Few races, open seats on ballot for Greenfield election

Staff Writer
Published: 9/12/2021 4:55:57 PM

GREENFIELD — Few races are contested on the ballot for the local election in November.

In fact, the School Committee is among the only two contested races, with five candidates vying for three, four-year-term seats.

Those candidates include incumbents Glenn Johnson-Mussad and Susan Hollins, as well as newcomers Daryl Essensa, Kathryn Lynn Martini and Elizabeth Ann Deneeve. Committee member Katie Caron, after four years on the committee, is not running for re-election.

Two candidates — James Geisman and Robert Wolanske — are in the race for a four-year term as assessor.

The election is scheduled to take place Nov. 2. There will be no preliminary election this year, due to the low number of papers that were pulled, according to the city clerk’s office.Of the seven seats open on City Council, there are currently no contested races and two seats with no candidates running. There are no candidates running for councilor of Precinct 9, currently occupied by Norman Hirschfeld, and none for the position of councilor-at-large, currently occupied by Ashli Stempel-Rae. Both Hirschfeld and Stempel-Rae’s terms end this year.

On the ballot, however, is City Council President Penny Ricketts, running uncontested for one of the two seats for councilors-at-large; Precinct 6 Councilor Sheila Gilmour, running uncontested for another four-year term; and Precinct 8 Councilor Douglas Mayo, running uncontested for another four-year term.

Marianne Bullock is running uncontested for councilor of Precinct 5, currently occupied by Tim Dolan, whose term ends this year; and Jasper Lapienski is running for councilor of Precinct 7, a position currently held by Otis Wheeler, whose term also ends this year.

Dolan, who is stepping down after one four-year term, said in the years he served on City Council, he was particularly proud of his involvement in the team effort that went into getting the new Greenfield Public Library, as well as the work done on the safe city ordinance and the plastic bag ban.

Still, he said, the job is an enormous time commitment for low compensation.

“It’s a really hard and grueling job,” he said. “I think Greenfield expects a lot from the councilors without investing in the councilors.”

Dolan said the high number of uncontested races, particularly on City Council, is possibly a reflection of how hard the job is, despite its “low pay.”

“I don’t know how we can claim to have a representative democracy if we don’t have any competitive races,” he said.

Wheeler, who also served for one term on the council, echoed those concerns.

“It’s unreasonable to put in the work that’s required of a councilor for $1,000 a year, which is the stipend the councilors receive,” Wheeler said.

He said it’s been a roller coaster of an experience — and at many times, a fulfilling one.

“I learned a lot, and I think I grew in many ways,” he said.

After four years in the role, Wheeler wants to thank the people who elected him to serve.

“It’s been an honor to serve the city of Greenfield and to represent the people of Precinct 7,” he said. “And I thank them for giving me the chance.”

Also on the ballot

■Trustee of A.K. Warner Trust Fund, three seats with two-year terms: Sally Ahearn and Marilyn Hannan.

■Elector Under the Will of Oliver Smith, two-year term: no candidates.

■Trustee of Jennie L. Bascom Education Fund, three seats with two-year terms: no candidates.

In an earlier version of this article, there was incorrect precinct information about one of the candidates. Marianne Bullock is running uncontested for Precinct 5. There is no race for Precinct 4, as it is not a seat up for re-election. 

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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