Selectmen update: Recognizing service of outgoing members, reorganizing the new board

by Beth Melo on May 22, 2019

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Above: Earlier this month, an outgoing selectmen was recognized for years of service to the Town. Last night, the board picked its new chair and really new vice chair. (images L-R cropped from SAM video and tweets by @17common)

Last night, the Board of Selectmen welcomed new members and reorganized its officers. But before I get to that, I need to recap a moment I missed earlier this month. It was a formal recognition for the service of outgoing members.

Goodbye to outgoing selectmen

May 7th was Bonnie Phaneuf’s final meeting as a selectman. It capped close to 14 combined years of service in that role over two stints (2002-11 and 2014-19).  (You can watch the recognition here.)

Chair Lisa Braccio acknowledged that Phaneuf was going to hate being the object of praise, but said it was well deserved. Braccio said they could never thank her enough for her service. She personally appreciated her mentorship.

State Representative Carolyn Dykema surprised Phaneuf by presenting her with citations from MA General Court and the State Senate her service and dedication to the community. Dykema cited Phaneuf’s years of advocacy for seniors, the disabled, and public safety. She also noted the Phaneuf’s long efforts to maintain and beautify the area of the All Wars Memorial to veterans.

Phanuef told the room that she previously lived in 26 different homes before making Southborough her home. Within months of her marriage, 49 years ago, she moved here to her husband’s hometown. When they built their home on Middle Road, they agreed never to uproot their children. Since then, she voted for very big projects, knowing that she’d have to pay for them but hoping others would benefit. That included the Southborough schools that her grandkids now attend.

The officials acknowledged the many hours that Phaneuf’s service had taken her away from her family. That was echoed in comments by her family.

Husband Peter Phaneuf told the board that they were losing a great selectman but he was getting back his wife. He followed that one of her grandchildren was happy that there were “No more meetings!” to take Nana away. Son Peter J. Phaneuf was looking forward to her phone not ringing endlessly off the hook.

He told the room that Phaneuf’s grandkids call her the Mayor of Southborough. He said he was very proud of both parents accomplishments for the Town. (Phaneuf’s husband is a retired Southborough Fire Chief.)

Later, her daughter Dr. Laura Bertonozzi tweeted:

Last night my mom participated in her last meeting as Selectwoman- 14 yrs of true advocacy. Thank you, mom, for your service to the @17common and for serving as my most cherished inspiration for what it means to be a true servant leader and a woman in leadership. #MAPoli #Nana

Selectmen also thanked absent fellow board member Brian Shifrin for his 1 1/2 year term of service. Braccio said that there were very few people who managed to change her mind and he was one of them. Referring to his struggle with ALS, she admired the dedication he still gave to the Town. Selectman Dan Kolenda said that anyone looking for a Profile in Courage could look to Shifrin and his family. 

Hello to new selectmen

Selectmen - May 2019 (tweeted by @17common)Last night Marty Healey and Sam Stivers participated in their first meeting as selectmen. It concluded with the board’s annual election of Chair and Vice Chair.

Braccio pointed out that by tradition, selectmen serve for at least one year to learn the ropes before becoming chair. She nominated the senior member who had the least recent term as Chair, Brian Shea. Kolenda seconded but adding the suggestion of Healey as Vice Chair. He pointed out that Healey had received a big share of the votes in the latest election. The duo were unanimously approved.

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