With Pepperell voters facing another highly contested election for town clerk in just three years, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on one particular candidate -- Lisa Ferolito.
I would first express my thanks to all the candidates for their willingness to serve. It is not an easy decision nor is it necessarily an easy process to seek public office and run for election.
I have known Lisa for a relatively short period of time, perhaps about five or six years; however, in that time I have seen her demonstrate many of the qualities, skills and personal attributes that I feel would be essential to being an efficient and progressive town clerk.
As a fellow member of Pepperell's Charter Commission for the past three years, Lisa stepped up and assumed the added responsibility of acting as commission secretary. In this role, Lisa performed all the requisite duties of a very active and busy commission, including interacting and working with the town administrator, the Board of Selectmen, the office of the attorney general, the Department of Revenue and many of the town's appointed and elected boards, all while maintaining her primary focus as a commission member working toward the goal of producing a self-governance charter to put before the voters.
It is not by accident that Lisa was able to accomplish this. Her many years of progressive experience as a paralegal were quite evident as she served the town as a charter commissioner. But further, Lisa always went above and beyond what I would consider normal effort. We would often see Lisa's meeting documentation arrive in our emails late in the night after every meeting.
I have been told by my current colleague, Groton Town Clerk Michael Bouchard, that relevant and responsible paralegal experience is one of the very best training grounds to transition to being a town clerk.
Lisa holds two college degrees. This itself is a very significant accomplishment and certainly an indication of work ethic and commitment. Pepperell would be well served by this.
I also have had the privilege of being a longtime member of Pepperell's PACH organization and efforts. Lisa is also an integral member of PACH. As in many other volunteer efforts in Lisa's life, she assumed added responsibilities in serving Pepperell's less fortunate. She coordinates the advocacy efforts of PACH, which help our needy get additional help that PACH cannot directly provide. It is hard for me to express enough the good work this represents, and the compassion and decency that Lisa brings to it.
I am proud to say that my Dad, a cancer survivor, is represented by Lisa along with a hundred of other cancer survivors she rides for each year in the Pan Mass Challenge bike ride across the state each summer. Her fundraising efforts to help fund essential research to fight this dreaded disease are just another reason for my respect and admiration for her.
I think Lisa deserves your vote for Pepperell town clerk on April 28 ... and I strongly urge you to vote for her.
Michael L. Hartnett