North Adams School Committee candidate wanted to stop running, but won anyway. Now he's decided to take the seat

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NORTH ADAMS — James Holmes didn't plan on getting elected to the North Adams School Committee, but now he says he'll accept the role.

"I was shocked," he said of the election results.

After submitting nomination papers and intending to run for one of three open seats on the committee, the retired teacher had notified the city clerk that he wouldn't be able to serve and wished to have his name removed from the ballot.

But by then, the ballots had been printed and it was too late, according to City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau.

Despite not actively campaigning or seeking the election, Holmes, who taught in North Adams Public Schools for 20 years, finished with 1,660 votes, second only to incumbent Heather Putnam Boulger. Ian Bergeron was the third and final candidate to win a seat.

Holmes notified the city clerk Thursday morning that he had reconsidered and would be sworn in with the rest of the city's elected officials on New Year's Day.

"I'm going to do my best to make it work," the former science teacher told The Eagle on Thursday.

After spending so many years in the classroom, Holmes said he is curious to see how things work from the School Committee's perspective.

"It wasn't really a job, it was fun, and I enjoyed it the whole time," Holmes said of his teaching career.

Holmes has long been a visible member of the community and helped organize the Running with the Law program with North Adams police last year.

"I've always been committed to North Adams, and it's the only place I want to be," Holmes said.

Had Holmes not accepted his seat, the School Committee and City Council would have had to meet jointly to vote on a replacement, according to Gomeau.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter and 413-496-6376


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