HARWICH — There will be three candidates vying for the single open seat on the board of selectmen in the May 15 annual election, the only race on the ballot.
The third candidate, Steven J.F. Scannell, took out nomination papers last Thursday and they were returned and certified by the board of registrars on Monday. Selectman Jannell Brown, whose term expires in May, has decided not to seek re-election.
Scannell, 60, will join former selectman Ed McManus and Thomas Sherry, an electrical teacher at Upper Cape Regional Technical High School, who have already had their nomination papers certified.
Scannell grew up in Harwich and is a 1976 graduate of Harwich High School. He returned to Harwich last August after living in Hyannis.
But his experience in local government comes mostly from the 20 years he lived on Nantucket where he said he was active in boards of selectmen meetings and where he was elected and served on the shellfish and harbor advisory committee and on the harbor planning committee.
He said his biggest contribution was in marine trades and fisheries. “The nautical side is my strength and I think Harwich can move more into it,” he said.
Scannell wrote selectmen a letter earlier this month about development of the landside property at Saquatucket Harbor suggesting the highest and best use of the area would be for a “blue economy” – fisheries and eco-tourism – and establishing a marine technologies education program in the local schools. He suggested that Monomoy Regional School District students could run a “fine little foot-long shanty” and could also help to create a floating marine laboratory in the harbor.
Scannell has a YouTube program called The Scannell Agenda through which he espouses many of his ideas relating to local, national and international issues. He spoke of a fisheries management system that is known worldwide that he said he developed with “Fishfolk” sponsored by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fishfolk is a discussion venue for social scientists with interests in fisheries.
“I fancy myself as an amateur fisheries economist,” Scannell said.
Scannell spoke of his poundage-based allocations system for commercial and recreational fishermen which would have them pay for the fish they catch. He said harvest rights are tied to habitat carrying capacity. Fishermen want to catch fish for free and that has to stop, he said, adding fishermen were not happy about developing such a system.
Scannell said water, sanitation systems and biotechnology are of great interest to him. “Sewerage is dear to my heart. I design bio-treatment systems. But sewerage treatment plants are dinosaurs. We should be doing bio-treatment systems,” he said.
He said not enough money is being spent on bio-treatment systems, and regulations need to be changed to
allow more use of such system. Red maple trees, grasses and bamboo can be used for absorbing nitrogen. “Put the poop in the plant,” Scannell said.
Scannell is a high school graduate and has taken a number of environmental science courses at Cape Cod Community College, but does not have a degree. He said he has taught a graduate school-level seminar at the University of Rhode Island.
He referred to himself as a conservative and admitted he does not like development density, even as it relates to affordable housing. Scannell said he always fought against development density on Nantucket. Harwich has done a good job with the density issue, he said, adding his father was instrumental in zoning in Harwich many years ago.
His brother, the late David Scannell, was the director of assessing in Harwich and worked in the assessing department here for 34 years. Scannell works on boats at Pirate Adventure Tours in Dennis and lives in South Harwich with his wife, Pam.