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Monday, March 25, 2015
Contract negotiations underway with proposed town administrator
by Lex Thomas
On March 25, the Board of Selectmen voted 2-to-1 to appoint Michael Szlosek as town administrator, pending contract negotiations between Szlosek and the town of Sterling. Selectmen John Kilcoyne and Robert Cutler voted in favor of the motion to appoint Szlosek, and Board of Selectmen Chair Brian Patacchiola voted against the motion. Szlosek has served as interim town administrator since December 3, 2014. His appointment followed the untimely death of former Town Administrator Jeffrey Ritter in October.
Patacchiola and Kilcoyne said they had received both positive and negative feedback regarding Szlosek’s performance. Cutler declined to comment.
Patacchiola expressed disappointment that only two candidates, Szlosek and Michael Coughlin, were considered for the position. “I would have liked to have seen at least a third candidate,” he said, adding that he would recommend hiring a firm to seek additional candidates.
Kilcoyne thanked Coughlin for his interest, calling his background and experience “impressive.” Patacchiola said he admired the energy and enthusiasm Coughlin displayed during the interview process. Kilcoyne admitted that serving as interim town administrator gave Szlosek “a built-in advantage, as we got to see his performance.”
Monday, March 23, 2015
for Town Election — Final List
The deadline for submitting nomination papers for the Town Election on May 11 closed at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23. The candidates slated to appear on the ballot are:
Donlin K. Murray for re-election to one available seat on the Board of Assessors for a 3-year term.
Gary C. Menin for re-election to one available seat on the Board of Health for a 3-year term.
Sue Valentine for election to one available seat on the Board of Health for a 3-year term.
Alicia L. Emsley for election to one of two available seats on the Board of Library Trustees for a 3-year term.
Edward R. Tatten for election to one of two available seats on the Board of Library Trustees for a 3-year term.
Maureen M. Cranson for election to one available seat on the Board of Selectmen for a 3-year term.
Michael L. Padula for election to one available seat on the Board of Selectmen for a 3-year term.
Gregg W. Aubin for re-election to one available seat on the DPW Board for a 3-year term.
Karen Leclerc for re-election to one available seat on the Sterling Housing Authority for a 5-year term.
Mrithyunjaya K. Annapragada for election as Moderator for a 3-year term.
Matthew V. Stelmack for re-election to one available seat on the Sterling Municipal Light Board for a 3-year term.
Susan Hitchcock for election to one available seat on the Wachusett Regional School Committee for a 2-year term.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Patacchiola withdraws from Town Election
by Lex Thomas
Sterling Board of Selectmen Chair Brian Patacchiola has announced that he does not intend to run for re-election in the Town Election on May 11. Patacchiola has been a member of the board for the past three years, and had previously announced his intention to run for a second term.
On March 19, Patacchiola submitted the following letter, announcing his decision.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Over the last three years I have dutifully served our community as a member on the Board of Selectman, most recently as Chairman. Over these years we have been witness to an unprecedented amount of change within the highest levels of our government. Each year there has been a new addition to the Board and tragically, during my tenure as Chairman we have experienced three different Town Administrators. Despite this unintended turnover, the Town continues to move forward.
Immediately after being elected I went straight to work for Sterling. As a testament to that hard work, I am happy to report that the Town will receive the benefit of nearly $500,000 in PILOT money for the remainder of a 20 year agreement with a solar company because the facility located here. Our Seniors’ now have a second transportation van to improve their access to vital services. The Board has begun conversations about our Town’s future by engaging in specific discussions to develop a master plan, a financial plan and the adoption of a Town charter. Significant steps forward for Sterling.
It is imperative that these conversations continue. Continuity can be positive as Change can be positive. Government breeds and fosters slow processes in today’s digital world. The desire of our residents to keep fresh ideas and improvements in the forefront of all those that elect to serve is the best continuity that can be offered.
Regretfully, I would like to inform you that I shall not be seeking a second term on the Board of Selectman. Despite the investment that I have personally made to the citizens of Sterling, and I thank you for that opportunity, I must consider my future and the next best steps to those goals I have set for myself.
I am proud to have served on a Board that has come the closest in Sterling’s recent history in cleaning up our once immaculate Town center by finding a legal mechanism to mitigate the deteriorating condition of the old church across from the common. Further, by asserting its authority, this Board has made great progress in defining its relationships with appointed commissions and committees. In order to ensure our communities fiscal security and development, it is imperative that future Selectman support the yeoman’s work of the Economic Development Commission.
As part of my decision, I am grateful and thankful to acknowledge Paul Sushchyk, Ron Furmaniuk, Robert Cutler sr., and John Kilcoyne for working with me on this Board of Selectman over the last three years. As importantly, I respectfully recognize the valuable department heads for being true professionals, and the outstanding in what they do.
Brian Patacchiola, Chairman
Board of Selectman
Town of Sterling