By Bonnie Adams
A selectman in a local town (not one covered by the Community Advocate) once told me that “it was the most thankless job, ever.” After sitting through many selectmen and Annual Town Meetings, I would have to say those words certainly have a ring of truth to them. I often wonder “why would anyone want to run for such a spot?”
It certainly isn's for the money – some towns pay its boards a modest stipend, but most do not. It's not for the fame – as much as I would love to believe everyone reads every word of my accounts of selectmen meetings, I know that is not true. It's definitely not a way to build up your ego. Like most things in life, it's easier to complain when your selectmen are not doing a good job, rather than praise when they are.
It's certainly not always exciting – being a local public servant often means hours and hours of excruciating debate and paperwork. Not only do you have to deal with your town's bylaws there are also mind boggling amounts of state and federal mandates to try to comprehend as well.
But each spring, candidates step up to the plate, ready to take on the challenge. Sometimes (in fact, far too many times) the races are uncontested. Sometimes there are political newcomers who are ready to put their name on the line, like Andrew Reinach in Westborough, Michael Bloomer in Hudson and Lisa Maselli in Northborough, who although they didn's win their races this spring, deserve tons of credit for entering their races.
Sometimes they are long- term incumbents like Joseph Durant, who is now starting his 31st year as a Hudson selectman, surely one of the longest terms of its kind ever in Massachusetts politics.
Occasionally, members will step away from the board but then run again, like Westborough's Denny Drewry and George Barrette, who won their bids earlier this year. Barrette notes that in his case, “it's because I have the public service gene.”
This blog entry isn's a means to gather favor from any board that I cover. They and I would certainly never stand for that – we are all professionals. But I can honestly say that I respect each and every selectman candidate, whether they won or not. They put not only their reputations but also that of their family members” front and center during the long months of a campaign. All in the hope that they can make a change in their community and serve the needs of their fellow residents. And for that each and every one of them deserves major kudos.
This blog entry reflects only the opinion of the writer and not the Community Advocate or its advertisers.