Election Update: Potential race for Selectman; papers pulled for Board of Health

by beth on March 11, 2021

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Yesterday morning, I highlighted two critical issues relate to this spring’s Town Election. Both changed as of last night. So, it’s already time for an update.

The Town Clerk’s daily update shows that two new candidates pulled papers yesterday:

  • Mark Edward Pietrewicz pulled papers for the seat on the Board of Health. (Yesterday, I highlighted that the incumbent isn’t running for re-election and no one had pulled papers.)
  • Andrew R. Dennington II pulled papers for the Board of Selectmen. Selectman Brian Shea previously pulled papers to run for re-election. The potential race is the first one to pop up. (Yesterday, I highlighted that voters weren’t yet being offered any choices on the ballot.)

Of course, pulling papers isn’t the same as running. Any of the three above candidates (or others I shared yesterday) could choose not to go through with filing papers. (Moderator Paul Cimino is still the only candidate to have taken that step.)

Again, the deadline for pulling papers is in ten days.

If you are thinking of throwing your hat in the ring for an elected position in Town Government, check out yesterday’s post for more details. (Or, if you’re thinking of just dipping your toe in Town politics, you could read my recent post on vacancies for appointed positions in Town Government.)

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dennington? March 14, 2021 at 6:24 PM

Denningtin was one of the key problems with Park Central. He continuously argued for use variances at town meeting well knowing the devastating impact to residents. Denningtin worked with town counsel behind the backs of citizens to change bylaws of quorum to 3 people.

This is not a person you want actually in charge of things. Who knows what types of back room deals this person is capable of. Southboro needs transparency. The BOS is moving in the right direction. Please remember the people who created these divides and issues. Denningtin is one of them.


2 beth March 15, 2021 at 9:51 AM

I’m concerned that your post may be misleading to some who don’t know all the details of the issues you refer to. So, I’m providing some clarifications:

Dennington’s public arguments in favor of keeping ZBA’s ability to issue Use Variances were after the project was already approved. The proponents of the Article argued that removing the ZBA’s ability to grant Use Variances would avoid a repeat of a situation like Park Central’s townhouse development in the future. It wasn’t a vote on allowing the Park Central development to occur.

In the actual hearings for the Park Central Use Variance, Dennington voted against approval, but was outvoted. Once the variance was approved, he then voted with the board on the project’s stipulations. (He wasn’t among the members who oversaw the 40B hearings and decisions.)

As for the quorum issue, Dennington was among the Town officials accused by some residents of wrongly making changes to the ZBA quorum in the Town Code. They defended that 3 person quorum already existed under ZBA regulations but an outdated section of the posted Town Code was causing confusion. It’s too complicated for me to succinctly summarized both sides’ arguments, so I’ll point readers who want more context to two prior posts related to the issue.

I covered the Town’s response to the allegations here. I covered public arguments at Town Meeting over ZBA quorum issues here.


3 Dennington? March 15, 2021 at 11:27 AM

Thanks Beth. He didn’t vote against Park Central and did a lot of lobbying and work on behalf of the developers side. As for voting against the use variance- he voted against approving it the night it surfaced because it referred to an agreement with neighbors that was amazingly not available to the board or public. Our then Chair Bartolini (I’m sure he forgets all of this)at the direction of town counsel still swindled a vote to close public hearing and approve. Dennington was not against the variance he just knew that this was a very shady deal beyond what even he was comfortable with that was being done. He continued to support park central at every turn as part of the zba and later chair and ignored concerns of improper management, safety and citizens concerns. This is not someone that citizens should support for BOS it will further divide the town.

He supported variances for both PC and moving forward disregarding the concerns and voice of citizens. Thank you!


4 Petunia March 15, 2021 at 1:36 PM

Your reckless, unfounded accusations are irresponsible. The snide comments about what should be a private matter for a past public servant are equally irresponsible and rude. I understand why you are posting anonymously. Understand the difference between disregard and disagree.


5 No Thanks March 15, 2021 at 6:37 PM

Petunia, you are posting anonymously. Why are you criticizing the previous commenter? Is the irony lost on you? As well as supporting facts? Dennington, in the opinion of many, reached the last straw when he submitted an affidavit to the court on a matter that was before the ZBA, whether he voted to approve same or not. He dominated town meeting comments by popping up multiple times, as unfairly allowed by Cimino (who has his own baggage as former BOS and behind the scenes machinations on this project, including a north south roadway favoring the developer through private land, unbelievable.). Dennington hogs the floor while taxpayers are left muted at the microphone with Cimino cutting off comments, again while Dennington speaks three times. Who do these guys think they are kidding. Have had enough of this lack of transparency and agenda pushing. The developer’s attorney, Catanzaro, offered Dennington business. Conflict of interest? Appearance of conflict of interest?


6 Conflicts of Interest March 16, 2021 at 2:28 PM

Thank you for pointing out a problem that seems pervasive in this town. It doesn’t take long to see if you watch any of the town committee meetings. Case in point – Downtown Initiative, EDC members, and hired consultants – potential conflicts of interest with real estate attorneys and others with day jobs directly linked to developers. One BOS member admitted at a recent BOS meeting to trolling town census records by profession for such “experts” that might be recruited for appointment on these committees. Is it any wonder you have conflicts of interest? Dennington appears to be more of the same and even his input on Advisory Committee should be suspect.


7 Longtime Observer March 16, 2021 at 4:00 PM

I have no opinion of Dennington. I will research all candidates who run and form an opinion based on what I find.

What follows regards this issue of anonymity in threads like these…

As has been discussed ad nauseum, we all have the right to comment anonymously in this forum. However, I suggest that there is an ethical difference between people replying to each other anonymously in the threads or an anonymous user sharing general opinions… as compared to a user hiding behind anonymity to make specific accusations against a named, absent person.

Worse, in this case, the anonymous user making the accusations against the named, absent individual is actually masquerading as that individual, probably as a dog whistle.

Again, I have no informed opinion of Dennington. I will do my own research. However, I will share that I am skeptical that there is anything wrong with him; the unethical tactics used by those disparaging him here have the unintentional effect of generating some sympathy for the man, where I would otherwise have not considered that aspect.


8 No Thanks March 16, 2021 at 10:18 PM

Longtime observer, you are confused and your own judgmental comments about commenting anonymously while commenting anonymously is illogical and nonsensical. Most comments on this blog are anonymous and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Who are you to throw stones?

The opinions and statements of fact on this blog string are not accusations. For example, commenting on the fact that a developer’s attorney, offered business to Dennington, who was serving on the ZBA is a straight up fact. Not an “accusation.” It happened. No one has to conform to your own opinions about offering comments and opinions based on ones own observations and experiences. Your logic is contorted, twisted, and overreaching. But you are entitled to it. Those who experienced bad and costly consequences as a result of Dennington’s faulty logic, off legal arguments, and his own decisions are not unethical. Voters have a choice. They don’t have to agree with you or him. Based on years of observation, he and those like him in this town government absolutely do not have my support. Those who have experienced same have a perfect right to demand better judgement, performance, and candidates. You can’t expect people to vote for anyone who does not respect the opinions and voices of those very persons who have been hurt by his decisions and do not share the same views at all. PS—-lots of Longtime Observers, including myself, share these same opinions. You are not the only Longtime Observer.

9 No Thanks March 15, 2021 at 1:13 PM

Agree with the resident’s comments above and observed much of the same. Dennington actually tried to call a vote for a position against Planning Board for constructive approval of Park Central until it was called out that this was not legally sound or supported as a matter of law and procedure. He also played an active, over the weekend role, in trying to tank the ZBA quorum requirement, along with town counsel. His affidavit on same was drafted and submitted by the developer’s attorney. A town official’s affidavit submitted by the developer’s attorney. Stop and think about that. WTH. The taxpayers are paying for this bullshit. The quorum requirement, which makes it harder to stack a board, was overwhelmingly restored by town voters who have had enough of this bullshit. What happened to Dennington’s affidavit? It was thrown out, rejected for exceeding its legal authority and being rife with legal conclusion. Regardless, the voters restored the anti corruption quorum requirement. It is now part of town bylaw permanently. So, BTW, who comes along and offers Dennington business? Catanzaro. The developer’s attorney. Talk about appearance of conflict of interest? No way supporting any of this grade a baloney. Absolutely fed up with conflicts of interest and appearances of same. For those who have them, make it easier on everyone and stay in the private sector.

Most town governments aspire to no conflicts, no baggage, no pre-existing relationships or biases. This town needs new professionals, new blood, new ideas. Not supporting any good ole boys and their crummy network. This town can do better and will do better.


10 Brian Shea March 22, 2021 at 5:16 PM

After much consideration, I have decided against running for re-election to the Board of Selectmen and will not be returning my nomination papers. After 6 years on the Board and 6 prior to that on the Advisory Committee, it is time for a much-needed break.

My thanks to my fellow board members with whom I have served, and to Mr. Purple, Ms. Hale, our department heads and Town employees. Our town is well served by each of you, and I appreciate your professionalism, your dedication to service, and the support that you have offered to me.

Special thanks to my family for your love and support.

The past several years have resulted in positive changes to our Town for which there was broad based support, and I am honored to have played a part.


11 Jessica Devine March 22, 2021 at 7:53 PM

Brian, thank you for all your service to our town. Enjoy your well-deserved break!


12 paul butka March 23, 2021 at 7:56 AM

Thanks for your years of service, Brian. Your level headed approach to one issue after another was noted and appreciated … your contributions will be missed.


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