Selectman’s race in store for Rowe voters

OWE — Rowe Library Director Susan Gleason is challenging Selectman Paul McLatchy III for his re-election bid in Saturday’s annual town election.

Polls will be open in the Town Hall from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The selectmen’s race is the only contest on the ballot.

Gleason grew up in Rowe, was a librarian at the Greenfield Public Library for 26 years, and has served as the town’s library director for 10 years. She is retiring in June and would like to continue serving her hometown in another capacity.

“I have lived in this area all my life,” she said.

Gleason says she is running to provide both “a change, and a choice” to town voters. “It’s a busy time for the town,” she said. “There’s a lot going on, with the energy projects and with the school conundrum. I just want to provide structure to the government process, so everyone knows how everything is to be done — even with the budget process.”

Besides serving as library director, Gleason was president of the Rowe Historical Society for several years. She also worked on the Heath Fair for several years. Gleason also served on a town Planning Board, when she lived in another local town, she said.

Incumbent McLatchy has been a selectman for 3½ years.

“I feel like there’s a lot of progress that’s been made in town, the last few years,” he said. “We’ve become a (state-designated) Green Community. We’ve switched over to the Franklin Regional Council of Governments’ regional accounting program. I think there are still some changes to come: We need to get a plan for long-term highway maintenance, as was discussed on town meeting floor,” said McLatchy. “We also need to develop a long-term plan for energy goals and uses. How much of the town’s energy do we want to get from renewable sources? I think the board we have now is really working well together and I want to continue working with them on projects and initiatives that come before town.”

Two new candidates have stepped forward to fill a few vacant seats. Wayne Zavotka is a write-in candidate for a three-year open term on the Finance Committee. No one is running for a one-year term on that board. As a minister for 38 years, Zavotka said his clerical duties included budget oversight and committee management. He and his wife, Susie, moved to Rowe in July 2011, and Zavotka said he is interested in serving the community in some way. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and believes that serving on the Finance Committee will be “a good way to see how things work.”

Robert Dykeman, a current Planning Board member, is a write-in candidate for his own re-election to another five-year term. Dykeman said he wasn’t going to run for re-election, but after no one else came forward to run, he decided to seek another term.

The following incumbents are running unopposed for re-election. All are for three-year terms unless otherwise stated:

Board of Health member David Cousineau, Cemetery Commissioner James Williams, Library Trustee Claudine Poplawski; Moderator Robert Clancy; Park Commissioner Bruce Cowie (five year term), School Committee Chairwoman Lisa Miller, School Committee member (one year term) Cynthia Laffond, Tax Collector Sandra Daviau and Treasurer (one-year term) Donna Flagg.

The ballot includes two questions on whether voters favor changing the elected town treasurer and tax collector positions to appointed terms. However, these questions are now moot, because one of these questions was defeated by annual town meeting voters on Monday, and the second article was tabled.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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