Come Meet the Three Men Who Want to Lead Deerfield

I got this message today by email:

The Deerfield Board of Selectmen invites town officials, members of the public and all interested parties to meet the three candidates for the position of Town Administrator at a Candidates Reception on May 14, 2014 at the Deerfield Municipal Offices from 5:00-6:00 pm. Formal interviews will follow this reception beginning at 6:00 pm.

The public is invited to submit questions via email or postal delivery to Patricia Kroll at no later than May 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm. All questioners must be identified. Anonymous questions will not be entertained.

The finalists are Michael Bissonnette, who served four terms as mayor of Chicopee; Andrew Golas, who is the executive assistant for the town of Palmer; and George R. Zimmerman, who retired last month after 10 years as the elected city treasurer in Northampton.

The town is following the same process used during the interview of the police chief and South County EMS director.

I love that our plucky New England town is going to do this–let the public interview the three vetted candidates for our town manager position.  Our town really needs a good manager, the only thing I’m afraid of is that even the most enthusiastic and outgoing manager only is as active or as hard working as the select board will let him be.  Though there have been many discussions about increasing the power of the town manager, it still seems like whatever he decides to promote will all be subject to what the selectboard wants.  And they aren’t that interested in doing much of anything to improve the town, attract businesses to town, or make the town more livable for its inhabitants.

What I’d like to see the manager and the selectboard do is to spend some money resurfacing the sidewalks on Sugarloaf St. It’s so cracked and rutted that somebody is going to sue the town.  And we are a walking town, where many people in the evening can be seen strolling.  I think it’s time we improved our sidewalks and took at look at the big plan for streetscape improvements that was published and then put on a shelf last year.

Or how about trying to reach out and fill some of the vacant storefronts, or get the hardware store to get moving on  their long-planned expansion and tear down of the dilapidated house next door.   And take up the offer that was made to build elderly housing in the 16-acre open lot where the pickle factory used to be. Someone needs to try to market that property and get some movement and some positive progress in our town.

Ok, I think I’ve given the candidates something to chew on.