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I write this letter in support of Dave Swain in his re-election bid to the Board of Selectmen.

Town election day is Tuesday, May 3. Dave Swain has served the town of Shirley as a member of the Board of Selectmen for nine years. Prior to that, he served two terms on the Finance Board, one term as an elected Assessor. He also served as a member of the School Regionalization Study Committee, the Center Town Hall Committee, and the Joint Boards of Selectmen representing Shirley as a stakeholder for the Devens Enterprise Zone.

Mr. Swain has worked slowly, steadily, and effectively over the last nine years to maintain services for our town during a difficult nationwide economy, and has supported our school’s regionalization charter with the town of Ayer, providing for the first time in Shirley’s history, a kindergarten through Grade 12 total school structure. Choice-out numbers have steadily gone down, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars staying in our town budget.

Mr. Swain has supported the implementation and construction of a townwide sewer collection system, eliminating failed systems while protecting water resources, and allowing commercial buildouts, an example of which is Phoenix Park, which, without town sewage, would not exist. During Dave Swain’s tenure, and with the help of many others, Shirley’s first full service senior center has opened serving over 800 senior citizens in town. He has also overseen the very difficult task of combining positions and responsibilities within our Town Hall government offices.

Today, Shirley’s fiscal health is the best it has been in recent years. The requests for this year’s annual town meeting have been funded without the use of one-time fund sources and/or a Proposition 2 1/2 override proposal, and with a $15 million balanced budget, that is no small accomplishment!

Dave Swain is a friend of mine and as a member of the Board of Selectmen, has worked hard toward the fiscal strength and autonomy of our town. I say this frankly and candidly: Like all of us, he is not perfect; but he is dedicated, honest and hardworking. The recent discourse that has riled past town employees and town meeting voters, is in some cases, understandable and genuine.

The question before us all is: does Mr. Swain’s opponent, as a former Shirley selectman, truly have a record of accomplishment, cooperation, decorum, and effectiveness? When Mr. Swain’s opponent was a sitting selectman, he did not publicly support the regionalization effort or offer any suggestions on addressing the exodus of Shirley students.

Today, it is hard to argue that our school system is anything but more robust, more effective, and slowly but surely strengthening our community as a lifetime destination for hardworking families, with more and more Shirley students staying in the system.

Mr. Swain’s opponent, I believe, clearly has an agenda, which perhaps supports the replacement of our town administrator, and further supports the recall of the other two members of the board. Is this infighting and turmoil really what would be good and best for our town at this time? Mr. Swain and his colleagues on the Board of Selectmen have made some decisions that could have been done differently. But they, as a board, have also made many positive and constructive, and economically sound decisions, which our town is better off for today.

I believe Mr. Swain and his colleagues have heard the voters loud and clear. They can and will make adjustments as they move forward. For me, to replace Mr. Swain with his opponent, move towards a full recall, replace the town administrator, who is contracted, and start all over again with a search committee and a brand new individual, is not a path I support for our community. I believe it is counterproductive and regressive.

I ask you all to please strongly consider the total ramifications of not reelecting Mr. Swain. Please join me in a vote for a stronger Shirley; a vote for a continued path to fiscal independence; a vote for Dave Swain on Election Day.

Chip Guercio

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