SHIRLEY — The Board of Selectmen’s race that, until recently, was shaping up to be a four-man competition is down to two contenders: former police chief Enrico Cappucci and Finance Committee member Michael Swanton. Both are vying for a single seat on the three-member board.
Selectman Charles Shultz, whose three-year term expires this year, has notified Town Clerk Amy McDougall that he doesn’t plan to run for re-election.
Shultz, who was elected to a one-year, unexpired term after Ellen Doiron stepped down in 2000, was subsequently elected to full three-year terms in 2001 and 2004.
Now it’s time for someone else to take over, he said. Still, Shultz took out nomination papers in January.
“I was still debating it,” he said. He made up his mind after Swanton filed nomination papers.
“I think he’s qualified” and would make a good selectman, he said.
Asked what motivated him to run seven years ago, Shultz said he thought he could be a balancing force, joining Kyle Keady and Leonardo “Chip” Guercio on the three-member board. Previously, he’d served on the Conservation Commission, Planning Board and Sewer Commission.
“It was a natural step,” he said.
When the last of his four children goes off to college next year, Shultz and his wife, Joyce, will be empty-nesters, rattling around in the big house he built for seven people, including his dad, Charles Shultz Sr., who recently passed away. It’s time to downsize, and the Shultzes are planning to move, but for now, he said he’s looking forward to some free time and an upcoming vacation.
He plans to stay on the Recreation Fields Committee, which he’s served on for two years.
A major accomplishment during his tenure was the construction of the new middle school, which, at over $16 million, has become the town’s biggest project to date and took several years to complete. Shultz represented the selectmen on the School Building Committee during the building’s construction.
It was a balancing act, he said, coming up with a plan the School Department could live with and voters would pay for. With oversight from many people and additional trade insight from Shultz, who is a builder, the job got done.
An override to pay for the project was defeated the first time, said Shultz.
A factor that made the difference the second time around was an infusion of MCI funds that allowed the bottom line to be whittled down to an acceptable number. Without that money to bridge the gap, he said the school might never have been built.
If he has a pet peeve about his time in politics, Shultz said it’s that people don’t come to the meetings on subjects that will come up at town meeting.
Take the March 5 public hearing on the storm-water bylaw, for example. Just about the only people who showed up for that were board members, Conservation Commission administrator Ann Gagnon and Department of Public Works Director Joseph Lynch, he said.
Some voters come to town meeting without information or with misinformation fueled by rumors, he said, and they question things they could have educated themselves about but chose not to.
“That’s about the worst of it,” he said.
Otherwise, most of his time on the board has been relatively sanguine. People call him at home sometimes, but not that much, and he said he doesn’t mind.
One disappointment is that he never got a plan to build a senior center off the ground, he said, though he did manage to secure a half-acre behind the police station that might be used for the purpose someday.
“Who knows? It may happen,” he said.