Holmes Confirms He Will Serve on North Adams School Committee

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A retired schoolteacher who tried to withdraw from Tuesday's School Committee election has changed his mind after capturing second place in vote totals.

"I think I may be able to help out a little bit, so I am going to try it," James Holmes said on Thursday. "I think it is a misnomer to say that I can make a difference because I think when you are on a committee that is sometimes difficult, but I think I can offer some insight."   

Holmes is a longtime teacher in the North Adams Public Schools who retired from Brayton Elementary this past spring. He qualified with enough signatures to run for one of the three seats open on the School Committee. 

However, he had submitted a letter to the city clerk at least a month prior to the election saying he could no longer serve if elected. Last week, he cited personal reasons for his decision.

But his name was still on the ballot and he ended up getting 1,604 votes cast in his favor, making him the second highest vote-getter in four-way race. Incumbent Heather Boulger earned 2,362 votes and newcomer Ian Bergeron got 1,275. The fourth candidate, Raya Kirby, fell just out of the running. 

Boulger was the only candidate running for re-election to a three-year term. Committee members John Hockridge and Mark Moulton declined to run again. 

City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau said she spoke to officials in the state elections division who confirmed that Holmes can serve because his letter of withdrawal states he would submit a letter of resignation if elected.
"Since elected, he would have to refuse to take the oath of office and then under City Charter the School Committee and the City Council would appoint," Gomeau wrote. 

Holmes on Thursday said although he was humbled by the results, the main push behind his decision was the outcry from former students and former colleagues who thought he would be a good fit for the committee.

"The votes make you feel good knowing people care about you, but a lot of people just told me I should do it because I know the schools inside and out," he said. "They thought I could add something to the committee, so I am going to do it." 

The city government inauguration is Jan. 1, 2018. 

Tags: election 2017,   election results,   North Adams School Committee,   

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