Greenfield Precinct 2 applicants revealed

  • City Council President Karen “€œRudy”€ Renaud talks with Councilor Isaac Mass prior to a recent meeting. FIEL PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/2/2019 9:33:49 PM

GREENFIELD — Five Precinct 2 residents – including two very familiar with Greenfield’s government – want to fill a vacancy on Greenfield City Council – likely voting on a proposed library and a plastic bag ban at this month’s council meeting.

The five names were released at a reorganization meeting of the council Wednesday evening, amid debate about how the council should select the replacement for John Lobik, who has resigned as Precinct 2 councilor for health reasons.

The five residents up for consideration are: Dan Guin, Mark Berson, Matthew Howell, Rachel Gordon and John Andrews. ​​​​​​Guin is a former town councilor and Berson was chairman of the commission that designed Greenfield’s current mayor form of government.

Guin, of Lampblack Road, may have the most relevant experience. He was on the council for 12 years and served as the council’s first president. He also spent time as acting mayor and chairman of the Economic Development Committee.

Berson, a long-time local lawyer, was chairman of the Charter Commission that designed Greenfield’s current mayor form of government.

Howell, of Dunnell Road, is a teacher at Sunderland Elementary School and is working toward an administrator’s license, which includes a focus on budget preparation.

Gordon, of Eastern Avenue, holds a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University and a master’s degree in international governance and conflict resolution at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She is a recent resident of Greenfield, moving here from Boston in 2016, but lived in Brattleboro, Vt., for a number of years. Gordon is also co-founder and current coordinator of Not In Our Town, Greenfield.

Andrews, of Canada Hill Road, is a member of the Greenfield Planning & Construction Committee. He is the former governor of the Loyal Order of the Moose 997 in Greenfield. He recently retired from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters as a job steward, which included work on Greenfield High School and the surgery center of Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

Debating the process

After much debate led by Councilor Isaac Mass, five councilors — three of them progressives — were tapped by City Council President Karen “Rudy” Renaud to screen the candidates.

Councilors Sheila Gilmour, Ashli Stempel, Wanda Pyfrom, Brickett Allis and Doug Mayo will provide a recommendation to her on who she should nominate for the seat. Renaud will likely bring the nomination to the full council at its Jan. 16 meeting, which will include the library and plastic bag ban votes. She said she hopes to receive a unanimous recommendation from this group, but said she will go with the majority opinion.

Mass debated Renaud’s process and suggested that a councilor who is “disgruntled” after not being selected to this committee may file a grievance with the city for the formation of the committee that does not adhere to proper rules and procedures.

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” Mass said. “I’m just concerned with the process.”

Renaud followed Mass’ suggestion of how to form the committee, instead of doing it on her own as council president, and by getting the full council’s vote.

“I will take full responsibility if somebody files a grievance,” Renaud said.

There were also concerns with the process and potential violations of open meeting laws.

Organizing back to normal

Renaud was unanimously chosen to remain council president. There were no other councilors nominated for the position.

At-Large Councilor Penny Ricketts will also remain vice president.

Precinct 4 Councilor Wanda Pyfrom will continue to be secretary, although she was not chosen unanimously. Precinct 8 Councilor Doug Mayo had proposed Precinct 5 Councilor Tim Dolan, who declined. Mayo did not vote for Pyfrom.

Pyfrom said she does not plan to seek re-election in November but is pleased to finish out as secretary.

Ricketts was unanimously chosen to stay in the role, only after Precinct 1 Councilor Verne Sund withdrew his nomination for At-Large Councilor Ashli Stempel to be vice president, which she declined.

“It feels good to know people still value me in this role,” Ricketts said, choked up. “It’s been a rough road back and I want to keep doing this. I know it’s hard, but I know you’ve all been here to support me. This nomination means more than people think.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264




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