Hadley: Keegan over Mieczkowski in Tuesday’s Select Board election

By JACK SUNTRUP

@JackSuntrup

Published: 04-11-2017 9:26 PM

HADLEY — Incumbent Molly Keegan will retain her spot on the Select Board for another three years after fending off a challenge by former board member John Mieczkowski Sr. in Tuesday’s annual town election.

According to preliminary tallies, Keegan took more than 70 percent of the vote total, earning 531 votes to Mieczkowski’s 212, Town Clerk Jessica Spanknebel said.

She said there was about a 19 percent voter turnout.

There were no other contested races in Tuesday’s election, but because there were two openings on the School Committee, with only Tara Brugger filing, Keith Shannon earned the second spot on the board after garnering three write-in votes.

Spanknebel said Shannon is on the School Committee if he so chooses.

Keegan is the current chairwoman of the Select Board, after being elected in 2014. Before that, she served stints on the School Committee and the Finance Committee.

In a candidate forum last week, she presented herself as the right person to guide Hadley forward as it grapples with growing pains from a lively retail scene and enlarged population.

“I absolutely appreciate the voter turnout and, you know, there were a lot of folks who were working behind the scenes to remind people that there was a contested race,” Keegan said.

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Mieczkowski served two times on the Select Board, once in the 1980s and another time in the early 2000s before being recalled by voters. He now serves on the town Planning Board and is chairman of the committee overseeing plans for the town’s new fire substation.

Mieczkowski declined to comment Tuesday night.

Keegan said the town’s top priority should be figuring out ways to fund capital improvements as well as continuing to fund services, such as schools and fire protection.

Keegan said the town should aggressively pursue outside grants and work with state legislators. She said the town should also work to shift “free cash” into a capital stabilization fund when possible and also examine the town’s debt schedule.

When reached Tuesday after polls closed, Keegan was busy taking signs out of her neighbors’ yards.

“They (voters) usually have had enough after the election’s over,” she said. “They dont want to keep seeing it.”

Jack Suntrup can be reached at jsuntrup@gazettenet.com.

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