Nomination papers available for April election

by Town Reminder

By Kristin Will
Editor

SOUTH HADLEY – Residents looking to participate in various forms of town government now have the opportunity as nomination papers became available this week.
Fourteen positions are up for reelection, including Town Moderator, Selectboard, School Committee, Board of Assessor, Board of Health, Municipal Light Board, Housing Authority, Hampshire Council of Governments, Planning Board and Public Library Trustee.
Selectboard member Marilyn Ishler and Housing Authority member Donna Robideau will not be seeking reelection, creating two vacancies.
A total of eight Town Meeting Member seats are up for reelection in each of the precincts. Two, one-year terms have also been vacated in Precinct A.
“There is something about elections at any level which makes one’s heart skip a beat, sometimes maybe even stop,” said Town Administrator Michael J. Sullivan. “Town politics is the truest form of politics in respect to the democratic process.  There is no place in our layers of governance where you are closer to the people than in town government, nowhere to hide, no way to ‘pull a fast one’, but also no more rewarding way to have your voice heard.”
Town Clerk Carlene Hamlin encourages all residents to seek nomination papers.
“I always tell people that their ideas or vision for South Hadley is important,” she said.
Now is the time for residents looking to create a change among town government to take action. “A new perspective is always a great insight,” said Hamlin. “We can always gain from people who have a vested interest in South Hadley.”
Nomination papers became available Monday. As of 10 a.m. Monday, two residents had taken out papers and two had returned Town Meeting cards.
A total of 120 elected residents comprise South Hadley Town Meeting. They are divided among the five precincts for equal representation. Each precinct is represented by 24 members who hold three-year terms.
Town Meeting membership has struggled in recent years. If members up for reelection don’t return their cards, vacancies will be created. And in order for Town Meeting to congregate, quorum must be met. Half of the body plus one is the minimum number of members needed to vote on Town Meeting articles. For South Hadley, that number is 61.
“This is the time for people to support that methodology [Town Meeting style government] because we can’t have vacancies,” said Hamlin.
In general, however, Hamlin said she has heard from numerous residents asking about how to run for a position.
“Anybody has a wonderful perspective and their voice should be heard. The more the merrier. It gives us, as voters, different options,” she said.
Sullivan agreed. “The more people in the races, the better for the process,” he said. “Best of luck to all.”
To run for a position, residents need to take out nomination papers and obtain at least 50 signatures of registered voters. “We always encourage them to get a few more,” said Hamlin. “We do everything here in our office to help folks have a successful transition from a potential candidate to a candidate elect.”
The deadline to return nomination papers for major offices is Tuesday, Feb. 17 while the deadline for Town Meeting nomination papers is Tuesday, Feb. 10. The town election will be held April 7.
Those up for reelection are:
Town Moderator Edward Ryan (one-year term)
Selectboard Member John Hine and a vacant seat (three-year term)
School Committee Members Christine Phillips and Kevin McAllister (three-year term)
Board of Assessor Member Hazel Snopek (three-year term)
Board of Health Member Suzanne Cordes (three-year term)
Municipal Light Board Member Jeff LaBrecque (three-year term)
A vacant Housing Authority seat (five-year term)
Hampshire Council of Government Councilor Tom Knightly (two-year term)
Planning Board Member Mark Cavanaugh (five-year term)
Trustees for Free Public Library Mitch Resnick, Connie Clancy and Anna Symington (three-year term)
For more information, call the Town Clerk’s office at (413) 538-5017 ext 115 or email chamlin@southhadleyma.gov.

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