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Edmund St. John IV, left, a former selectman, has accepted the post of town administrator in Cheshire.

St. John Hired as Cheshire Town Administrator

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has hired Edmund St. John IV as the permanent town administrator after he worked as the interim for the past two months. 

The board offered him a permanent contract last month. 

"I am very happy and grateful for the opportunity," St. John said on Tuesday night.

St. John, an attorney and former School Committee member, had resigned from the select board in order to apply for the position last year.

But after interviews with three finalists including St. John, the two-person Board of Selectmen were gridlocked for some weeks. Carol Francesconi wanted to hire St. John while her fellow board member Robert Ciskowski favored candidate Thomas Spiro, a former town administrative aide in Conway.

Ciskowski said he would break the gridlock and vote for St. John but he would then resign, leaving the board with one person. 

St. John had removed his name from the running at that point and Francesconi suggested bringing on an interim administrator to carry the town to the May elections when a full three-member board would be available to vote.

But the selectmen still could not agree on an interim. Former Selectman Daniel Delorey's name was mentioned as well as all three candidates themselves.

Finally, in late November, Francesconi and Ciskowski were able to reach an agreement on bringing on St. John as interim town administrator. The plan was to either offer him the position in March if he demonstrated that he was a good fit or reopen the entire process. 

Retiring Town Administrator Mark Webber offered to stay on and help with the transition but since the end of the year, St. John has been on his own.

Francesconi said they received a lot of positive feedback on St. John, which prompted the board to keep him on.

"We figured from the initial response from the residents and the efficiency we have seen from the board, we agreed to offer a three-year contract," she said.

St. John will hold more hours in Town Hall than his predecessor and town meeting increased the salary from $20,910 to $40,000 to accommodate this shift from one day a week to three and to make the search more competitive. 

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'It's A Wonderful Life' Radio Play Being Staged in Cheshire

This particular production is intended to be "script-in-hand," a full reading/performance of a play where the actors are allowed to have their scripts in their hands so lines need not be memorized.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Cheshire Community Association will present a community production of the Frank Capra family classic "It’s a Wonderful Life," adapted by Tony Palermo, at Tuesday, December 17, at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish at 159 Church St.

Brought to the stage as a 1940s radio broadcast in front of a studio audience, a dozen actors play radio dramatists, who, in turn, portray 30 characters from the heart-warming holiday film. Featuring live sound effects and an original score, this is a rare opportunity to see how a 1940s radio show was produced.

Producer/director Marya LaRoche has put together a cast of acting newcomers and seasoned veterans, featuring Simon Cole as George Bailey, Tommy Towne as Clarence, Elizabeth Kozik as Superintendent of Angels, Casey McShain as Mary Hatch Bailey, Travis Mille as Radio Announcer/Uncle Billy, and Shevaun Keogh-Walker as Potter, along with Curtis Elfenbein Asch, Mary Lou Burdick, Michael Morin Garrity, Patricia Kelly, Tyne LaRoche, and Larry Leavitt covering multiple roles.

This particular production is intended to be "script-in-hand," a full reading/performance of a play where the actors are allowed to have their scripts in their hands so lines need not be memorized. The director will utilize blocking, limited costumes, props and sound effects to create a performance experience for the audience.

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