Barrett out, Connell in for Select Board

Jan 13, 2021 by

Published January 13, 2021

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — In a surprising turn of events, Select Board Chairman Chris Barrett announced on Friday, Jan. 8 that he will not be running for a third three-year term.

Barrett was elected to the Board of Selectmen in April 2015 after previously serving a term on the School Committee. He was re-elected to a second term three years ago.

“After nearly 20 years of service to the town of Lynnfield, I made the decision to not seek re-election to the Lynnfield Select Board,” Barrett stated in a Letter to the Editor. “This has been a very difficult decision for my family and me because of the pride and joy I take from serving the town I love so much. With a young family and increased professional responsibility, I thought this was the perfect moment to step back and let a new voice be heard.”

Barrett said it was an honor and a privilege serving on both the School Committee and Select Board.

“I am enormously proud of our success working with Town Meeting, local officials, boards and committees, department heads and other town and school employees to accomplish such important tasks like maintaining essential town services even during challenging budgetary times, meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing the Office of Emergency Management, supporting our senior citizens, providing additional funding for education, renovating the Lynnfield Middle School Track and Field, securing community support for the expansion of both elementary schools, strengthening school security, investing in sidewalks, streets, public works and playgrounds, and always taking a bold stand as a community to make sure we remain on the right side of history,” said Barrett.

Barrett, who was appointed as principal of the Webster School in Everett last spring, recently led a successful effort that changed the Board of Selectmen’s name to Select Board. His daughter Kaylee inspired him to undertake the initiative.

Select Board member Dick Dalton honored his friend and colleague in a Facebook comment.

“For the past five years, I have had the privilege of serving with Chris on the Select Board,” Dalton wrote. “I’ve known him since he was a young boy who was a friend of my son, Michael, and I’m so proud of all that he’s accomplished. First and foremost, being a dedicated and loving son, brother, husband and father, but also as the consummate professional as a dedicated educator. You don’t speak to Chris about matters dealing with the education of the children of this town or Everett without his genuine passion and commitment being evident. And no one exemplifies commitment to the town like he does. On every vote he took, he labored over making certain that it was best for the town. I’ll miss my colleague, but I am happy for him in that he’ll now have more time to spend with Beth, Kaylee and Michael.”

In the wake of Barrett’s decision not to run again, Strategic Planning Committee Chairman Joe Connell pulled papers for Select Board on Monday. He served in the U.S. Army for 30 years before retiring in 2014.

“I served at every level,” Connell stated in a Letter to the Editor. “From a platoon leader at Fort Lewis Washington to the chief of staff for U.S. Forces Afghanistan. I did combat tours in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. I was fortune to be recognized enough to receive 23 various awards and decorations during my service. In my post Army career, I have also worked for some of the finest Companies. I was the New England regional operations officer for Stanley Black and Decker, a senior project manager for Siemens Industrial Technologies, and I am currently the director of global security for Thermo Fisher Scientific.”

In addition to serving as chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, Connell also serves as chairman of the War Memorial Committee and is a member of the Lynnfield Youth Lacrosse board. He has a daughter and a son attending Lynnfield High School.

“After I moved to town years ago, I decided to give back to the community after they supported my soldiers and me while we were deployed,” said Connell in an interview with the Villager. “I believe volunteering is essential in making a town great. After Chris made his announcement, my wife told me I should go for it and I decided to pull the papers. Over the last three years on the Strategic Planning Committee, I have gained an understanding of every single issue facing the town. I felt as though running for Select Board is the next progression of what I should be doing.”

Additional candidates

In addition to Barrett deciding against running for a third term and Connell pulling papers for Select Board, four incumbents pulled nomination papers for reelection last week.

School Committee member Tim Doyle pulled papers for a third straight three-year term on Friday, Jan. 8. He was re-elected to a second three-year term in 2018 after previously serving on the school board from 2000-2012.

“I view the restoration of full in-person learning in a safe and responsible manner as the most significant challenge of my tenure on the School Committee,” said Doyle in a statement. “I believe my vast experience will provide Superintendent Kristen Vogel, my fellow School Committee members and the community with valuable insight and wisdom needed to accomplish this objective. I look forward to this challenge and I hope the voters recognize that my involvement in this process, as well as the never-ending objective of providing students with an excellent learning experience will continue to be a benefit to the community.”

School Committeeman Phil McQueen pulled papers for a second three-year term on Thursday, Jan. 7. He was elected to his first term on the school board in April 2018.

“I am pleased to announce that I am running for a second term on the Lynnfield School Committee,” McQueen stated in an email sent to the Villager. “It seems incredible that three years have gone by since I first ran. In my time on the School Committee, I have dedicated myself to the students, educators and families of Lynnfield and humbly ask for your vote to continue the work we have started to move our school district towards even greater educational excellence. I am excited by all the upcoming opportunities in the Lynnfield school district from the expansion of the elementary schools through to an increased commitment to equity and anti-racism.

“I will continue to bring my 25 years of education experience as a teacher, an evaluator, a contract negotiator, a professional development trainer and a curriculum and assessment writer to the table to best serve the students, parents and education professionals of our community,” McQueen continued. “I am well versed in the current issues and concerns that face public education today and will continue to listen carefully to the concerns of all and work proactively to make our good school system even better. I am very much in the trenches as both a parent and an educator. As both a parent and an educator, I have a broad perspective on the issues and challenges faced daily in our schools and I know what the demands of modern education looks like from the inside out. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, concerns and thoughts you have about education in Lynnfield either through my Facebook page or mcqueenp@lynnfield.k12.ma.us.”

Town Moderator Joe Markey pulled papers for a third one-year term on Monday. He said several residents urged him to run for Select Board, but he decided against seeking the open seat.

“I believe that I can have the largest positive impact by continuing to conduct fair, open and efficient Town Meetings,” Markey stated in a Letter to the Editor. “I also pledge to continue to appoint only highly qualified individuals from Lynnfield as members of our Finance Committee to look out for the economic success of our community with sound thinking, action and accountability. Finally, I will continue to usher in more inclusive and efficient procedures to ensure that all voices are heard when making our critical town decisions.”

Library Trustee Russell Boekenkroeger also pulled papers for a third three-year term on Monday.

“I am running for my third term as a library trustee to ensure the continuity of safe library and imaginative services for Lynnfield, overcoming today’s challenges, continuing to respond to evolving needs and moving forward to be a part of the process to figure out achieving a prior town commitment for a sorely needed new library amidst exceptionally difficult times for the town,” Boekenkroeger stated in an email.

Planning Board Vice Chairman Michael Sheehan has the opportunity to run for a second five-year term. There is also a four-year term available on the Planning Board. Salem Street resident Anthony Guerriero was appointed to that seat last week.

Library Trustee Andrew Kenneally is eligible to run for a full three-year term this spring. He was elected to a one-year term last June.

Board of Assessors Chairman Donald Garrity is eligible to run for re-election once again. He was first elected to his seat in 2012.

If elected officials or other residents want to pull nomination papers, they should call the Town Clerk’s Office at 781-334-9400 in order to schedule an appointment to pick up papers. Candidates need to obtain 50 signatures in order to get their name on the ballot, but Town Clerk Linda Emerson urges candidates to get between 60 and 65 signatures.

The deadline to return nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s Office is by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

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