Published in the January 27, 2016 edition


LYNNFIELD — With the new year underway, transitions are taking place on several town boards and commissions whose members are appointed by the selectmen.

On Monday night, the selectmen accepted the resignation of Conservation Commission Chairwoman Denise Young and voted to appoint Richard Sjoberg to the Recreation Commission and Steve Smith as an associate member of the Historical Commission.

Earlier this month, the board accepted the resignation of Historical Commission Chairwoman Nan Hockenbury. Another long-time Historical Commission member, Linda Gillon, resigned her post late last year. Young, Hockenbury and Gillon had each served their respective commissions for many years.

Sjoberg appointed 2-1

Sjoberg was appointed to the Recreation Commission post by a 2-1 margin after the board interviewed both Sjoberg and Wayne Shaffer to fill an existing vacancy on the commission Monday night.

The selectmen each emphasized that both candidates were well-qualified for the position. Recreation Commission Chairman Matt Monkiewicz agreed, but added that his board has voted unanimously to endorse Sjoberg based on the volunteer work he has performed in support of the Fields Committee’s turf fields upgrades and Townscape’s current initiatives to improve the town’s playgrounds and open spaces.

“Rich brings a unique set of skills specific to the problems and opportunities facing Rec in terms of being very intimately involved in the fields project and continued improvements to our property and facilities. I think he has demonstrated his ability to make a real contribution,” Monkiewicz said.

Selectman Tom Terranova nominated Shaffer for the vacancy while selectman Chris Barrett nominated Sjoberg. Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford broke the tie by endorsing Sjoberg.

During his interview, Shaffer stated that he is a lifelong resident of town and previously served on the Recreation Commission. “I think it’s really great that so many people want to give back to the town,” he said, adding that the commission’s work is important. “It’s part of the fabric of the community,” he said.

He fondly recalled spending time in his youth at a Recreation Center the commission ran in the house across the street from the library which currently houses the town’s historical records and artifacts.

“Mrs. Holt took a pool table she had and put it downstairs. Kids were able to play pool and have a good time hanging out,” he said. Shaffer noted that the town now has “the best fields complex, bar none,” which is the envy of the surrounding towns. “As a kid, I always liked playing on the Middle School back field. It was great. But times change and we need bigger and better things,” he said, adding that he would like to be part of that effort.

“Whoever you decide to appoint, I’d like to help either way,” Shaffer said.

Sjoberg described himself as “one of those guys that just can’t say no” to a request to help out in the community where he has lived for 13 years and is raising three children who are currently in the first, fifth and eighth grades. He said he has been “deeply involved in the PTO at the Huckleberry Hill School for a number of years.”

Additionally, his family has participated in many of the programs offered by the Recreation Commission. Once the fields improvement plan got underway, he said because he was familiar with the “conditions of the grass fields our children were playing on I thought it was a phenomenal opportunity” to convert those fields to turf. That’s why he decided to join the “grassroots” effort to ensure that initiative would be successful.

Currently, Sjoberg is a member of Townscape. “We’re working our butts off to improve the parks, open spaces and playgrounds in town.” Due to his work with both groups, he said he has gotten to know both Recreation Director Julie Mallett and Monkiewicz.

In endorsing Sjoberg, Barrett said he considers him to be “the go-to person” and he was happy to endorse him. Barrett added, “You’ve been a wonderful leader in the town of Lynnfield. The two kids I have at the Huckleberry Hill School, they have benefited from the fruits of your labor.”

“I thank both of your for applying for this job,” Crawford said, noting that the town is run by volunteers whose “time and effort in keeping the town the way it is and improving the town” is greatly appreciated.

ConCom resignation

In her resignation letter, Conservation Commission Chairwoman Denise Young noted that it was her pleasure to serve the town and support the commission’s activities during her long tenure. These initiatives included “the enactment of the Lynnfield Environmental Bylaw, project review and permitting, Pillings Pond water quality research and treatment, open space planning, vernal pool certification (and) restoration of Partridge Island boardwalk.”

Any town resident who wishes to apply for vacancies on the various town boards and commission should submit a letter of interest and a resume to the Town Administrator’s office at Town Hall, 55 Summer St., Lynnfield MA 01940 or via email to T.A. Jim Boudreau at: or Bob Curtin, assistant to administration, at: