WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — There will be one open seat on the committee that oversees the Fire District when the district's voters go to the polls this spring.
Longtime Prudential Committee member Ed McGowan announced at Wednesday's special meeting of the body that he will not be seeking another term on the five-member panel.
"It has been my pleasure to serve the citizens of Williamstown for the last 18 years as an elected member of the Prudential Committee, and I am grateful for the confidence they have placed in me to help govern the District," McGowan said in a letter to Chair Richard Reynolds. "However, advancing family health conditions require a new focus for my wife and I, and we must devote ourselves and our time to each other's health, happiness and well-being."
McGowan said firefighting is "in my blood."
"Although I will no longer be an active participant, I will remain committed to the Department and fully support the relocation and building of a new fire station on our property on Main Street," his letter read.
McGowan was praised for his service by one of his fellow veterans on the committee and one of its relative newcomers.
"I've known Eddie all my life," John Notsley said. "He and I are senior members of the Fire Department at this stage of the game -- me a little over 50 years and Eddie a little under 50 years. We grew up together, trained together, even ended up in Vietnam together.
"It's going to be a sad day for me when I can't call Eddie up to go over the agenda and find out what's going on."
Reynolds, who was elected to the committee in 2019 when it expanded from three members to five members, thanked McGowan for his leadership and for helping Reynolds to learn the ropes.
After Notsley noted that McGowan and his wife both deserve a rest after their dedication to the town, Reynolds echoed the sentiment.
"As is the case with so many of our department's members, their families are the ones who put up with the tones going off in the middle of the night or dashing off from a birthday party or whatever. Please give Sherry our thanks."
McGowan's seat is one of two on the ballot this May. The other is held by David Moresi, who, along with Reynolds, was elected two years ago. Nomination papers are available now and due back by April 6. Anyone interested in running can contact Town Clerk Nicole Pedercini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-458-3500, Ext. 101.
The main business of Wednesday's special meeting was to consider the recommendation of an owner's project manager for the new fire station from the district's Building Committee.
Building Committee Chair Elaine Neely explained the process her committee used to evaluate the nine respondents to the district's request for qualifications.
"All of the firms [that responded] could have done this job," Neely said.
"The committee's recommendation to the Prudential Committee is Colliers [International] with [Architectural Consulting Group] as a fallback second option in case we can't come to a good financial agreement with Colliers."
Ed Briggs pressed for details about the information the Building Committee generated from reference checks of the three finalists for the contract.
"Colliers has represented numerous customers locally," said Moresi, who serves on the Building Committee and was tasked with checking the firm's references. "I had the opportunity to speak to numerous people Colliers represented and got very favorable feedback. I can say with confidence and the rest of the committee did too that they will definitely represent the best interests of the Williamstown Fire District with this project."
The Prudential Committee voted 5-0 to accept the Building Committee's recommendation and move forward on negotiating a contract with Colliers.
Reynolds sought and found consensus to target a March 31 deadline for having an agreement on that contract, and the committee Prudential Committee agreed to old another special meeting on that day to either ratify the deal or decide to move into negotiations with ACG.
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White Withdraws From Williamstown Select Board Race
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Nicholls "Niko" White has removed himself as a candidate for the Select Board.
White had to run for the last year of the term being vacated by Jeffrey Thomas and had gained enough signatures to be placed on the ballot for the annual town election. White said he had announced to run for office when no other candidates had stepped forward and it appeared that the elected office would be uncontested or lack a strong progressive candidate.
But as of last week, it had turned into a four-way race.
"I decided to campaign to make sure my positions were represented in the field," White said in announcing his witgdrawal from the race last week. "And now we have an embarrassment of riches in that regard. If we had ranked choice voting or another alternative to first-past-the-post, I'd view my candidacy as an asset regardless. So many folks have told me they're glad I'm running, and were eager to turn out for me. Unfortunately, we do use first-past-the-post here, which means I have to worry that by staying in the race, I will instead split the progressive vote at a critical time. I'm not willing to risk that."
Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged Bay State residents currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations to find appointments before eligibility opens up to everyone 16 and older later this month. click for more