Spot on Hadley Select Board up for grabs at Tuesday’s election

By JACK SUNTRUP

@JackSuntrup

Published: 04-10-2017 10:06 PM

HADLEY — Voters will decide one contested race Tuesday when they head to the polls for the annual town election.

Select Board Chairwoman Molly Keegan faces former Selectman John Mieczkowski Sr. in Tuesday’s contest. Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Hopkins Academy.

At a candidate forum last week, Mieczkowski, 71, said his deep roots in Hadley and knowledge of the town’s infrastructure mean he is best suited for the job.

Mieczkowski currently serves on the town Planning Board after mounting a write-in campaign in 2014, and also serves as chairman of the new fire substation committee. He is also the town’s former sewer commissioner.

He has also served two stints as Selectman in the past, one in the 1980s and another in the early 2000s before being recalled by voters in 2002.

“I admit Hadley is in my blood,” he said at the forum. “I do have a wealth of knowledge that has gone into the making of this town.”

Keegan, 54, said her financial background and relationships with other local and state leaders mean she is best positioned to guide Hadley at a time of population and retail growth, and current stresses on the town’s infrastructure.

Keegan served as chairwoman of the School Committee before being elected to the Select Board in 2014. Before serving on the School Committee, she worked on the Finance Committee.

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“This has given me an opportunity to learn how the town works today in comparison to years past,” she said, “and to develop positive relationships with key area legislators and other state officials.”

Mieczkowski Sr. said he opposes moving town government toward a strong-town administrator type model, which would give the town administrator more hiring and firing powers. Keegan said the town should discuss this, saying the move would help professionalize operations.

No other contested races and no ballot questions will appear before voters. On Tuesday, several incumbents will likely win re-election after running unopposed: Brian C. West for Moderator; Richard C. Szala for for board of assessors; Richard J. Tessier for Board of Health; William E. Dwyer for the Planning Board; Sheila M. Konieczny for Elector Under the Will of Oliver Smith; Maureen K. Devine and Alan M. Weinberg for two spots as library trustees.

Tara M. Brugger is running for School Committee and Sara L. Palmisano is running for Park Commission. One seat on the School Committee is going unfilled after Brugger was the only one to file paperwork.

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

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