Published in the March 17, 2016 edition
By BOB TUROSZ
NORTH READING — After announcing back in February that he would not run for a third term on the Board of Selectmen, Michael Prisco reversed course on Tuesday, filing his nomination papers in the Town Clerk’s office to run again. Tuesday was the last day for candidates to file papers to qualify for the May 3 ballot.
In a letter to the editor in today’s Transcript, Prisco said his decision to run again was triggered by the events in the Department of Public Works last week and as a result he decided to put his personal feelings aside and run again. (See page 4).
In an interview with the Transcript, Prisco said he has raised concerns about the issues in the department in the past and been “ridiculed” for it. He blamed a lack of accountability and leadership under the previous town administrator and said the current situation is not attributable to the current TA Michael Gilleberto. “He’s the one that’s finally righting the ship,” Prisco said.
“Now seems like the time for me to put aside my feelings and really be there for the town and the town employees that are remaining because we owe it to them. Now we need stronger and more capable leadership than we ever had before. We owe it to them all, including the taxpayers.”
Prisco’s late re–entry into the race means there are four candidates chasing two seats (both for three years) on the Board of Selectmen in the May 3 annual election. The others are incumbent Chairman Robert Mauceri, Richard Wallner, a member of the Economic Development Committee and resident Liane Gonzalez.
Prisco said if Gonzalez had not submitted her papers he, Prisco, would probably not have run out of respect to Wallner. “I would have left it alone. But in a three–person race there’s no guarantee for Rich so I will leave it up to the town. They know how I feel, I’ve been very open and honest about my feelings about the (board’s) current leadership and where we’re going and the town has an opportunity to vote how they think the town should go from a leadership standpoint.”
“There’s two pieces to it,” said Prisco: the current situation in the DPW and the fact there’s actually a Selectman’s race. Prisco said his original intention was to run, but he changed his mind because he was going to be denied an opportunity to serve as chairman.
Prisco said he’s experienced a “humbling” outpouring of support from the community and if re–elected he can serve on the board if he’s not chairman. He said he wants to make certain the employees are being treated fairly. “Right now everyone’s being painted with the same brush and the town is a laughing stock right now. We need to fix that and protect our people.”
The deadline for returning nomination papers came and went at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and all candidates returned their papers and all were certified for the ballot, said Town Clerk Barbara Stats.
Candidates have until March 31 to withdraw their name from the ballot, but as of now the May 3 election looks like this:
Selectmen: four candidates for two positions. They are Robert Mauceri, Michael Prisco, Richard Wallner and Liane Gonzalez.
School Committee: three candidates for two positions. They are incumbents Mel Webster, Janene Imbriano and challenger Laina Simone.
Town Moderator: John Murphy is unopposed for a one year term.
Community Planning Commission: Incumbent Warren Pearce is seeking re–election. First time candidate Jonathan Cody is seeking election to the seat being vacated by Patricia Romeo, who decided not to run.
Wednesday, April 13 is the last day to vote in the town election.