Dean Given Gavel Send Off
Retiring Selectman Joseph R. Dean Jr. poses with current board members Arthur 'Skip' Harrington, left, Donald Sommer, Michael Ouellette, Jason Hnatonko and Town Adminstrator Jonathan Butler.
ADAMS, Mass. — Selectman Joseph R. Dean Jr. was lauded for his long service to the town at his next-to-last meeting on the board.
The Wednesday night session was the last televised one he was to be at, so his colleagues, including several former board members spent a few minutes at the end of the meeting to thank the longtime selectman for his efforts.
Dean, 72, joined town government in 1964 through appointment to the Planning Board, after losing his first campaign for office to that very board just months earlier. Through the years, he's rarely been out of service, toting up some three decades on the Board of Selectmen; this term concludes his fourth straight.
He's also served on the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste District, as a firefighter with the Alert Hose Company, on the board of the Adams Ambulance Service and other civic boards and committees. A mechanic, he still operates the business started by his father on West Road; one of his sons is a police officer, the other a teacher.
That service has had a direct affect on others, said his current and former board colleagues. "He was the inspiration for me getting on the board," said Edward Driscoll, a former selectman who followed in Dean's footsteps to the NBSWD board.
"It was such a pleasure working with you," said former Selectwoman Myra Wilk, who called Dean "a great leader."
Selectman Jason Hnatonko thanked Dean for encouraging him to run for office and setting an example not only for him but for his 2-year-old son.
George Haddad said their first meeting wasn't too friendly, but that changed when they met again in 1984 when Haddad was elected to the Selectmen.
"I have to say Mr. Dean's worked extremely hard for this community," said Haddad. "He has always shown extreme love and devotion in helping this town. ... and everything [he's] ever done was done because he felt it was in the best interests of the community."
"I hope the younger people in this community will be inspired to step up and run for these offices."
But Dean's not really stepping down, he's just moving to a new, less demanding position. He's running unopposed on May 3 for town moderator, to replace the retiring Anthony McBride. Chairman Donald Sommer presented Dean with a gift on behalf of the board to help in his new position: A gavel with the inscription "To Joe Dean for your years of service to the town of Adams 2010."
"We're glad you're not leaving office," said Sommmer. "We're glad you're going to be the town moderator."
Dean rapped the gavel a couple times to get the feel. "I couldn't have done it without your help," he told his fellow board members. "It's nice to have friends in high places."
Former Selectmen Edward Driscoll, Myra Wilk and George Haddad all served with Dean.