Five seeking two Hadley Select Board seats
HADLEY — The maintenance of the town’s buildings and disagreement over the way the Select Board and the town administrator conduct business are shaping up as key issues in the five-person race for two three-year terms on the Hadley Select Board.
In addition, two people are running for a single seat on the Board of Assessors in the April 9 town election.
The Select Board race has attracted longtime local politicians, who have sparked controversy in town, and political newcomers.
Among the most controversial candidates in the race is John Mieczkowski, who was removed from the Select Board in a recall election in 2002, following the Select Board’s controversial decision to terminate Town Administrator Robin Crosbie and Town Counsel Joel Bard.
Other candidates for the Select Board include incumbent David Moskin and town politics regular Wilfred Danylieko, who sought to have Town Administrator David Nixon ousted in September claiming Nixon exceeded his authority on building maintenance decisions. The relative newcomers in that race are Guilford Mooring and John Waskiewicz II, who have not held elected office in Hadley.
Chairwoman Gloria DiFulvio is not seeking re-election.
Moskin, of Rocky Hill Road, who was elected in 2010 in an uncontested election, said that he is glad to see so many candidates in this year’s race.
“To finally have people competing for a seat is a powerful and refreshing thing,” he said.
A vocal critic of the current board and Nixon, Moskin said that the local government’s processes should be more open to the public. One way to make that happen, he said, is for the board to have each department give regular updates at Select Board meetings. Moskin said that the board should also take more responsibility for decisions in the town and make plans for addressing the problems the town faces. “I’m trying to bring the responsibilities of the Select Board back to the Select Board,’ he said.
Moskin, 57, owns two small businesses — a New Hampshire furniture store and a tool manufacturing business. He served on the board from 2001-2004 but lost his bid for reelection.
Mieczkowski, 67, of Sunrise Drive, has run unsuccessfully in several elections since he was recalled in 2002, but predicts a different outcome this time as he said he has heard from many residents who support him.
Mieczkowski, who has often had a contentious relationship with other town leaders, has sued the town for issues ranging from getting access to employee records to the amount of the town administrator’s salary.
He said the current Select Board does not have sufficient respect for Hadley residents, and if elected he would have public office hours once a week for questions and feedback.
“My primary goal is to bring accountability and responsibility back to the Board of Selectmen,” Mieczkowski said.
If elected, his first priority would be restructuring the Department of Public Works and replacing the director, Gary E. Girouard, with a professional engineer, he said.
Danylieko, 70, of Meadow Street, an electrical inspector for the town and vice chairman of the Hadley Housing Authority, is making his first bid to join the Select Board. He is also running uncontested for re-election to the Housing Authority.
Danylieko said the most important problem the Select Board faces is dealing with maintenance of town buildings, an area in which he says his expertise as an electrician would be beneficial. Danylieko said he would also make a good addition to the board because he is retired and has time to keep up on new laws and policies the town must follow.
Danylieko organized an unsuccessful petition campaign calling for Nixon’s removal in September saying he was making building maintenance decisions he was not qualified to make. However, he was muted in his criticism of Nixon during a phone interview last week, saying that he would “serve better if he depended on his departments.”
One relative newcomer to the local political scene is Select Board candidate Guilford Mooring, 48, of Sunrise Drive. Mooring is the superintendent of the Amherst Department of Public Works. He said that his 23 years of experience in public service has prepared him for a seat on the Select Board.
Mooring said that he does not think Hadley is facing serious problems, but the town is anticipating a lot of changes in departments, from the hiring of a fire chief and a new school superintendent to revamping the Department of Public Works. His goal as a Select Board member would be to make the transitions in those areas easier, he said. Mooring has served on appointed study committees for the town, but he has not held elected office.
Mooring, who was born in North Carolina, has lived in Hadley with his wife and three children for 12 years.
John Waskiewicz II
Another candidate who has not held elected office in Hadley before is John Waskiewicz II, 50, of East Street, who serves as the assistant chief operator at the town’s waste water treatment plant. Waskiewicz, who was born in Hadley, ran for sewer commissioner in 1996 and serves as a volunteer firefighter for the town.
Like other candidates, Waskiewicz said he thinks the most important issue facing Hadley is the need to maintain the older buildings in the town.
Waskiewicz was also involved in the effort to remove Nixon — he signed the petition — but said he did that to get the Select Board’s attention. He said he wanted the board to take on more responsibilities and run the town themselves.
“I believe David’s doing a good job, but he’s got an awful lot on his plate right now,” Waskiewicz said.
Waskiewicz, who has worked for the town for 32 years, said he has devoted his life to Hadley and would like to continue contributing as a member of the Select Board.
Board of Assessors
The only other contested race in Hadley is for the Board of Assessors. Two candidates are vying for a single seat on the board, Richard Grader and Theodore Mieczkowski. The seat was held by Daniel Omasta Jr., who died Feb. 19.
Grader, 69, of Bay Road, is a retired police officer who has lived in Hadley for almost 40 years.
“This is my chance to help the town out,” Grader said.
Mieczkowski could not be reached for comment.
The race for the single seat available on the School Committee is uncontested. Two candidates took out nomination papers, but only Heather Klesch filed them. The available seat was held by Thomas Waskiewicz, who served on the School Committee for 22 years and is not seeking re-election.
Klesch, 36, of Bargate Lane, moved to Hadley 15 years ago and has one son who is in fourth grade at Hadley Elementary School. She has a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and works for Pearson Education in Hadley, overseeing the development of teacher licensor assessments.
Klesch is a member of Helping Hearts for Hadley, a new organization dedicated to raising money for the schools, and she is on the Hopkins Academy principal search committee and the superintendent search committee. Like many candidates running for office, Klesch said she is running because she wants to give back to the town.