Brezinsky elected to Selectboard; highest voter turnout seen in years

by Town Reminder

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer

SOUTH HADLEY – Ira Brezinsky, a long-time South Hadley resident with years of experience and volunteerism under his belt, secured a spot on the Selectboard with 1,585 votes cast in Thursday’s Special Town Election.
A 28 percent voter turnout was recorded – the highest participation in a number of years for a local election. The most recent high voter turnout was in April 2008.
Running against Brezinsky for a Selectboard seat was Sarah Etelman, who drew 912 votes, and Paul Mihalak, who garnered 469.
Town Clerk/Treasurer Carlene C. Hamlin said she was thrilled with Thursday’s double election turnout, each drawing 28 percent of registered voters. Their pairing, she said, was a factor for the high number locally.
“A lot of people came to vote on the local side,” she said, calling the 28 percent turnout for South Hadley “astronomical.” A total of 2,966 residents registered to vote participated Thursday.
“I’m very pleased with the turnout,” said Brezinsky. “It’s very gratifying but very humbling to know that so many people supported the campaign. I’m really pleased that we, as well as the other candidates, kept everything at a really high level. Everybody took the high road and it was just positive all the way around.”
Brezinsky hopes because of that positivity, residents are more aware of “what’s going on and what the issues are. That’s what makes a strong community,” he said.
As a Selectboard member, Brezinsky said the most important issue to focus on is “really solidifying the Town Administrator position and getting that person, whoever it may be, all the tools necessary to really get things going and get things done.” He is anticipating key information and recommendations being released in the coming weeks from the Financial Policy Advisory Team regarding the position.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the members of the Selectboard,” said Brezinsky. “I think there are lots of great opportunities here. We have been moving forward on several fronts, slowly. I’m just looking forward to working with people and getting many initiatives going.”
Brezinsky is currently a member of the Appropriations Committee, Capital Planning Committee, Plains School Building Committee, Golf Ad-Hoc Advisory Committee and a Town Meeting Member. He previously was a member of the School Committee from 1994-2000 and 2002-2006, the High School Council from 1993-1994, the High School and Middle School Building Committee from 1996-2000 and the Golf Commission from 2006-2009. He volunteered as a Grade 4 music teacher from 1989-2000 and coached the South Hadley USTA Junior Tennis team from 2003-2007. He is also a founding member of the South Hadley Community Band, the South Hadley Music Parents Association and the South Hadley Community Tennis Association.
A 1977 UMass Department of Music graduate, Brezinsky has owned and operated a number of retail electronics businesses located in Greenfield and in Brattleboro, VT.
He and his wife Shelly have been married for 35 years and raised four children who all graduated from South Hadley High School.
To learn more about the newest member of the South Hadley Selectboard, visit