LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Longtime moderator Robert Reilly and Finance Committee Chairman Ray Jones were both ousted from their seats in town government during Tuesday's election.
Reilly was beaten by Chris Dodig, who launched a write-in campaign following last week's town meeting that saw Reilly have Jones removed from the meeting by police. Reilly secured 128 votes to Dodig's 177.
Jones, meanwhile, was defeated by newcomer JJ Filiault and incumbent Stephen Wentworth for the two available three-year terms on the Finance Committee. Filiault was the top vote-getter with 225, followed by Wentworth with 193. Jones received 121 votes.
Last week's brouhaha was during a debate on the town's assessment to the regional school district budget, which the Finance Committee had recommended be cut by $112,000, the amount expected to be covered by tuition from New Ashford. School officials, however, say the district does not have an agreement with New Ashford so cannot guarantee it will receive that revenue.
Jones defended the lower figure, twice getting out of his seat and speaking loudly, and Reilly ordered him removed. "You have too much power," Jones said to Reilly. Someone in the audience shouted, "he should go, too." The budget passed 43-27.
Reilly has been town moderator for more than two decades. Jones won his seat in 2015 on the Finance Committee as a write-in.
Dodig has been a Lanesborough representative on the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee since 2012, first as an appointment to a vacancy and then winning a four-year term two months later.
In the only other contested race, Board of Selectmen Chairman John Goerlach retained his seat against yet another write-in campaign, this one launched by Curtis Asch, by a vote of 189-112.
In uncontested races, Peter Pannesco retained his seat on the elementary school committee, though that committee will soon be dissolved with regionalization and new panel will be elected. Diana Maruk returns as a library trustee; Joe Trybus returns to the Planning Board; and newcomer Gwen Miller will take an open two-year seat on the Planning Board.
A total of 337 votes were cast in the town election out of a total of 2,214 registered voters, or a turnout of only 15 percent.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.
How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.