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Four candidates seek two seats on Select Board in Hadley

  • James Maksimoski<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • JERREY ROBERTS<br/>From left, the candidates for Hadley Select Board are Wilfred Danylieko, John Mieczkowski, John Waskiewicz II and Guilford Mooring.

Other positions that are up for election with uncontested candidates include a seat on the School Committee, which is being sought by newcomer Heather Klesch, and a seat on the Planning Board, which is held by Chairman James Maksimoski, who is running for re-election.

Voting takes place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Hopkins Academy.

The Select Board candidates are Wilfred Danylieko, John Mieczkowski, Guilford Mooring and John Waskiewicz II.

Mieczkowski, 67, who ran ARC Welding until his retirement, has served on the town Sewer Commission and the Select Board. He was removed from the Select Board in a recall election in 2002, following the board’s controversial decision to terminate Town Administrator Robin Crosbie and Town Counsel Joel Bard.

Danylieko, 70, is also a regular in town politics. A retired electrician, Danylieko is an electrical inspector for the town and vice chairman of the Hadley Housing Authority, a position he is running for again in an uncontested race.

In the fall Danylieko initiated a petition calling for the removal of Town Administrator David Nixon. The Select Board has not taken action on the petition, because it said there was no cause for Nixon’s removal, according to Danylieko.

Waskiewicz and Mooring have not held elected office in Hadley. Waskiewicz, 50, is assistant chief operator at the town’s wastewater treatment plant and a volunteer firefighter for the town. Mooring, 48, is the superintendent of the Amherst Department of Public Works.

The Gazette asked the four candidates for Select Board to share their views on three salient local issues. Following are their answers.

Is Hadley doing an adequate job of repairing town-owned buildings, and what steps should the town take to maintain the buildings in the future?

∎ Wilfred Danylieko

“I don’t believe they have done a very good job in maintaining the buildings. I think what they have to do is have somebody that’s qualified to run the project and take care of these buildings.”

Danylieko said that an expert needs to evaluate what repairs should be made and prioritize the order in which the town will address them. In order to maintain town-owned buildings, he said, Hadley should hire someone with the skills and background to understand its maintenance needs to work directly with the Select Board.
∎ John Mieczkowski

“The town is doing the most terrible job that I have ever encountered over the last 20 years as far as maintenance of buildings and maintenance of the fleet. There’s no excuse for our buildings to be in the shape they are today.”

Mieczkowski said that there should be a regular maintenance schedule for town-owned buildings, and as a selectman he would push to implement one. Before expensive repairs are made, however, Mieczkowski said the Town Meeting should discuss the cost of repairs and whether the town needs all of the buildings it currently owns.

“If the town doesn’t have any intentions of use for these buildings, why are we insuring them, why are we heating them?” he said.

∎ Guilford Mooring

“There have been times when Hadley has taken care of the buildings quite well.” But Mooring noted that there are some buildings that require serious repairs.

“They’re off to a good start,” he said, noting that the town has hired a company to come in and study the repairs needed. Mooring said that the study is required by law, so it is a good first step.

“There should be a process where people have input into it.” Mooring said that since some of the repairs needed are extensive, the town will need to vote on providing funding or taking out loans.

∎ John Waskiewicz II

Waskiewicz said that the buildings had gone into disrepair because of “generations” of lax maintenance.

For buildings that need expansive repairs, like North Hadley Hall, he said the decision about what to do should come from Town Meeting directives, or be placed before voters as a ballot question.

“Let the people decide how they want to spend their money and if they want to spend their money.”

A recent study found that the Hadley Fire Department does not have enough staff or funding, given that the population swells during peak commercial hours. What should the town do to address the fire department’s needs?

Wilfred Danylieko

Danylieko said that the fire department should promote Capt. Michael Spanknebel to fire chief and hire another full-time firefighter to work under him and take over the inspections that Spanknebel does.

“It’s just a matter of proper control, and giving Mr. Spanknebel the ability to run the department properly, because he is qualified,” Danylieko said.

The cost of hiring an additional staff member in the department could be offset because “the town could collect more money for inspections” if it had more staff, Danylieko said.

He said that the town only needs two full-time firefighters, though it may need a larger department and an ambulance service in the future.

John Mieczkowski

The fire department needs to increase to two staff members now and grow even more over the long term, Mieczkowski said. He suggested that in the future a larger fire department could provide ambulance service to the town, which currently pays for ambulance service from Amherst.

Mieczkowski said that since the fire department has been under funded, it will be expensive to build it up and it cannot be done all at once. He said that the department “needs to explain No. 1 to the taxpayers, What kind of services are you getting now, and what could you have?”

∎ Guilford Mooring

“There’s got to be a concerted effort by the town to carry forward with the study and start implementing the findings.”

He supports funding improvements to the department, but said he is still talking to people and learning about the department. He said he is not ready to commit to how many full-time fire fighters the department needs.

∎ John Waskiewicz II

“It’s time for a full-time chief.” But as a volunteer firefighter for the last 32 years, Waskiewicz said that the department should continue to rely on volunteers.

Waskiewicz said that given the financial constraints that the town faces, now is not the time to hire many new full-time firefighters. He supports hiring a full-time chief and eliminating the full-time fire captain position, so the department has one full-time staff member.

Given that more than 180 people signed a petition to remove the town administrator in the fall, do you see problems with how the town is run, and if so, what changes do you think should be made?

Wilfred Danylieko

Danylieko, who initiated the petition to remove Nixon last fall, said that the Select Board is giving too much authority to the administrator.

“The problem is the selectman are very busy. They have a full-time job,” said Danylieko, who is retired. “It takes more than just a few hours after work to try and run a town.”

The selectmen should spend more time in the Select Board office, and when the town has problems, the Select Board should hire town residents with relevant expertise to help handle them, he said.

John Mieczkowski

Mieczkowski says the greatest problem with town governance is that the Select Board is not taking on enough responsibility. “If you want to run for selectman, role up your sleeves and do your job.”

He said that the board gives Town Administrator David Nixon too much to do, and as a result, Nixon does not do his job well.

Mieczkowski said that while Hadley receives substantial income from commercial development, it is still important not to spend money without considering the costs. He said he is particularly concerned because the town has paid for several studies over the past few years that have not been implemented. He cited a study of the town’s buildings town employees conducted in 2011, the recent study of the fire department, and a master plan that the sewer department developed more than five years ago as examples of studies that the town has not fully implemented.

“If you do a study and you don’t implement it, that’s a waste of tax dollars,” he said.

∎ Guilford Mooring

“I see that there are people who think that things should be looked at and maybe done a little differently.” Mooring said that examining the government is desirable, but he did not support any specific changes.

“Maybe it’s time that Hadley needs a town manager,” Mooring said. “Maybe it’s grown to the point where they need a little more professional oversight.”

∎ John Waskiewicz II

“The selectmen need to make a few more decisions on their own,” rather than forcing the town administrator to make decisions, Waskiewicz said. “If they don’t want to run and take the responsibilities on, then let someone else run that can make the decisions.”

While he would like the Select Board to take on more responsibility, he did not recommend any procedural changes.


Heather Klesch sole candidate for Hadley school board

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

HADLEY — There is one School Committee seat open in Tuesday’s election, and one candidate is on the ballot, so it is likely that Heather Klesch will be the newest member of the School Committee when it next meets. Klesch, 36, of Bargate Lane, moved to Hadley 15 years ago. She earned her doctorate in education from the University of …

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