Wilson: It's The Right Time To Place Greater Focus On My Family
Feb 11, 2015 06:01PM ● Published by Bill Gilman
"This was the right time for me and the right time for my family," said Wilson, who became the first African-American to serve on the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen when he was elected in 2009. Later, he would serve one term as board chairman.
"We've got two (children) in high school now and this is an important time for me to be as focused an involved as I can be."
Wilson had taken nomination papers from the Town Clerk's office last month, sating he wanted to keep his options open. But those papers were never turned in. Wilson's decision not to enter the race leaves just two uncontested candidates in the race for two seats on the Board of Selectmen.
"I'm sad to see Scott leave the Board," said incumbent David Gay, who is seeking re-election in the April Election. "He was very valuable to the board. I think he had some great input and some great ideas.
Unless something changed dramatically by Feb. 23 (the deadline for returning nomination papers), Gay will enjoy a free pass to a three-year term ob the board, as will challenger Mark Kratman.
"I think Mark will be a great addition to the board," said Gay. "He's served for some time on the Patriotic Activities Committee. He works for the Mass (Department of Transportation). I think he will be a good fit on the team."
Wilson agreed with that assessment and said Kratman seems toi have the right temperament for the job.
"I've known Mark about two years. He's smart and he's even tempered," said Wilson. "I think he'll be a great addition."
Kratman was surprised to hear the news Wilson would not be running and lauded his service to the community.
"Scott's given a lot to the town," he said. "He's always out, running around, doing something. He deserves a chance to get a rest."
Wilson's tenure on the Board of Selectmen has been eventful. The board has hired a new town manager, who, in turn, hired a new library director, new senior center director, new veterans services agent, new assessor, a new fire chief and new treasurer/Collector. A new high school has been built, as has a refurbished playground. There was the Recreation Department scandal and contentious battles over water and sewer rates, the Town Charter and a proposed slots parlor.
In each occasion, Wilson put himself out there as a lightning rod, defending the town and the Town Manager and showing a wilinglness to engage residents on any topic.
"n Scott's tenure he proved to be a quick study, steady advocate, and reliable colleague. He selflessly volunteered to get involved with some difficult issues along the way and our community was made better for his efforts as debate and civil disagreement is what makes democracy work," said Board Chairman Todd Johnson. "Scott will be missed on our board and I believe time will prove that he leaves a solid record as his legacy. "
There has also been the establishment of the Farmer's Market, the Fall Harvest Fair and twice-yearly Town Beautification Days.
But what stand out as his biggest source of pride?
"Definitely hiring Richard Montuori as Town Manager," he said. "He's overseen so many positive changes. As long as Richard is town manager, this town will be going in the right direction."
Selectman Jim Wentworth is a longtime friend of Wilson and ran his two successful campaigns for selectman.
"When Scott mentioned that he wasn’t going to be running again, I thought it was a big loss. Certainly with him being one of my closest friends, I’m disappointed that we won’t be able to work together as Selectmen anymore," said Wentworth. "But this is a bigger loss for the Town of Tewksbury. Scott cares for this community a great deal and provided a tremendous amount of time and energy over the years that he served."
Bruce Panalaitis, the newest member of the board, said Wilson has shown the ability to treat people with respect even if they stand on the opposite side of an issue.
"(Scott) has dedicated a great deal of time and effort to try to make Tewksbury a better place, and that effort shouldn't go unrecognized," he said. "Whether you agreed with him on an issue or not, you could always count on a respectful and reasoned debate. I hope he continues to stay involved after taking a much deserved break."
Wilson said he absolutely plans to remain active in town affairs, especially as relates to the Town Center Master Plan and the Town Beautification Committee.