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Williamsburg to lose key financial players

Through a series of resignations and term expirations, the town will be losing three members of the Finance Committee, as well as the town Treasurer at the end of this fiscal year.

Gordon Allen, Gary Benoit and Finance Committee Chairman Christopher Smith, will all be vacating their positions, leaving three empty seats on the nine-member board.

“We will get through this budget cycle and the terms are not up until June 30th,” said Smith, who has served on the Finance Committee for 12 years and will not be running in 2013. “We just have to see if anybody throws their hat in the ring at the town caucus in March,” he said.

Finance Committee member Paul Wetzel said Allen, whose term expires this year, has been a dedicated member of the Finance Committee.

“Gordon has been on the Finance Committee for decades,” Wetzel said. “He is retired and I think he decided it was just his time to step down,” he said.

According to Wetzel, Benoit resigned in order to focus more time on his employment at a water-quality testing company.

“We are going to have to shake the bushes and find some new people because, with three members down, we could have trouble getting a quorum,” Wetzel said. As committees go, this one is not very busy except during budget season,” he said. Six members must be present for the committee to have a quorum.

Generally, the committee meets twice a month from January to June and then occasionally during the rest of the year. Finance Committee terms run for three years.

Town Administrator Charlene Nardi confirmed last week that Treasurer Peter Mahieu would also be leaving his position this year.

“He has officially announced that he is not going to run for re-election. This opens up a pretty big hole in our financial team with three members of the Finance Committee and Peter leaving,” Nardi said.

Mahieu, who has been treasurer for almost seven years, said that he simply felt it was time for him to step down.

“I just feel like I have done my duty for the town,” he said.

Anyone interested in running for office may declare their candidacy at the town caucus on March 4; the town election will be held on May 6.

“The town really owes a great amount of appreciation to all of these gentlemen. It is very sad to see them go,” Nardi said.

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Meekins art show

During the month of February “Soul of the Highlands: Portrayal of Early Family Farms” will be the featured art exhibit at Williamsburg’s Meekins Library.

Ashfield photographer Jackie Cooper blends photographs and oral histories to illuminate the intrinsic rural character of the northeastern foothills of western Massachusetts and the Green Mountains in Vermont.

For information on the show or open hours, contact Meekins Library at 268-7488.

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