Seats up for grabs in Hadley town election

  • David J. Fill II, candidate for Hadley Select Board

  • Mark Dunn, write-in candidate for Hadley Planning Board

  • Heather Klesch, candidate for Hadley School Committee

  • John C. Waskiewicz II, candidate for Hadley Select Board

  • Diane Kieras-Ciolkos, candidate for Hadley Park Commission

  • David Moskin, candidate for Hadley Library Trustee

  • John Mieczkowski is a candidate for the Select Board and for the Planning Board, of which he is currently a member.

Staff Writer
Published: 4/5/2019 10:02:46 PM

HADLEY — A five-year seat on the Planning Board, and two three-year positions on the Select Board, are being contested at town election Tuesday.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Hopkins Academy.

At the center of both races is John Mieczkowski Sr., of Sunrise Drive. Mieczkowski is trying to retain the Planning Board seat he won as a write-in candidate in 2014, this time against write-in challenger Mark Dunn, of Highland Circle.

Mieczkowski is also seeking to return to the Select Board for the first time since being recalled in 2002. Incumbents David J. Fill II, of Knightly Road, and John C. Waskiewicz II, of East Street, are both running for reelection.

Dunn, an architect who works at the University of Massachusetts, said at a recent candidates forum he supports the town’s master plan and its bylaws, which help to maintain the fabric of Hadley and guide growth in healthy and attractive ways.

“The Planning Board has the noble responsibility of protecting the integrity of this town we all call home,” Dunn said.

Dunn said he would bring knowledge, experience and time to working on the Planning Board. In addition, he cited the sensitivity he has, jumping into the race after public concerns that Mieczkowski recently made racist comments about a developer.

“I have no axes to grind with fellow officials, so I will improve interdepartmental communication,” Dunn said.

Mieczkowski, who has denied he said anything inappropriate and has offered an apology, cites his institutional knowledge and willingness to study and research topics as reasons to win reelection to the Planning Board.

He said he has demonstrated protecting the integrity of the planning process, observing that the board stopped Five Colleges from building a library annex building on North Maple Street, which would have paid nothing in taxes or services, and that he opposed a solar farm that would have removed dairy farmland on South Maple Street.

“Our board works hard to protect the laws of the zoning bylaws and the future well being of the town of Hadley,” Mieczkowski said.

Fill, who is finishing his first year on the Select Board, said he already has a proven track record as a problem solver and uses creative thinking to get things done.

He said he hopes to continue to have a more hands-on approach as major building projects get underway, including the senior center, library and fire substation. But one of the challenges will be keeping the tax rate low.

“Working to eliminate waste, improve customer service and bring more products online will be critical to saving money without sacrificing services,” Fill said.

Fill would also like to start the process for renovating other aging infrastructure, such as doing repairs to water and sewer lines and buildings. Fill, who has pushed for transparency, said he is open-minded and wants to hear from public, noting that residents regularly call, text and send emails.

“We may not always agree, but I will always be willing to have an honest discussion and treat all residents with the courtesy and respect they deserve,” Fill said.

Waskiewicz, who is seeking his third term, said this will be his final one, if elected.

“We’ve done a lot of work with the senior center, the library and fire substation, and I would like to see these projects completed and seen through all the way,” Waskiewicz said.

Waskiewicz said he knows residents want the board to focus on keeping the tax rate low, though he isn’t sure how this will happen.

“I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but we’re going to work through it all,” Waskiewicz said.

Like Fill, Waskiewicz said he appreciates the open dialogue with the community.

Mieczkowski said his main focus will be on the fiscal responsibility of the Select Board. “Taxpayers are getting ripped off left and right,” Mieczkowski said.

Building projects are going over initial estimates and aren’t being done inexpensively. “Everything they do is going to cost double,” he said.

Though recalled from the Select Board once before, Mieczkowski said he was justified in trying to terminate the town administrator because she failed to present all information about how a new fire engine would be funded to voters and members of the Select Board.

“I want to be the messenger for the town, not the villain,” Mieczkowski said.

The ballot features newcomers in uncontested elections, including Randall E. Izer for moderator for one year, Meghan L. Campbell for library trustee for three years and Richard J. Witkos for Housing Authority for two years, as well as a number of incumbents up for election, including Richard S. Grader for a three-year seat on the Board of Assessors, Gregory M. Mish for a three-year seat on the Board of Health, Heather S. Klesch for a three-year seat on the School Committee, Sheila M. Konieczny for a one-year position as Elector Under the Oliver Smith Will, Diane M. Kieras-Ciolkos for a three-year seat on the Park Commission, Jessica V. Spanknebel for a three-year term as town clerk, David S. Moskin for a three-year seat as a library trustee, and William R. Banack and Richard T. Downie for three-year terms as constables.

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


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