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Hine, Geraghty win contested posts in South Hadley

  • John Hine, who was elected as South Hadley’s town moderator on Tuesday. CAROL LOLLIS

  • South Hadley Town Hall. GAZETTE STAFF



Staff Writer
Friday, April 12, 2019

SOUTH HADLEY — The town has a new town moderator and Select Board member after Tuesday’s annual election, but the race for an open Planning Board seat was not immediately determined.

In the contested race for moderator, John Hine beat out Andrew Beaudry, 826 votes to 707, according to unofficial numbers from Town Clerk Carlene Hamlin. Hine will serve a two-year term after the previous town moderator — Edward Ryan Jr., who was also the town counsel — died in July during the first year of his three-year term.

A senior business analyst at Baystate Health, Hine has served in a handful of roles in South Hadley over the years: as a member of Town Meeting, the School Committee, Select Board, Personnel Board, Planning Board and the town’s Municipal Light Board.

Speaking after the results were in Tuesday evening, Hine joked that there aren’t too many municipal positions he hasn’t held.

“This is particularly gratifying — to have the confidence and support to take that position and run Town Meeting,” Hine said. “It’s a special position, and one that requires a judicious temperament and skillfulness in guiding Town Meeting to complete its business.”

For an open seat on the Select Board, Christopher Geraghty won with 861 votes over Allyson Garcia, who received 755 votes, according to Hamlin’s unofficial count Tuesday evening. A Town Meeting member and lifelong resident of South Hadley, Geraghty has experience in municipal finance. He is currently the town accountant in Sturbridge.

Current Select Board Chairman Ira Brezinsky did not seek re-election at the end of his term this year. He has announced his intention to turn his full focus to Goshen, where he took over as that town’s first-ever town administrator in October.

The results for the town’s other race, for a vacant Planning Board seat, were still undetermined at press time Tuesday evening.

Vernon L. Blodgett Jr. was the only candidate for the vacant seat, and he received 605 votes Tuesday evening, according to unofficial results from Hamlin. But Blodgett has said that if elected, he will not accept the position due to health concerns.

That leaves two write-in candidates, Joanna Brown and Jeff Squire, looking to receive more than Blodgett’s 605 votes. There were 655 total write-in votes cast on Tuesday, Hamlin said, though they were not counted by the time the Gazette went to press.

“If nobody gets 606 votes and Mr. Blodgett does not accept the nomination, it does not go to the second-place winner,” Hamlin explained. “The position will become vacant under the law.”

If that scenario plays out, the town’s Select Board and Planning Board would solicit applications for the open post, interview candidates and make a joint decision on who to appoint, Hamlin said. That appointed person would serve in the role until next year, when another election would be held to determine who would serve out the remainder of the term until 2021.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.