Meet the candidates for Suffield Board of Selectmen and Board of Education
By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Wed., Oct. 16, 2013
The Suffield municipal elections on Nov. 5 promise a tightly-contested race between current First Selectman Ed McAnaney (R) and Tom Frenaye (D), a former first selectman.
Frenaye is vying to return to the seat he held from 2009 to 2011. According to Frenaye, during his tenure as first selectman, tax increases were the lowest they had been in the last 14 years. If elected, Frenaye says he would like to see town infrastructure modernized, including speeding up the work on local roads and the completion of the new agri-science building, along with repairs at Town Hall and Kent Memorial Library. Frenaye served on the Board of Finance, Zoning and Planning Commission and was the chairman for the Advisory Commission on Capital Expenditures.
McAnaney has been in the role of first selectman for the last two years. McAnaney would also like to focus on town infrastructure if elected to a second term. During his tenure, he went through the budget process, submitted a zero-increase budget and created a $600,000 non-taxable revenue for the town. This came in the form of $250,000 “in payment to the town for taking dirt to cap the open landfill cells, over $300,000 to the town for damage to the roads during the upgrading of the power lines as part of the Greater Springfield Reliability Project and the balance from the sale of recyclables,” said McAnaney. He served as the town attorney from May 1993 to November 2009. He also has a long career in the U.S. Navy.
On the Democratic ticket, running again for a selectman position is incumbent Brian Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has served as selectman for 12 years and his focus, if re-elected, is town roads and buildings. Also hoping to find a seat on the Board of Selectman is Mel Chafetz, co-founder and member of Suffield’s Juvenile Review Board and co-founder of Suffield’s Youth Services Commission. Chaftez says he would “like to improve our fiscal management so our tax dollars are used more efficiently and are not sitting in the bank.”
On the Republican ticket seeking votes for a position on the Board of Selectman are incumbents Timothy Reynolds and Joanne Sullivan. Reynolds has spent eight years as a selectman and five years on the Zoning and Planning Commission. Sullivan is a realtor who has is seeking to extend her stay on the board. She is a lifelong resident of Suffield, has 11 years of work on the Board of Finance on her resume, and was one of the founding members of the Suffield Chamber of Commerce.
Running on the Democratic ticket for the Board of Education are local educators Joe Hernick and Jason Qua.
Hernick has been the director of academic technology at Suffield Academy for the last seven years. Hernick also served in the U.S. Navy and has master’s degree in information technology.
Qua’s expertise comes from his 20-plus years as a high school teacher. He is currently the social studies curriculum coordinator for the Windsor Locks public schools. “As a father and as a teacher, I believe that education is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life, and with education come the keys to happiness, understanding, compassion and ultimately success, wherever your passion may lie.”
Republican candidates for the Board of Education include Robert Eccles, Natalie Semyanko, Jeanne Gee and Mary Roy.
Incumbent Eccles is the current Board of Education chairman and is a former member of the Advisory Commission on Capital Expenditures.
Semyanko is a newcomer. “I have regularly attended Board of Education meeting and have stayed informed on district issues,” she said. She is also an active volunteer in the Suffield schools, which her children attend. She has a degree in elementary education.
Incumbent Gee is running again for the Board of Education. She is a high school teacher and has served in numerous school-related volunteer roles in town. She is also the parent representative to the Board of Education.
Incumbent Roy is seeking to retain her position on the Board of Education. She is a retired teacher and business owner and has 12 years’ experience on the school board.