NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 10, 2013

Three vie for one seat on Municipal Light Board

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall
Correspondent

---- — ROWLEY — The contested seat on the Municipal Light Board is sought by three candidates: Merle Phipps of Fenno Drive, Kevin Snow of Hillside Street and Robert Snow of Saunders Lane (note: the two Snows are not related).

The annual town election will be held Tuesday, with voting from noon to 8 p.m. at St. Mary’s Hall on Main Street.

Merle Phipps

Address: 18 Fenno Drive

Age: 86

Education: Associate’s degree from Northeastern University

Years as a resident in town: 37

Occupation: Retired machinist and mechanical technician; former electrician; two tours in the U.S. Navy in the Korean War and WWII

Past experience in town/school affairs: Was regular attendee at light board meetings for many years

Why do you seek a position on the town’s light board? I was prompted to run when others recommended I would be a good candidate for the office, and I’d also like to put my knowledge of the town to use for the better of the residents.

What would be your first goal on the board? To continue on the service of the board as has been done for many years, advising and overseeing the different boards, recommending the best alternatives for the town and providing guidance when needed.

Why should voters choose you? I am most certain that my focus on the town’s best interests and my detailed knowledge of the light board and its operations would prove beneficial to its achieving its goals. Additionally, I have the benefit of having plenty of time to devote to the position and the meetings and committees that might be required.

Kevin Snow

Address: 82 Hillside St.

Age: 40

Education: A.S. in electric power technology, Bismarck State College

Years as a resident in town: 9

Occupation: Line foreman, Marblehead Municipal Light Department

Past experience in town/school affairs: I sought an appointment to a vacated position on the Light Commission in September 2011

Why do you seek a position on the town’s light board? One reason: I feel that more people of my generation need to step up and take care of our communities. Too often it seems that no one is willing to step up and take a swing at municipal office, and we are left with a pool of perennial candidates. My knowledge of the public power industry gives me a skill set that residents can benefit from.

What would be your first goal on the board? I don’t have a singular goal to promote. The current general manager has reduced the Purchased Power Agreement rate since being hired, resulting in savings for residents. There are some issues that do need to be resolved, such as the future of the Daniels Road property owned by the RMLD, some financial discrepancies during the tenure of the previous general managers and contract negotiations with a proposed solar generation facility in town. I would like to see a return to commission meetings being held at an appropriate time so that residents may attend.

Why should voters choose you? Two reasons: First, I’m a newcomer to the political field here, which is a plus in my opinion. As a commissioner I would be the elected voice for the residents of Rowley. Secondly, my background in the Municipal Electric Utilities gives me specialized knowledge regarding how the RMLP, or any other municipal utility, should be operated.

Bob Snow

Address: 7 Saunders Lane

Age: 63

Education: Bachelor’s degree in management from Lesley University

Years as a resident in town: 14

Occupation: Retired/selectman, 40 years telecommunications/engineering and management; veteran - U.S.M.C

Past experience in town/school affairs: Chairman Board of Selectmen (2010 to present); selectmen (2008-2010); clerk and vice chair; Planning Board (2006-2008) both alternate and elected; treasurer for the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (2006-present)

Why do you seek a position on the town’s light board? I have 40 years of experience in the telecommunications industry in both engineering and management that I bring to the table; this knowledge, along with the skills I have acquired serving in government, make me a strong candidate for this position.

What would be your first goal on the board? My first goal is to have all RMLP meetings held at night and televised live so that the people can come to meetings and voice their concerns. The current meetings are scheduled at 10 a.m. on a weekday morning. The citizens of Rowley should have the right to come to a meeting without having to take a day off to speak to their elected officials.

Why should voters choose you? Four reasons: 40 years of experience in the telecommunications business in both engineering and management; much knowledge of town bylaws and protocol during service on the Planning Board and currently as a selectmen; my position on the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, which has been a strong networking opportunity with our surrounding communities; and the biggest reason would be trust, integrity and a desire to serve our town.