in the state," he said. "When I took the position in the town of Chester we were $380,000 in the red last year, we turned that town around and ended up with with $55,000 this year. ... when I go to Boston it'll be to get things done — I'm going to bring home the bacon."
Polls for the primary will be open from 7 to 8 on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Adams voters are reminded that voting will be at the Department of Public Works garage on North Summer Street.
Because this is a primary, those enrolled in parties must vote in their party's primary; those unenrolled may select which party's primary they wish to vote in.
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Melville, Nichols Elected to Adams Selectmen
|Paula Melville||Scott Nichols||Donald Sommer|
ADAMS, Mass. — Voters seem bent on completely reconstituting the Board of Selectmen, ousting another chairman on Monday night and selected a newcomer and a former selectman to fill two three-year seats on the board.
In a low turnout, Scott Nichols, a former selectman and athletic director at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, was returned to the board with 638 votes, besting his closest competiter, Paula Melville, by 101 votes.
Melville, a member of the Finance Committee, received 537, enough to place her in the second seat that was up for election.
Donald R. Sommer, who was elected to the board in 2007, failed to garner enough votes for a second term, polling only 432 votes.
Victors Scott Nichols and Paula Melville were a little red-faced from standing in the sun out on Summer Street with campaign signs.
Sommer was chairman of the Finance Committe and his election three years ago was fueled in part by his criticism of the board's handling of the town budget. But the since then, the board's gone through some rough waters as a number of actions taken by the Selectmen — especially over the firing of a town administrator — have caused controversery.
Last year, two selectmen including the then chairman were ousted in favor of two newcomers. Sommers, picking up the reins, pledged a more open and transparent board and fiscal responsibility. It apparently wasn't enough.
"I did the best I could. People didn't like the way I did them," said Sommer, 75, who declined to speculate more on his defeat. "I'll have more time with my horses."
A Nichols/Melville victory seemed assured as the numbers were read off from the five precincts. Sommer quickly turned to Melville as the last precinct was called and congratulated her.
"I was a little nervous because of the turnout but I'm pretty happy with the results," said Nichols, who declined to run after a single term in 2006. "I'm looking forward to working with the board."
Nichols said he needed to get back up to speed with the issues the board's been working on. He'd like to see some forward movement on the master planning process.
Nichols said both his opponents had run good campaigns. "I know Paula worked very hard and I thought Don Sommer was doing a good job."
Melville was a little giddy with victory. "I think my parents would be proud."
Donald Sommer, left, shakes hands with former colleague Joseph R. Dean Jr., who turned in his selectman's cap for town moderator.
"I think it's great a woman is going to be on the board, we bring a different perspectives," continued Melville adding she, too, was looking forward with working with her fellow selectman, citing the schools and expanding the tax base as issues she thought it should tackle."
Town Clerk Paul Hutchison was disappointed with the turnout: "Lousy." He did, however, say the newest location for the polls at the Department of Public Works garage had worked out well despite a couple glitches. "You always have growing pains."
Some 1,030 ballots were cast, or 17 percent of the town's 5,994 registered voters. The selectmen were the only race on the ballot and a number of town meeting seats went empty. Some 285 blank ballots were cast for selectmen.
Longtime Selectman Joseph R. Dean Jr. ran for moderator this year, besting all the selectman candidates by toting up 874 votes while running unopposed. Also elected unopposed were Treasurer/Collector Holly Denault, three years; Assessor Charles J. Welch, three years; Board of Health member Roy Thompson, three years; Planning Board member Michael O'Brien, five years; Library Trustee Juliet Wilk-Chaffee, three years; Cemetery Commission Lawrence Clairmont, three years; Northern Berkshire Vocational School Committee (McCann) member Joseph Allard, three years, and Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee members Paul Butler and John Duval, three years.
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Nichols Announces Campaign Staff
Scott Nichols, candidate for selectman in the town of Adams, announced his campaign committee on Sunday.
"I am extremely excited by the overwhelming support I have received since I announced my candidacy," said Nichols. "For the past couple of years, I have had a number of people in the community encourage me to run again for office. With Joe Dean stepping down after many years of distinguished service on the Board of Selectmen, I felt the timing was right."
Noelle Pandell is the chairman of Nichols'campaign committee and Jim Fassell will serve as treasurer. Additional campaign committee members are Don Wright, Carol Corrigan, Norm Schutz, Jim Waltermire and Larry Pandell.
"I would like to thank the Maple Grove Civic Club for hosting the open forum to allow all candidates to express their views on a number of topics," said Nichols, who participated in the Sunday event.
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Adams Selectmen Candidates Quizzed by Civic Club
Selectmen candidates Scott Nichols, left, and Paula Melville, standing center, listen to a question Sunday at the PNA.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Maple Grove Civic Club heard this past Sunday from the three candidates running for the Board of Selectmen.
The candidates' forum was attended by some 55 club members and guests and included moderator candidate Joseph R. Dean Jr. and Board of Health member Roy Thompson, both of whom are running unopposed.
Selectmen Chairman Donald R. Sommer, second from right, at the Maple Grove Civic Club candidates' forum on Sunday.
The main attraction was the three vying for two selectmen seats, including the seat being vacated by Dean: current Chairman Donald Sommer, former selectman Scott Nichols and Finance Committee member Paula Melville. Each spoke for several minutes and took questions from the audience on the proposed school renovations, finances and the dog park.
Nichols served a single term opting not to run for re-election in 2006 because of family commitments, including coaching in three youth sports league. He serves on the Master Planning Committee, and on the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and Reach Foundation boards.
"I felt I was out pretty much every night of the week with my job and doing work with the town," he said. "I felt my kids were growing up really fast and I wanted to be home most nights with them."
Now that his children are older and he has fewer parental commitments, he's ready to serve again. "I've been very involved. I love this community ... I want to see it continue to move forward."
Nichols said he moved here 1996 because of the good school system and was impressed at how well people took care of their properties. Both issues continue to be important, he said, "blighted properties ... for me that's one of the biggest things to address."
"If elected, I'll work hard for this community to help make it grow," said Nichols.
Melville, who has also served on the Parks Commission and Adams-Cheshire School Committee and as town meeting member, lauded some of the good "bell-ringing" things happening in Adams, such as the Thunderbolt anniversary race, progress on the Greylock Glen and Topia Arts Center.
The town requires new revenue to supplement the property taxes, local fees and state aid that fuel its budget she said. Her "knee-jerk" reaction to talk of a sewer user fee was negative, but she added, "if it does free up money in the budget we could put that money someplace quickly and it would not affect our tax rate."
There's also .75 percent meals tax that municipalities can adopt. "I know that in Northampton they did and they're expecting a half million dollars in extra revenue," she said.
Donald R. Sommer
"I think serving on the board of selectmen is the ultimate in acting for our town, said Melville. "I would really appreciate the opportunity to act on behalf fo the town."
And, she noted, "there are some differences between me and the people :'m running against and one is that I am a woman and they are not."
Sommers been involved with town government for three decades, including serving on the Finance Committee and, years before, on the urban renewal commission. He has said that if elected, this would be his final term.
"I said three years ago I was running for a couple reasons. I didn't think the town was going in the right way," he said. Since then, he said the town has assembled a good working board. "We don't always disagree but it's certainly not the Wednesday comedy show it used to be on television," said Sommer. "We're arguing the issues, we're making progress."
Adams is suffering like many communities because the state is not coming through with money they should be giving, he said. "The state doesn't come through so we have to rely on a very regressive real estate tax. Somebody, who fixes their house up or buys a nice little house they're punished for the rest of their life through real estate tax."
Sommers said the town has looked for new revenue, including advocating for the governor to release $600,000 toward the next phase of the Greylock Glen.
He also said he would support further exploration of making the town assessor, treasurer/collector and clerk professional, appointed positions, as recommended by the charter study commission. "It's not like it was 20 years ago," he said. "You have to have training. We need a skilled person; it's good now but we've had problems in the past."
Nichols disagreed, saying the issue has already twice been voted down by the people. "I don't think we should be putting a lot of effort into this." Melville seconded Nichols' opinion.
None of the them mentioned the dog park in their remarks but it was almost immediately brought up by audience members. The three said they didn't have any particular issues with a dog park, but agreed that the Adams Memorial Middle School was not an appropriate location for a variety of reasons.
The candidates mostly agreed on several issues. They were for transparency in government and against high taxes, although with few new suggestions on how to deal with a tax rate that's already the highest in the county.
Melville didn't want to speculate on how to attack the problem. "I don't know yet," she said. "I'm an investigative type of person. I'd like to get two, three opinions and make sure my facts are straight."
"We're all against taxes but we have to live in reality," said Sommmer. "Taxes are here. We have to pay for things like the police, like our schools, like the senior center, have our streets plowed ... It's not our fault that the state is not coming through. We have the highest tax rate in the county and we're trying to cut where we can."
Nichols said using the Romney solution of raising fees "just shifted the burden to a different area. [Taxes are] a necessary evil because we don't get enough money from the state."
They did split on the form the school project should take. Nichols and Sommer, both members of the school building committee, stressed the importance of moving forward with renovations at Hoosac Valley High School to accommodate the grades moved there from the middle school. That will mean moving the students temporarily back into the middle school for another year as a way to speed the project and save costs.
Melville, however, said a better solution might be to split the elementary and middle school grades between Cheshire and Plunkett elementary schools, thereby sharing all the costs between the towns and keeping the younger teens off the high school campus.
"I think that all options haven't been considered," she said. "I don't think all options have been put on the table."
Dean is seeking to replace longtime Moderator Anthony McBride, who decided not to run for re-election again. He recalled how he had stood in the PNA 46 years before in his first bid for town office — a seat on the Planning Board that he lost. But he was appointed to a vacant seat that fall and has been in the town's service ever since.
"It's time for me to get out and, hopefully, you people will elect someone to replace me who'll do a good job on the board," he said.
Thompson has served on the Board of Health for 10 years, three as chairman. He spoke of some of the issues the board has faced, such as its work to bring down blighted properties and pursuit of residents ignoring outdoor burning bylaws.
"I would appreciate your vote because the write-ins could kill me," he joked.
All other races are unopposed. The town election will be held Tuesday, May 3, from 7 to 7 at the town's Department of Public Works garage on North Summer Street.
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