Published in the April 13, 2016 edition
By MAUREEN DOHERTY
(Updated from the print edition with official vote tally. Dalton picked up one more vote; three additional ballots were tallied.)
LYNNFIELD — Businessman Richard “Dick” Dalton was elected to the Board of Selectmen by a margin of 227 votes over attorney Michael Walsh, 934-707.
A total of 1,670 voters cast ballots in Monday’s annual town election, with the open seat for selectman topping the ticket as the major contested race. The three-year seat opened up after Selectman Tom Terranova opted not to seek a second three-year term to the board.
The only other contested race was a three-way write-in campaign for a one-year term on the Planning Board between Alan Dresios, Tom Pagos and Al Sylvia (see related story).
Dalton eager to contribute
“I’m very happy,” Dalton said when asked how it felt to win his first seat to the Board of Selectmen. “I’m thankful to the voters of Lynnfield for providing me with this opportunity and, quite frankly, the privilege to serve them over the next three years.”
Although he’s glad the campaign is now in the rear view mirror, he said reconnecting with old acquaintances and meeting new residents during his outreach efforts over the past few months was an enjoyable experience.
“Now I’d just like to focus on being a contributing member to the board and working towards constantly trying to improve what we do,” Dalton said. He will announce his official town email address as soon as it is set up in order to remain accessible to the voters, he said.
Crawford elected chairman
After Dalton was sworn in to office by Town Clerk Trudy Reid, the first order of business was re-organizing the leadership of the board.
In his first official action, Dalton nominated Selectman Phil Crawford to be the board’s chairman, which was seconded by Selectman Chris Barrett and passed unanimously. It marks Crawford’s second consecutive year as chairman and his third chairmanship during his four-year tenure. He had also served as chairman when he was originally elected to the one-year term remaining on the three-year term of the late Al Merritt, he said.
Barrett was unanimously elected vice chairman while Dalton was unanimously elected clerk.
Before giving up his seat to Dalton, Terranova thanked the voters for electing him to the board three years ago. Addressing the residents who were looking for assistance, Terranova said, “I was really happy that I could help them.”
Terranova said they have accomplished a lot of great things together. “The people have their voice back. They are no longer afraid to go to any public meeting and speak their piece. For that I am very proud that the people now have that ability.”
Among these accomplishment was CVS pulling out its proposal for the Bridgewell site, he said.
“When the people decided they didn’t want something in their neighborhood they came out in force,” Terranova said. “The people decided for themselves that they did not want that CVS in the neighborhood for different reasons. They fought for it and they were successful.”
He praised Bob Curtin for the improvements made to the board’s website and said efforts by new Town Administrator Jim Boudreau to make more information pertaining to the town’s finances available online will enable the townspeople to better understand the town’s financial data.
Terranova said he wants to be thought of as “a responsible spender,” noting the few times he “broke from my ritual of absolutely not increasing taxes,” such as supporting funds to hire a part-time police officer to patrol the Walnut Street neighborhood. He said he hopes the next board will fund it as a full-time position so other areas of town will get additional police enforcement too.
Regarding the high pressure gas line that Kinder Morgan wants to run through town, Terranova said, “I hope people don’t forget that today it’s North Hill; tomorrow, it could be your backyard…You don’t need to have an issue in your backyard to only come out for that isolated issue.” He said it has been “refreshing” to see people come from across town to support others affected by different issues like the pipeline.
“Lastly, I’m proud to be part of the new part of Lynnfield. I’m not part of the old network; I’m part of the new network and that is responsible spending, transparency and freedom of speech.”