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Young, Bialecki unseat incumbents

  • Recorder Staff/Domenic PoliRebecca Bialecki.

  • Contributed photoHolly Young.



Recorder Staff
Monday, April 03, 2017

ATHOL — The Athol Board of Selectmen has two new faces after Holly Young and Rebecca Bialecki were elected to three-year seats in Monday’s town election.

Young and Bialecki were also the only candidates at the Athol Senior Center when Town Clerk Nancy Burnham read the unofficial results at roughly 8:15 p.m. Young took the most votes, 403, while Bialecki got 391. Incumbents Anthony Brighenti and Alan Dodge tallied 327 and 280, respectively. Challenger Sarah Gambrell accumulated 309. Polls closed at the senior center at 8 p.m.

Both winners said they were pleasantly surprised by the results. They said it is unusual for incumbents to lose, especially when they are well-known in the community. Both said they planned to go to Town Hall today to be sworn in.

“I guess I want to get in there and see what I can change for the better,” Young said when asked of her initial reaction to the news.

Bialecki said 2017 is “the year of the woman.”

“I’m thrilled that people clearly support change,” she said. “I’m excited to get things moving, to better engage the whole public as part of our process. That’s really important to me.”

Both women indicated the election was likely influenced by voters’ unhappiness over how the Board of Selectmen handled a proposal to regionalize 911 dispatching. The proposal was to consolidate Athol police and fire dispatch with Gardner’s and operate in a regional emergency communication center in the new Gardner police station.

Young, a former paralegal, has worked as the assistant to the Templeton town administrator for four years. Bialecki is a former community organizer and is now the vice president of Heywood Healthcare.

According to Burnham, 911 (roughly 13 percent) of the town’s 6,785 registered voters showed up at the polls.