Candidate Makes Unusual Withdrawal  
Thursday, April 14, 2011

I went to Webster Town Hall on March 29 to get an official list of candidates for town offices in the May 2 town election.

March 28 at 5 p.m. was the deadline to refile nomination papers with Town Clerk Robert T. Craver. The first filing with the Board of Registrars of Voters was on March 14.

“You’ll have to wait two more days,” said Mr. Craver, pointing to a clause in the election statute that gives candidates already double-filed time to withdraw. Others may file objections to a candidacy during the same timeframe. So, candidacies didn’t become official until 5 p.m. March 30. Some candidates, such as incumbent Jeffrey Duggan, former panelist Bob Miller and newcomer Les Stevens, all running for Board of Selectmen, had lawn signs out already, suggesting they weren’t going to withdraw.

Yeah, I knew about the withdrawal clause, but candidates never qualify with the registrars board, take pains to reaffirm intention with the clerk, and then pull out of a race, I hinted.

“Well, it happened just five minutes ago,” said Mr. Craver. Joseph S. Beresik, once an assessor, school committeeman, still a finance committee member, and a candidate for two offices several times, steered away from another twin bid. He had nomination papers for town treasurer and the Board of Assessors, but stepped back from the assessor board at overtime, apparently to concentrate on the treasurer’s post.

I can’t ascribe any motives to Mr. Beresik, except that the single race seems to make sense in this election, with a full-time office and four candidates in the mix. Also, the move seemed to set well with incumbent Assessor Mark D. Becker. He hasn’t had many walk-in victories.

Well, the list of double-certified, challenge-free candidates seems to make for some interesting races. Adding 10 days down time for publication of this column, we’re almost as close to the May 2 annual town election as draw back to the official ballot.

So, let’s go with a who-is-running-for-what list without getting into whose credentials might influence voters most.

This reads:

Board of Selectmen, two for three years: Jeffrey P. Duggan, and Deborah A. Keefe, incumbents; Robert J. Miller, and Leslie M. Stevens.

School Committee, two for three years: Joan Czechowski and Martina R. Gorski-Strong, incumbents; and Ted D. Geotis.

Town Treasurer, one for two years; Mr. Beresik, Julie J. Dell’Anna, Michael P. Dostoler, and Linda M. Slota. The winner will be elected to the two years remaining on the term of former treasurer Eleanor P. Doros, who retired some months ago.

Board of Health, one for three years, Loretta L. Scott-Walker and Steven M. Sutton. The incumbent is not seeking re-election.

Housing Authority, one for five years, James E. Avery, and Diane S. Hunter. Incumbent Edward W. Dowgiewicz is not running for re-election.

The free-ride group includes Town Collector Maryann C. McGeary, Assessor Becker, Public Library Trustees Jean M. Travis and Christine M. Ralph, and Finance Committee member Michael Finamore, all for three years.

No one registered for a second opening on the Finance Committee or for a five-year term on the Redevelopment Authority. Incumbent Shawn Collins made the redevelopment board his entry into public office. He was subsequently elected to the School Committee and remains a member of that body. Sticker or write-in candidates may develop for the open offices or, for that matter, any office on the ballot. Already, Joseph A. Gadbois of Lower Gore Road, with write-in victories for both open offices in recent times, declared, “I’m writing my name in for Redevelopment Committee.”

With 15 candidates seeking six offices on five boards and for treasurer, the turnout should trump returns for recent town elections. The trend has been dismal, causing some concern, says the town clerk. “There’s been talk of moving the town elections to a Tuesday,” he revealed, the logic being that federal and state elections are always on Tuesdays, and that Monday contests create a dichotomy of sorts.

Webster has five voting precincts with 11,393 voters. The division is 2,065 in precinct one, 2,112 in precinct two, 2,249 in precinct three, 2,770 in precinct four, and 2,197 in precinct five. At the same time, there are 5,037 nonvoters, for a grand total of 16,430 residents. State law says the annual street list should include the names of all residents age 17 and older.



Phil Casavant, just back from Florida, and Conrad Allen, planning a trip there, were in a Webster coffeeshop on a recent morning.

Mr. Casavant delivered greetings from a mutual friend, Walter Biadasz of Vero Beach, and Mr. Allen was about to visit one of our mutual friends, Don Teslof. So, friendship flowed to Honey Dew coffee cups and news carried from and to Florida.



Eugene “Joe” Cyr (remember Gene Cyr’s Hub Confectionery Store, and its Webster Fish and Chips Outlet) says he has a good supply of tomato seeds under glass and in the sun at his Webster dwelling.

He’ll have a garden full of plants once weather permits. You have to listen to Joe’s take on his summer yield to realize all of the tomato-related items he manages with his early start on seeds.



John Billis, bakery manager at the Webster Price Chopper supermarket, has to be one of the area’s most golf-conscious residents.

The talk recently was about an April Fools’ day snowstorm, but baker John left work a couple of days earlier, hopeful of getting in a round of golf.

Mr. Billis is looking forward to a golf outing late this month with a group of like-minded friends on Cape Cod.



Friend Russ Dowd, director of operations at Thompson International Speedway, says he’s looking forward to another successful season at the nearby Connecticut layout.

A good many hereabouts remember when Russ served as an on-air personality and manager for radio station WESO in Southbridge. He moderated the successful “Cracker Barrel” series. Mr. Dowd retains his distinctive radio voice and good-guy personality.
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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