Two vie for Selectboard seat in Wendell



Staff Writer
Published: 5/29/2020 1:04:53 PM

WENDELL — The lone contested race on this year’s town election ballot involves two women competing for a two-year Selectboard seat being vacated by Christine Heard.

Nancy Riebschlaeger and Gillian Budine have thrown their hats in the ring for the job that goes up for grabs during the municipal election on Monday, June 1, the date having been chosen following a postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Polls will be open at the Town Office building at 9 Morse Village Road from noon to 7 p.m.


The 72-year-old has an abundance of experience in local government, including time on the Wendell Broadband Committee. She is on the town’s technology, website, and energy committees in addition to being chair of the Wendell Planning Board and being involved with the Franklin Regional Planning Board and the Greater Franklin County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

But despite her extensive experience, Riebschlaeger has never served on the Selectboard.

“I think I’m ready,” she said recently. “I’ve wanted to try to serve the town in that way and I see this as an opportunity to do it.”

Riebschlaeger said she has also been the town accountant in Wendell and Orange, and the chief procurement officer in Orange. Should she be elected to Selectboard, she said she would focus her efforts on sustainability.

Originally from Millers Falls, Riebschlaeger moved to Wendell 29 years ago after spending some time in Texas.

In addition to her many roles, Riebschlaeger explained she is pursuing her doctorate online from Walden University in local government management for sustainable communities, and begins her dissertation next semester. Riebschlaeger said she went back to school six years ago and has earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s in organizational leadership from Nichols College, as well as a paralegal certificate from Mount Wachusett Community College.


The 51-year-old works for Erving School Union 28 as the coordinator of the Community Network for Children program, which provides support and family programs for residents of Erving, Leverett, New Salem, Wendell and Shutesbury.

Budine explained her children have grown up (her youngest is 16) and she wants to give back to her community in a way she previously hasn’t been able to commit to.

“I feel like I have a strength in helping people work together and helping to keep an open mind, and a broad sense of what our community needs as a whole,” she said.

Although Budine grew up in Wendell, she said she left to attend Wheelock College, which has since merged with Boston University. She lived in Erving for 17 years before moving back to Wendell five or six years ago.

Budine believes her professional experience would be an asset to the Selectboard, as she is the Community Network for Children program’s grant writer and, as such, she often works with state legislators.

“A lot of what I do for work,” she explained, “is collaboration with other organizations and other people.”

Other positions

Other than the two-year Selectboard seat that Riebschlaeger and Budine are vying for, the uncontested positions and nominees on the ballot are:

■Selectboard, three-year term: Daniel Keller (incumbent);

■Board of Assessors, three-year term: Chris Prunier Wings (incumbent);

■town clerk, three-year term: Gretchen Smith (incumbent);

■tax collector, three-year term: Penny Delorey (incumbent);

■treasurer, three-year term: Carolyn Manley (incumbent);

■Board of Health, three-year term: Judith D. Bailey (incumbent);

■cemetery commissioner, three-year term: Judith N. Putnam (incumbent);

■Planning Board, five-year term: Molly F. Doody (incumbent);

■Planning Board, two-year term: write-in possible;

■moderator, one-year term: Kathleen Nolan (incumbent);

■School Committee, three-year terms: Johanna Bartlett and Anna Rebecca Wetherby (incumbents);

■School Committee, one-year term: April C. Thompson (nominee);

■road commissioner, three-year term: Phil Delorey (incumbent);

■library trustees, three-year terms: Judith Putnam and Sylvia Wetherby (incumbents);

■library trustees, one-year term: Mara Bright (nominee);

■and tree warden, one-year term: write-in possible.

Reach Domenic Poli at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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