Close selectman's race goes to incumbent
By Courtney Llewellyn
Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM The only race in the town elections for 2009 was a close one. Incumbent Patrick Brady edged out challenger Will Caruana by 35 votes to keep his seat on the Board of Selectmen.
"I was surprised by how few people came out to vote," Brady said. He received 457 votes in the May 16 elections; Caruana received 422. Approximately 8.6 percent of the town's registered voters cast ballots.
"There's a very important vote coming up in October for our new high school," Brady continued. "Hopefully this election served as a wake up call for Wilbraham voters."
The voters who did turn out for the election were making a choice between Brady's experience and Caruana's enthusiasm. The latter is a 20-year-old college student.
"I'm not that disappointed [that I lost], but I am disappointed," Caruana told Reminder Publications. "A lot of people want me to run again." He said that while is he considering doing so, he needs to figure out what he's doing with his life first, in both the academic and career arenas.
"Will was the first one to call me with the results [of the election]," Brady said. "He congratulated me. He flattered me as an opponent. Once the dust settles, I'd definitely find another place for him [in government]."
Caruana said he is interested in joining other boards in town, especially the Finance Committee, the Capital Planning Committee and the Planning Board.
The Springfield Technical Community College student stated he learned more about the town in the last four months of campaigning than he did by living in Wilbraham his entire life. "It really made me say, 'Why is it this way and how can it get better?' I will continue being involved."
Brady said the biggest lesson he learned in his first term as a selectman was the importance of volunteers in Wilbraham.
"There are nearly two dozen committees," he commented. "They [the volunteers on those committees] really shape the town."
Brady is optimistic about the future of the town and its economy. "In my experience, recessions run about 18 months," he said, "and we're bumping up against 18 months now. We're starting to see bright spots."
He noted that the most difficult part of his second three-year term will be dealing with state aid cuts to the town. "It's hard to craft a budget with such a wide range of possibilities," Brady stated. "It's going to take cooperation from all department heads and elected officials to get through this. If we can't move the needle on the revenue side, we need to manage on the cost side."
Re-elected by voters were Beverly Litchfield as Town Clerk; Anthony Scibelli as Moderator; Lawrence LaBarbera as Assessor; William Bickely Jr. and Gilles Turcotte to the Hampden/Wilbraham Regional School Committee; Richard Swain as Tree Warden; Donald Bourcier as Cemetery Commissioner; James Dunbar as Water Commissioner; Jean Canosa-Albano and Justin McCarthy as Library Trustees; and Adam Basch and Dean Stroshine to the Planning Board.
Residents are reminded that the Annual Town Meeting vote on the town's fiscal year 2010 budget will take place June 15 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Minnechaug Regional High School.