Devine to step down, creating second vacancy on Hadley Select Board


Staff Writer
Thursday, January 11, 2018

HADLEY — A Select Board member for nine years, Gerald “Gerry” Devine will not seek re-election at the town election on April 10.

“I’ll be looking for something that takes less time commitment, but still remain involved in the town,” Devine said Jan. 3.

Fellow incumbent Joyce Chunglo, who was first elected to the board in 2003 and has won re-election four times since, said she has pulled nomination papers to get on the election ballot.

David Fill II, a U.S. Air Force veteran who grew up on Middle Street, has already submitted his nomination papers for the vacant one-year position previously held by Donald Pipczynski. Pipczynski resigned in October, about halfway through his term, citing concerns over excessive town spending.

Devine has served two separate stints on the municipal board, initially between 2004 and 2010, and then again starting in 2015. In between, Devine served as town moderator from 2012 to 2015.

In addition to the significant workload, Devine said Select Board tasks are a challenge because the town is changing from one that has been fiscally conservative to one whose residents are more willing to spend money on municipal services and building projects, illustrated recently by the support for constructing both a new senior center and a new library.

There are also ongoing needs, such as making sure the police department is properly equipped and getting to a full-time fire department. The Select Board is also considering moving to a private ambulance service, which would mean no longer paying Amherst to provide the town’s emergency medical needs.

“There’s a long list of things that need to be addressed,” Devine said.

Fill served 10 years on active duty and in the reserves, including combat tours in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, and has also been a federal agent with the Department of Homeland Security.

Fill has already created a Facebook page, outlining objectives that include preserving farmland and green space, fully supporting the police and fire needs, including dealing with the issue of ambulance service, improving and maintaining existing infrastructure and maintaining Hadley’s low tax rate.

Residents have until Feb. 15 to pick up forms and Feb. 20 to submit to the town clerk’s office.

There are numerous other positions that will be on the ballot, including two three-year terms on the School Committee, currently held by Humera Fasihuddin and Paul Phifer; two three-year terms as trustees for the library, whose incumbents are Jo-Ann Konieczny and Alison Donta-Venman; the one-year position as town moderator, held by Brian West; and a five-year term on the Planning Board, held by James Maksimoski.

In addition, there is a three-year term as assessor, currently held by Jeffrey Mish; a three-year term on Board of Health, held by Jennifer Gould; a three-year term as tax collector, currently Susan Glowatsky; and a five-year term on the Hadley Housing Authority, held by Wilfred Danylieko.

A three-year term on Parks Commission and a one-year post on the Hampshire Board of Councilors are both vacant.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.