Malouin seeks return to Selectboard in Phillipston

  • MALOUIN

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 2/18/2021 1:41:10 PM
Modified: 2/18/2021 1:41:08 PM

PHILLIPSTON — Bernard Malouin, who previously served two terms on the town’s Selectboard, is seeking a return to that panel in the special election which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 25. He is being opposed by Thomas Daoust in the race to fill the vacancy created by the resignation last November of former Selectboard member Kim Pratt. The victor will have to run again in May to fill out the remainder of the term.

Malouin, 64, grew up in Leominster and after graduating from high school entered the National Guard.

“I did my time, and when I got out of the service, I started doing light remodeling,” he said. “Then I grew into a general building contractor, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

Malouin said that, at one time, he had 17 employees. Some of his bigger projects included building and remodeling McDonald’s restaurants.

“That’s why I had a crew,” he said. “I did work on Leominster stores, the original John Fitch (Highway) store in Fitchburg — remember, with the golden arches? — Gardner, Athol.”

He moved to Phillipston in 1989, saying he preferred the atmosphere of a small town to that of the city.

Malouin, who has been a member of the Planning Board for nearly 20 years and currently serves as chair, said his main motivation for running for Selectboard is to promote unity of purpose in Phillipston.

“It looks like the people presently operating the town,” he explained, “they need some help and guidance and experience. It seems like they’re not sure in which direction to go. There’s a lot of misdirection, I guess you’d call it, and I hope to bring people together.

“I think they’re good people, the selectmen that are there; I don’t have a problem with either one of them. I think they’re OK. I just think they lack a little experience. At least, that’s what it seems like to me. I’ll know better if I get in and start asking some questions about how we got where we are, and how are we going to fix it? How do we get people working together instead of arguing?”

Malouin, who served on the Selectboard from 2007 to 2013, said he’s concerned about the morale of town employees.

“I think that’s certainly one of the issues,” he continued. “Everybody seems to not know the direction to go in. Instead of working together, there’s more arguing than solving the issues at hand.”

He said the town should also reassess the position of town Chief Administrative Officer, the post currently held by Kevin Flynn.

“I think we should consider all options,” he said. “I think we should look at all possible positions and see which is best suited for Phillipston. I don’t want to express an opinion before we look at the thing more closely, but we should look at it.”

He said he also wants to look at contracts that have been inked with other town employees.

“Were they boiler plate contracts and agreements? I would look at everything before I made a decision and then do whatever I believe to be best for the town.”

Asked if he would consider stepping down from his seat on the Planning Board, Malouin said, “That’s a good question, because that’s a question that I’m dealing with personally. I’m lucky where I am in life — my age. I have the time to give to these things.

“Having served as Selectman before, I know what’s involved to some degree. I think sometimes people get elected and take on more than they need to. I think that could be an issue with any position in town. There may be too much that one person is trying to do.

“Sometimes, when we try to do too much, we get nothing done. I’m not knocking anybody. But if you talk to people in all the different departments, and someone has a problem with another individual, we’ve got to figure out a way to make it work.

“Not only as a selectman,” he continued, “I don’t want to be listening to arguing and complaining as a citizen of the town. If people are cussing each other out we’ve got a problem, and we need to figure out how to solve that.”

Malouin is married with two grown children — a son and a daughter — and a granddaughter “who we’re very fond of and try to spend as much time with as we can. Unfortunately, a lot of it’s been on Facebook because of the pandemic.”

If Malouin is unsuccessful in next week’s election, he said, he’s unsure if he will run again in May.

“I wouldn’t make that decision until I’ve seen how the other person is doing,” he said. “In all fairness, I’d like to see more people get involved in the operation of the town, and I’m glad that somebody else is running.”

That being said, Malouin added, “I think we need someone with experience to help get the town back, both in the sense of efficient operation of the town and improving morale in the town.”

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com


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