By Chris Maza
WILBRAHAM – Stephen Bacon thinks the town is doing the right thing in looking to its future and wants to be an active part of that process.
That’s one of the reasons why he is running for selectman in the May 17 Annual Town Election in a race that also features Finance Committee Chair Susan Bunnell, Water Commissioner Mary McCarthy and Broadband Committee Chair William Caruana.
“The town has started down the road of looking to the future,” he said. “When I grew up, we had one telephone in the house, three TV channels to pick from and your house was heated by oil. Now it’s 300 channels and we need to move into that world and making sure we’re well-situated for it.”
Bacon, who has been a resident since he attended elementary school in town, is a technical systems consultant risk analyst for Massachusetts Mutual Insurance Company.
While he has volunteered in the operation of the former Peach Festival and a youth sports coach, this race is Bacon’s first foray into town politics.
“I looked at what was going on with the town and felt it was time to get involved and move things forward a little bit,” he said. “[Board of Selectmen Chair] Jim Thompson did a great job for this town for a great many years and I’d like to maybe continue that as best I could.”
Bacon specifically pointed to the potential development of a photovoltaic array on the land of the Llewellyn Merrick Trust near the corner of Tinkham Road and Main Street and efforts to create the possibility for broadband service in town as two major advancements he would like to see go forward.
While looking forward to technological upgrades for the town, Bacon also said the municipal buildings needed to be assessed, starting with the police station.
“I think it’s important that we upgrade that infrastructure. That facility is the oldest facility in town and I would like to be involved in that improvement,” he said. “I think we need to take a long hard look at all of the other facilities we own as well – the DPW [Department of Public Works], Town Hall, what we’re going to do with Memorial School. These are all things that we should bring to the forefront and figure out what we’re going to do with them. These are buildings in need of upgrade or replacement, I’m not sure which, but that’s something we would need to study.”
While possessing no prior experience in municipal finance, Bacon said he was confident in his ability to be an active participant in the formation of the town’s annual budget.
“From a municipal perspective, I have no experience, but I have spent 28 years with a Fortune 500 corporation, leading teams and dealing with budgets,” he said. “The big key is collaboration and getting people to work together and keep things under budget and ahead of schedule.”
Addressing collaboration, Bacon said he looked forward to working with selectmen Robert Boilard and Robert Russell.
“I can’t imagine there would be any confrontational problems,” he said. “My working style is not one of confrontation; it’s always been one where I look for the best way to get done what needs to get done, collaborate and figure it out.”