Hadley voters oust incumbents from Select Board

Staff Writer
Published: 5/17/2022 9:22:29 PM

HADLEY — Both sitting members of the Select Board, including the board’s chairman, lost their reelection bids at Tuesday’s town election.

Winning the two, three-year seats were Randall E. Izer, who had served as moderator since 2019, and Molly Keegan, a two-term Select Board member who stepped off the panel in 2020. Izer, with 813 votes, and Keegan, with 758 votes, will join the Select Board for its Wednesday evening meeting.

Incumbents David J. Fill II, with 586 votes, and John C. Waskiewicz II, with 409 votes, were unsuccessful in their attempts to retain their seats, while former Select Board member Richard V. Wilga, who was last on the board in 2002, trailed all five candidates with 83 votes.

Keegan, Izer and Fill were all at the Hadley Senior Center as the results were read, and had spent the day holding signs outside the town’s lone voting location.

“I’m so gratified for the number of people who chose to vote today, and I’m so looking forward to helping Hadley move forward,” said Keegan, a partner in Curran and Keegan Financial who has also been serving on the town’s Housing and Economic Development Committee.

Izer, who owns the land surveying business Harold L. Eaton & Associates, joked that departing from moderator means people will know his views.

“Now I can offer my opinion,” Izer said, adding that because being on the Select Board is new to him, he will bide his time, though is ready to jump into the fire and set the tone for the “new direction we’re going to take the town.”

Fill congratulated both Izer and Keegan after the results were announced, but said he wouldn’t offer a comment on the outcome.

Select Board member Jane Nevinsmith, who had often been in the minority on votes for the past year and was passed over in 2021 when she sought to be the chairwoman of the board during the annual reorganization, said she will welcome Izer and Keegan.

“I’m looking forward to working with Molly and Randy and seeing a change in the makeup of the board,” Nevinsmith said.

Izer and Keegan both campaigned on the idea that the Select Board, under Fill’s leadership, had not shown respect for both town employees and volunteers on municipal boards and committees.

Such actions had played out in summer 2020, when the Select Board rejected enforcement of a mask bylaw, and other efforts, put in place by the Board of Health to slow the spread of COVID-19, and in summer 2021, when the chairwoman of the Conservation Commission was not reappointed and that board was downsized, leading to resignations of both members and the longtime conservation agent. 

Meanwhile, in the only other contested election, for a three-year seat on School Committee, Christine Pipczynski, a former English and electives teacher at Hopkins Academy, narrowly won over Toni Lyn Morelli, a member of the faculty in the environmental conservation department at the University of Massachusetts.

The final tally was 663-634, a 29-vote difference, though an initial misreading of the vote gave Pipczynski 200 additional votes.

The 1,375 voters represented a 35% turnout of the 3,900 active and inactive voters.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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