Retired cop, teacher seeks Selectboard seat in Charlemont

  • Residents vote at the Charlemont Fire Station during the 2020 town election. This year’s election will also be held at the Fire Station, today from noon to 7 p.m. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/24/2021 3:11:58 PM

CHARLEMONT — Should retired police officer and substitute teacher Dan Girard be elected to the open seat on the Selectboard during Tuesday’s town election, the 71-year-old hopes to work on attracting people to town and ensuring its post-pandemic recovery.

“I think we’re in for some hard times, but I think the town has the chance to be upwardly mobile over the next few years,” Girard said of his reason for running. “There’s a lot of tax burden that goes on homeowners. We need to find something that helps so that we’re not pushing out families who can’t afford to stay here.”

Girard, who has lived in Charlemont since 2001, is running unopposed for a three-year term on the Selectboard that has been vacant since former board member Sarah Reynolds became town administrator. She resigned from the Selectboard on Nov. 30, and became town administrator after a 30-day waiting period.

The remaining positions with candidates on the ballot are likewise uncontested, and there are eight seats for which no one is on the ballot that may be filled through write-in votes. Polls will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Fire Station. Town Clerk Kathy Reynolds said voters must wear masks and abide by social distancing guidelines.

Before moving to Charlemont, Girard served six years in the U.S. Army as a military police staff sergeant, and 29 years as a police officer in Salisbury and with the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ special investigation unit out of Boston. He also spent 14 years as a substitute teacher at Hawlemont Regional School, Mohawk Trail Regional School, Sanderson Academy and Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School, primarily working with children with learning disabilities and anger management problems.

Additionally, Girard was a division manager at Berkshire East before the pandemic began, and since then he has helped in a more administrative role while working remotely. He has also served on other town boards previously, including the Planning Board and Flag Committee.

Girard said if he’s elected to the Selectboard seat, he’s eager to hear from constituents about what issues in town are important to them.

“One of the things that I’ve always been adamant about is people get elected to a position, and sometimes I think they forget that they’ve been elected by the people of the town,” he explained. “I want to make sure their voices are heard when it comes to meetings and decisions. That’s the way it should be.”

He wants to ask residents where they’d like to see Charlemont in five or 10 years, and what direction they’d like to see the community move in. Girard said he’d personally like to see more businesses come to town.

“There’s a lot of complexes in town that, in their heyday, were thriving and doing well,” Girard said. “I’d really like to see that portion of it coming back, where someone in the community could get a decent job working in town.”

Other positions on the ballot are as follows:

■Tyler Memorial Library trustee, three-year term — Esther Haskell, incumbent

■Planning Board, five-year term — Robert Nelson, incumbent

■Board of Health, three-year term — Douglas Telling, incumbent

■Parks and Recreation Commission, four-year term — Jacqueline Cashin

■Parks and Recreation Commission, one-year term — Neil Neuhauser

The positions that see no one on the ballot, which may be filled with write-in votes, are as follows:

■Board of Assessors, three-year term

■Charlemont School Committee, three-year term

■Mohawk Trail Regional School District School Committee, three-year term

■Local Education Council, three-year term

■Constable, three-year term

■Moderator, one-year term

■Planning Board, four-year term

■Parks and Recreation Commission, five-year term

Reach Shelby Ashline at 413-772-0261, ext. 270 or sashline@recorder.com.




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