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Town Clerk Dawn Michanowicz and Selectman Maureen Cranson at the swearing in ceremony on May 13.  Photo: Richard Maki

Cranson embraces challenges

by Lex Thomas

Maureen Cranson, Sterling’s newest selectman, is no stranger to hard work and controversy. Formerly chair of the now-defunct Senior Center Committee, she worked tirelessly over several years to win support for a new senior center, which finally gained voter approval last year. Since then, she has served as chair, and now co-chair, of the Senior Center Building Committee, a position she intends to retain while serving as a selectman.

“The [Senior Center Building] committee’s function is now mostly managing the process,” Cranson says. “I’m confident that I can do both.”

Since being elected on May 11, she’s met with a variety of department heads, including the fire and police chiefs, and has been busy ramping up on issues that come under the jurisdiction of the Board of Selectmen, a task she says has been made easier by the fact that she’s attended most of the board’s meetings over the past couple of years.

Since moving to Sterling in 1972, Cranson has served in several capacities on town committees, and has always been an active volunteer wherever she saw the need for community involvement. In addition, she has worked in management and supervisory positions, and her jobs have given her organizational and event planning experience, useful in her volunteer endeavors.

“I’ve always been involved in the town, stepping up wherever I thought I could help,” she says. “I’ve always worked hard, and working in corporate America has helped me to develop both people skills and organizational skills.”

Cranson plans to put her enthusiasm and people skills to good use encouraging people to participate in town government, and especially drawing town residents back into the process who may have felt put off or disenfranchised over the past few years, adding that there are currently a number of vacancies on town boards and committees.

“I want people to participate in town meeting, and to know how their money is being spent,” she says, “and I want people to know they can be heard in an open and fair-minded environment.”

Cranson frequently reiterates her campaign platform, stating that the town needs more communication, cooperation, fiscal responsibility, and community involvement.

“We need to get department heads talking to each other, and talking to the selectmen, giving us regular updates,” she says.

Cranson feels that the town has a good basis for a master plan on many levels, but that communication between departments and committees is needed to bring a plan together.

“I’m incredibly excited to have this opportunity,” says Cranson. “But I can’t do it alone. No one can. We need people to step up. If I can make that happen, I’ll be very happy.”