Lively selectboard election in the offing this spring in Great Barrington

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By Wednesday, Mar 7 News  1 Comment
Terry Cowgill
The membership of the Great Barrington Selectboard will change in May, as Chairman Sean Stanton, second from left, is not running for re-election. Incumbent Bill Cooke, far right, is running, one of as many as five candidates will run for the two available seats.

Great Barrington — This town has seen some memorable races for public office in recent years, but this season is shaping up to be one of the liveliest.

In the marquee race for selectboard, there are two seats up for grabs. Incumbent Sean Stanton, who also chairs the board, is not running for re-election. But first-term incumbent Bill Cooke has filed his petition to run again, town clerk Marie Ryan told The Edge.

Great Barrington Selectboard candidate Holly Hamer. Photo: Terry Cowgill

Three — and possibly four — other candidates have filed petitions to run for selectboard: Holly Hamer, James W. Clark and Christopher Tucci. A fourth, Kate Feuer Burke, has taken out papers but has not yet returned them.

Hamer is a former co-owner of Mill River Studio, a gallery and framing business on Railroad Street. She is also a former town library trustee and is treasurer of the Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries. Last year, Hamer, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for the town’s planning board.

Clark, a principal of Construction Solutions LLC, a consulting firm based in Housatonic, conducted a cost analysis that he finished in July 2012 on the former Housatonic School. Clark, who conducted the study at the request of the selectboard, said he did not charge the town anything for his work. Click here to his report.

Chris Tucci. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Tucci is a deputy director at the Railroad Street Youth Project and has worked there since August 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, he was a director of theatre at Heidelberg University in Ohio. Tucci is a 2000 graduate of Muskingum University and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from the University of California, Los Angeles. Both Clark and Tucci are unaffiliated.

Egremont Plain Road resident Burke is co-manager of the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market. She has politics in her blood. Ten years ago, her father, Stockbridge attorney and Democrat Bob Feuer, challenged incumbent Democrat Rep. John Olver but was defeated in a primary.

Great Barrington Finance Committee member Eugene ‘Will’ Curletti. Photo: Heather Bellow

There are two seats up for grabs on the finance committee. Incumbents Walter “Buddy” Atwood III and Eugene “Will” Curletti are running for re-election. With the exception of two years when he was on the board of selectmen, Republican Atwood has served on the finance committee since 1995. Democrat Curletti, who with his wife Robin owns the popular Fuel Coffee Shop, is completing his first three-year term.

But neither Atwood nor Curletti is a shoo-in. Housatonic resident Michelle Loubert is also running for a seat on the committee. She ran unsuccessfully for the finance committee in the 2014 elections. Loubert, who has worked in educational finance and administration, is known as a relentless government watchdog and a passionate advocate for the village of Housatonic.

On the planning board, incumbent Democrat Jack Musgrove has taken out papers but has not yet returned them, Ryan said. Musgrove is an information technology executive for a global analytics corporation. He has been on the board since 2004.

Jack Musgrove. Photo: Heather Bellow

Interestingly, Musgrove’s is the only seat up for grabs and he is being challenged by Pedro Pachano, who is currently an associate member of the board. Associates observe the meetings but vote only when permanent members are absent. Serving as an associate is generally seen as a training ground for becoming a permanent member. Pachano is an architect in private practice.

There are two seats up on the zoning board of appeals: Architect Steve McAlister has taken out papers for re-election but has not yet returned them; meanwhile, Kathy Kotleski is not seeking re-election but no one has stepped up yet to take her place.

On the library board of trustees, Kathy Plungis and Patrick Hollenbeck are up for re-election and have submitted papers. Peter Stanton is up for re-election for the board of health and is running.

On the housing authority, three seats are up: Jackie Sinico has turned in her papers to run for re-election, Jim Mercer and Karen Smith have taken out papers but have not returned them. All three are incumbents.

Great Barrington Finance Committee members, from left, former member Michael Wise, and current members Thomas Blauvelt and Walter F. Atwood III. Photo: Heather Bellow

Two constable seats are up. Incumbents Atwood and John Broderick are running for re-election and are being challenged by Lawrence Hankey. All three have turned in their papers, Ryan said.

Michael Wise, who also sits on the ZBA and chairs the Democratic Town Committee, is running unopposed for town moderator.

Friday, March 23, is the last day nomination papers can be obtained from the town clerk for candidates who want to be on the ballot for the Tuesday, May 15, nonpartisan municipal elections. They must be returned by Tuesday, March 27, with the required 28 certified signatures. Click here to see the open seats and the terms.

The will be a candidates forum Wednesday, May 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Claire Teague Senior Center. The forum will be sponsored by the Eileen Mooney’s NEWSletter and the Democratic Town Committee.

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One Comment   Add Comment

  1. Tom Blauvelt says:

    Karen Smith is not the chair of the CPC. She is the vice-chair

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James Welch, 89, of Salisbury, Conn.

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