By Bill Kirk and Dustin Luca
---- — School Committee Chairman Dennis Forgue is making good on a promise to step down at the end of his second term next spring.
Forgue this week announced that he will not be seeking re-election to a third, three-year term on the committee.
In a letter to the Andover Townsman (see Opinion, page 11), Forgue said that his decision stems from a commitment he made in 2008 when he first ran for office.
“I had committed myself, with my family’s support, to serving two terms if the townspeople were willing to re-elect me,” Forgue said.
Forgue, when contacted, said turnaround on committees is “a healthy event,” one that he encourages.
“I do think it’s good to have turnover on committees, fresh ideas,” he said. “I always felt that.”
While saying the biggest factors in his decision were commitments to his family and his executive recruiting business, Forgue added that something like serving on the School Committee “does take some considerable time.”
“It was really not a hard decision at the end of the day,” he said. However, he added he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of running for public office again in the future.
Forgue encouraged anyone contemplating a bid for School Committee or any other elected town office to seek out his input.
“I ran in two contested elections,” he said. “You learn a lot in doing that, so if anybody has questions or would like to chat about running on a local campaign or what it’s like being on the School Committee, I’d be happy to chat with anybody and give them my perspective.”
Forgue’s decision clears the way for a newcomer to claim the lone three-year seat up for grabs on the School Committee in the March 25 town election.
Nomination papers for all town offices up for election are now available from the town clerk’s office inside the Town Offices at 36 Bartlet St. Candidates must return completed forms by Feb. 4 at 5 p.m. to guarantee placement on the ballot.
Selectman Mary Lyman said she will be among those on the ballot. She said she intends to seek another three-year term because she feels that the town’s public works employees need a new facility to work in.
“We haven’t figured the town yard,” she said, referring to the hodgepodge campus of public works buildings in the middle of downtown near the train station. “A safe working environment for the employees is huge.”
Lyman also said her next term on the board would likely be one of transition for the town, with the possible hiring of a new town manager. Current Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski’s contract is due to expire on June 30, 2015.
In addition, she said selectmen are currently looking to hire a new town accountant (see related story, page 5) and a new plant and facilities director.
“In general, there’s a lot of transition in the town in the next few years,” she said, adding that she is still waiting to hear from Stapczynski on the hiring of a new plant and facilities director.
The position is currently held by Chris Cronin, who serves in an acting capacity. Former director Joe Piantedosi announced his retirement in 2010, but stayed on until 2011. His departure prompted a new look at the organization of the department, with Stapczynski saying he wanted to merge the public works and plant and facilities departments under one director.
Lyman, a 55-year-old mother of three sons ranging in age from 17 to 23, said she was working part-time during her last campaign for a selectman’s seat. Now she has a full-time job, which she said will require some careful balancing during election season. She has not yet heard of any opponents interested in challenging her.
“At this point, I will be running,” she said. “I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’ll figure it out.
Other positions that are up for election in March are:
Moderator, one-year term; currently held by Sheila Doherty. She could not be reached for comment last week.
Andover Housing Authority, five-year term; James Cuticchia is running for re-election.
Trustees of the Punchard School, three-year terms; currently held by Donald Schroeder and James Sutton.
For more information on the election process, call Town Clerk Larry Murphy at 978-623-8255.