Outgoing Greenfield elected officials reflect on tenure

  • The Greenfield City Council approves the safe city ordinance during an August meeting at the John Zon Community Center in Greenfield. Six of the 13 councilors are stepping down in January. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 12/26/2019 1:00:49 AM

GREENFIELD — Much like the end of the decade, the end of the year means the end of an era for some elected officials in the city — at least until the next election.

City Councilors Verne Sund, Mark Berson, Wanda Pyfrom, Brickett Allis, Isaac Mass and Karen “Rudy” Renaud attended their last meeting Dec. 18 and most spoke about their experience. Except for Sund, the councilors did not seek re-election in November.

Sund, who has served four years and was defeated by Edward Jarvis for the role of Precinct 1 city councilor during the November general election, said he enjoyed his time on the council.

“I’d like to thank everyone who’s worked on the council, especially the president,” said Sund, referring to Renaud. “I really enjoyed my time on the council, learning about the finances and other things that go on in the town. I would like to see more people step in that live here and listen to the meetings.”

Sund thanked municipal employees for their hard work as well. He said he plans on going to his grandchildren’s sporting events and attending municipal meetings “in the audience.”

Having served four years as well, Pyfrom said she was proud to serve in the city where she was born and raised.

“I met some great people, I learned a lot. I’m thrilled I got to do what I got to do,” she said. “But it’s time to move on. I’m looking forward to building more relationships.”

Pyfrom added that serving on the council gave her confidence, and she has no regrets stepping away from the position. Her future endeavors include continuing to work at the YMCA and volunteering at the veterans’ lunch at the Greenfield Elks Lodge.

With the longest tenure of the current councilors, Allis reflected on his political career while thanking Renaud and his fellow councilors for their work.

“I look at the agenda and it says, ‘The 200th meeting of the Greenfield City Council,’ for which I’ve been a member for all of them,” Allis said. “I’ve loved my time serving for the last 20 years. It’s not only something I enjoyed, it was part of my life. … I’ve been here and I’ve worked alongside hundreds of councilors, some who are coming back, some have been here. I’ve worked alongside a town manager, I’ve worked alongside two mayors, seven DPW heads, three police chiefs, five fire chiefs, five superintendents of schools and thousands of great employees.”

At the meeting, Berson said he wanted to acknowledge another outgoing official: the mayor.

“It’s important for us to recognize that Mayor (William) Martin has served for 10 years of his life in this capacity and it is certainly one fraught with criticism, right or wrongly so, but someone who devoted 10 years of his life to serving this community should be recognized and acknowledged,” Berson said.

Mass, who served six terms in office, said he appreciated each and every city councilor.

“I think it is telling in this community that people return to service. I remember serving on that 27-member council with Councilor Allis and I stepped away for a long time and came back because I care about this community,” Mass said. “People serve and return to service and I appreciate that.”

He said he anticipates the new council will have debates and “good dialogue.”

Mass purchased Greenfield Garden Cinemas earlier this year and will be focused on running the Main Street theater in 2020.

Renaud, who has served for nine years and as president for two years, said when she ran, she didn’t know anything about city politics.

“I want to thank all of my colleagues, those I’ve agreed with and disagreed with. I hope that folks could learn from us, that you can disagree up until the final minute of our final meeting and still walk out and be friends,” she said. “If there’s one moment I could take from the nine years I could say was one of the best, I would say it was the library-zoning compromise. It showed you could come together from two completely opposite sides of the table … in order for us to move the priorities of the larger segment of our community forward.”

Her future plans include getting her masters’s degree and “watching the council meetings from the comfort of my home.”

Starting in January, the councilors’ positions will be filled by Jarvis, Daniel Guin, Virginia “Ginny” DeSorgher, John Bottomley, Philip Elmer and Christine Forgey.

School Committee

On Dec. 16, outgoing Greenfield School Committee members Cameron Ward and Chair Adrienne Nunez attended what is potentially the last meeting of the year, unless another meeting is warranted, Nunez said.

Ward, who left the meeting early, served on the School Committee for four years.

Nunez has been serving since about 2014, according to Greenfield Recorder archives. She spoke during the Dec. 16 meeting about her experience on the committee and its “highs and lows.”

“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been beaten up,” Nunez said. “We’ve beaten each other up. Sometimes it’s been fun, sometimes it’s been incredibly challenging. I just want to say that it’s just been a real honor to fight for our kids and for public education here in Greenfield. Thank you very much for that.”

Reach Melina Bourdeau at mbourdeau@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 263.


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