STOCKBRIDGE — Following Selectboard Chairman Charles Gillett's decision not to seek re-election, an active campaign season is shaping up, although no contested races have developed so far.
The only candidate to pick up nomination papers for Gillett's three-year seat is Planning Board member Donald M. Chabon, said Town Clerk Terri Iemolini. She is seeking re-election for another three-year term.
Major challenges in town government are just ahead, with a search for a successor to Town Administrator Jorja-Ann Marsden, who is retiring on July 15. Also facing the board will be the selection of a new police chief to replace Robert Eaton, who is leaving after two years to become chief in Townsend.
Gillett, winding up four years on the board, explained that his late wife Michelle's final illness was not a factor in his departure. He said he had decided to announce his intentions early because his plans might influence other potential candidates.
"I enjoyed serving but always realized it was a big time commitment," he said. "I just feel I'd like to devote more time to my real estate career."
Gillett also emphasized that "stressful moments" in town government did not influence his decision: "I feel that even though there can be disagreements — the Elm Court resort, policing in town, other subjects — people wanted to do the right thing and had a point of view."
He listed "particularly satisfying" accomplishments by the board during his tenure — the state's Green Community designation for the town through a $139,000 grant, the hiring of a new highway superintendent, police chief and fire chief, the approval of the special permit for the Elm Court project, and the upcoming Verizon celltower that will provide coverage downtown for residents, tourism and emergency services.
"I'm proud of those," he said, "and I'm also very excited about the shared services discussions we're having with Lee and Lenox. I think there will be areas where we can share personnel, services and equipment — there may be a possibility to share an administrator."
Candidates for two five-year slots on the Planning Board include incumbent Eugene Talbot and Gary M. Pitney. Incumbent Douglas M. Goudey has picked up nomination papers for another three years on the Board of Assessors.
Peter J. Socha is seeking another three years on the Sewer and Water Committee. Other candidates who have picked up nomination papers are Susanna L. Rogers for a three-year post on the Parks and Recreation Committee, and James R. Welch for five years on the Housing Authority.
No candidate has emerged yet for a three-year slot on the Board of Health.
The deadline for candidates to pick up nomination papers is March 25; the deadline to return papers to the town clerk with the required signatures of 25 registered town voters is 5 p.m. March 29.
The registration deadline to vote in the annual town election and town meeting is 8 p.m. April 26.
The annual town meeting is in the Town Offices gym at 6:30 p.m. May 16. The election is the next day, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Senior Center at the Town Offices.
Stockbridge has 1,643 registered voters.
Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.