Ballantine And Howell
At last week's Harwich Town Meeting, outgoing Selectmen Peter Hughes and Angelo LaMantia were recognized for their combined 24 years of public service to Harwich. With their departure there will be a major absence of experience on the board. The three remaining selectmen – Michael MacAskill, Jannell Brown and Julie Kavanagh – have a total of five years of service on the board and a limited amount of time serving on other town boards and committees.
Experience is an important ingredient in governing a municipality. Harwich is fortunate to have a seasoned town administrator who can assist these neophyte selectmen, but there is nothing like hands-on experience to guide the executive branch, especially when facing very expensive projects, such as wastewater.
Candidate Larry Ballantine has been here before. He served on the board of selectmen for six years before deciding he needed a breather in 2015, choosing not to run for re-election. Ballantine said he is now rested and ready to return to the board. He also brings to the board a great deal of experience on wastewater issues. He has a doctorate in chemistry, has served on the conservation commission and on the Pleasant Bay Alliance steering committee, and he has been a longtime member of the Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative. “I think I can bring expertise into it and help in the decision-making process,” Ballantine told The Chronicle of his understanding of wastewater issues facing the community. With the board losing the two members who have been most hands-on with the town's comprehensive wastewater management plan – Hughes and LaMantia – Ballantine can best serve to fill that void.
Candidate Donald Howell has also had experience as a selectman, serving two terms from 2001 to 2006. He has served on the planning board and is presently the chairman of the bylaw/charter review committee. He has been active in trying to address affordable housing issues in the community while serving as a member of the board of directors of Harwich Ecumenical Council for Housing over the past 15 years. His knowledge of how government functions would also be beneficial to the younger members on the board. We also give him the nod.
We have watched candidate Rob Mador on the conservation commission and he is thoughtful and respectful. We have seen how he can take charge of a concept and grow it to benefit a large audience. He is co-founder of Bridges for The Fallen, the national organization which works to name bridges in honor of fallen members of the armed forces. We were impressed with his efforts in accomplishing that goal for Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Ralph Wallace Burns in Harwich and how his project has now spread across the country. Local government experience is critical now; in time, with more experience under his belt, Mador will make a fine selectman.