Northborough – Six-year veteran of the Northborough Board of Selectmen Fran Bakstran will be stepping down from her position on the board in May. Ever positive, Bakstran enjoyed advocating for the needs of the community and hopes to continue doing so in the future.
Originally from Long Island, N.Y., Bakstran moved to Northborough with her husband, Jack, and children, Gordon and Sarah, in 1987 and began her community involvement soon after. As a Senior Center volunteer in 1993, she aided Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders, has worked in health care and is currently a paralegal advocate for Metro West Legal Services, where she represents the poor and undocumented.
“I wanted to be a selectman to participate in the work of our community,” Bakstran said.
As a selectman, she and the board have listened to the needs of the community and steered the town's budget and services with the evolving needs of Northborough.
“The board works really well together, she said. “We'se thoughtful in our approach and we'se all different. “We'se remained fiscally conservative in tough times, and we'se maintained services without either laying off people or asking taxpayers to help with overrides.”
Some of the highlights of Bakstran's career have been working on the Solid Waste Committee and with the Wind Commission. In addition, she chaired the board in 2009 and also worked with the Historical Commission, helping to pass the demolition delay bylaw that gave Northborough's older buildings temporary stays of execution.
“I loved working on the trash issue because it wasn's big, but benefited from my positivity,” she said.
Former Planning Board member Allen Obshatkin has lived in town for four decades and understands the value of public service.
“I think [Bakstran] did an excellent job,” he said. “Anybody who donates their services for any political thing, I give them credit. It takes a lot of time.”
When discussing her successor, Bakstran would prefer a selectman who advocates from a positive position and is dedicated to keeping town programs intact as Northborough comes out of the recession.
As for herself, chances are good that Bakstran will not be out of the public eye for long.
“I have every intention of volunteering in the community once my term is up,” she said. “I's not going to stop being involved; I just don's know what it is yet.”
Between her desire to work in town planning and her drive to reelect President Barack Obama, Bakstran is always looking to advocate for her beliefs and community. As always, she is positive and excited to serve her country going forward.
“We'se one of the top-rated communities in one of the toprated states in the best country in the world,” she said. “Most people get involved when something is affecting them or is in their backyard – I look at Northborough as my backyard.”