OTIS — This year’s town election has a competitive race for the Board of Selectmen. Incumbent Therese Gould, who is seeking re-election to her three-year position, is being challenged by Susan Bauer-Brofman, who is seeking change in town politics.

Susan Bauer-Brofman

“I’m the candidate that’s looking more towards the future rather than just working on the status quo,” said Brofman. “I know Terry. I like her very much. I just feel it’s time for change.”

Susan Bauer-Brofman.
Reminder Publishing submitted photo

A Bliven Road resident, Brofman moved to Otis six years ago, though she had spent her summers in the Berkshires in the 1970s. Her family loves the outdoors, and her children ski at Butternut.

In those six years, she has been on the Otis library board, where she helped secure a grant for a new library, and the committee amending the regional agreement for the Farmington River Regional School District. She is also a founder of Diverse Otis, which aims to make the town welcoming and inclusive for all.

A former lawyer, Brofman said her best skills are negotiating, compromising, and working with and listening to people. She doesn’t believe the proposed Town Annex is a good idea, because she’d prefer one, all-encompassing town improvement project where the townspeople say what they want, then the town looks for financing for it.

“I don’t think it can be done piecemeal,” she said. “There needs to be a plan for the whole town and I think the townspeople need to be involved in that.”

She especially wants something done about the deteriorating buildings in town, which she believes discourage people from moving there.

Brofman said she can’t promise anything. But, she does promise to listen to the people.

“I will listen to the people, meet with the people, form committees to try and work on the changes the town needs, just do my best to make some of those changes a reality,” she said.

Therese Gould

A Pine Road resident, Gould moved to Otis from suburban Connecticut in 1980 and raised her five children in town. After her kids left home, she joined a committee to edit and revamp the town’s bylaws, followed by the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Finance Committee. She won her first selectman term in 2021 and is hoping for another.

Therese Gould.
Reminder Publishing submitted photo

“I hope that they like the work that I’ve done and that I’d like to continue to do for the town,” she said. “I hope they see me as a positive influence and a fair influence to everybody.”

In her next term, she wants to continue work on the regional school agreement, the proposed Town Hall annex, the new library and the day-to-day work of the board, like hammering out the budget.

“Trying to stay fiscally responsible for the taxpayers of town, that’s an important thing,” she said.

She is proud of the selectmen’s work on a shared police chief between Otis and Becket for both of their full-time police forces. The decision, which she described as “just crackerjacks for both towns,” was made because recent regulations have made having separate police chiefs too expensive, she said.

She is also proud of the Highway Department’s paving, bridge work and culvert work, and of the “gym area” it installed at the Otis Town Beach.

Her ultimate goal? Health and safety.

“My ultimate goal has always been public health and safety for our town, to provide cultural enrichment to all members of our community of all ages, and to ensure that our children are properly educated,” she said.

How to vote

Otis’s town election will take place Tuesday, May 28, at the Town Hall gym, 1 N. Main Rd.. Polling hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mail-in voting and mail-in absentee ballots are available; voters must apply for them by 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 21. Voters must apply for an in-person absentee ballot by 5 p.m. Friday, May 24.

Voters can find applications for both at townofotisma.com/boards/electionsboard-of-registrars. Those with questions can contact Town Clerk Lyn O’Brien between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays at 413-269-0100, ext. 112.

Moderator David Sarnacki, tree warden John “Jack” Conboy, Finance Board member Jill Moretz and Library Trustee James Adams will all be running for reelection to their seats. Stacey Schultze will be running for Carol Lombardo’s three-year School Committee seat, but she will not be competing with incumbent Philip Magovern, as he will be running for his own seat, too.

No one was nominated in the caucus for Kristen Brown’s three-year cemetery commissioner seat, nor Rona Knight’s five-year Planning Board seat. Both positions are open for write-in candidates.

Besides the nominees, there will be a debt exclusion question on the ballot, related to a proposed Town Hall annex, which will provide space for the police department and community events. To pass, the debt exclusion needs to be approved both at the ballot box and at Town Meeting.

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