New face to join Select Board as three vie for two seats



Published: 04-08-2017 12:22 AM

SOUTH HADLEY — The Select Board will have a new member as only one incumbent sought re-election in Tuesday’s annual town election.

Voters will chose between Select Board member Sarah Etelman and newcomers Andrea Miles and Scott Moore for the two seats on the board.

Sarah Etelman

The only incumbent running for re-election, Etelman has served on the Select Board for four years.

“I think we are making great progress in a lot of areas,” she said. “I am excited and interested in being part of the team that continues to move that progress forward.”

Etelman, 48, works as a development manger for Girls Inc. of Holyoke.

Etelman said one of her main priorities in running originally was to make government more accessible and accountable. In her time, she said she’s seen the board make some good progress in that realm with the Selectboard in the Community events.

On big issues facing the town in the coming years, Etelman lists the completion of the Redevelopment Authority’s redevelopment plan, a search for a new town administrator and the town budget.

Once completed, the plan will be presented to the Select Board and Town Meeting.

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“If it is approved, there will be some work the redevelopment authority and the town would be doing together,” she said. “If it is not approved, I think there will be some other work we will need to do.”

Etelman said Mike Sullivan, the town administrator, has been “pretty clear to us that sometime in the near future he will be retiring” and that the board would have to come up with a succession plan.

As for the budget, to quote an overused phrase, Etelman said it was about “doing more with less.”

“We have to figure out with the town administrator and Town Meeting how we do that,” she said.

Andrea Miles

Growing up in nearby Belchertown, Miles said she has had a high civic engagement throughout most of her life. Among her earliest memories is attending a Gulf War protest when she was in the second grade.

Moving back to the Pioneer Valley and to South Hadley in 2013, Miles, 33, decided to run for Select Board following the national election and the news that board member Francis DeToma would not seek re-election.

“It’s not about what my vision is but it’s about what is the vision for South Hadley,” she said. “With all of those things together and among some of the other folks, we really have an opportunity to put a face on South Hadley government that really represents the people that live here.”

Miles, who works as a fiction writer, has a degree in development sociology and previously worked in municipal government for the town of North Elba, New York.

“Working for a municipal government, I understand how the process can go which in a small town can feel a bit bureaucratic sometimes but there is a process and I’m patient with that,” Miles said.

Some of the big issues facing the town in the coming years, according to Miles, is the continuing redevelopment of the South Hadley Falls area, and the towns aging buildings — Mosier School, the town office and the senior center.

Beyond that, she said, are the ongoing concerns of a small town — how does the town look, how does the town feel and why are people leaving?

With a blended family of seven, Miles said she feels like she can represent a diverse range of people.

“I feel like for a representative democracy, it’s really important that people can look at a board or a set of boards and say, ‘OK, I feel like I’m being represented,’” she said.

Scott Moore

A retired U.S. Marine, Moore has decided to make South Hadley his “forever home” and has lived in town since his retirement in 2012.

“I wanted to get involved and make a difference,” he said.

Having traveled around quite a bit and done and seen a lot, Moore, 43, said he brings a lot to table in that respect. He said he brings a fresh perspective and added that he is “not the politically correct candidate.”

“It’s my first time in the political realm,” Moore said. “It’s a daunting task … (but) I’m not one for failure.”

Moore, the owner of Bruiser’s BBQ, said deferred maintenance was a big issue as the town is currently paying on three bonds and issues are arising with multiple buildings in town.

“Obviously, the constituents don’t want any more overrides because they are paying on three,” he said. “We need to increase our tax base — need to have some more development or have more businesses come into town to add some more revenue.”

Spending 20 years in the Marine Corps, Moore said he’s always done more with less.

“I’m good with money as far as budgeting and looking at things from different angles,” he said. “I don’t take the first answer I get. I do my due diligence. I ask several different people and try to make an informed decision. I don’t have the emotional attachment for the town. I’m looking at it from a business aspect.”

Emily Cutts can be reached at