Candidates seek seat on BOS

SOUTHWICK – Two residents have taken out papers and collected signatures for a seat on the Board of Selectmen.
Joseph Deedy and Marcus Phelps will seek votes for the position, currently held by Arthur Pinell who is not seeking re-election, at the May 14 town election.
Deedy, currently a member of the Planning Board, is running as a Republican and is seeking the support of the Republican Town Committee at its April 5 caucus. Phelps, the retired town planner, is running as an unenrolled candidate.
Both candidates responded to the same questions posed by The Westfield News and offered a biographical background.
Deedy, owner of Moolicious Ice Cream, is a Southwick native.
“I grew up on a farm in Southwick we called ‘The Lazy Seven’. The farm was on South Loomis Street where I spent my youth with my four sisters and two stepbrothers. Growing up on a farm was a great experience and we all gained an appreciation for teamwork, camaraderie and getting the job done. I went to school in town and graduated from Southwick High School in 1984,” said Deedy
The same year he graduated, Deedy met his wife while working at the Southwick Big Y.
“We spent the next few years getting to know each other and falling in love and we were married in 1989. That same year we bought a house in West Springfield,” he said. “I wanted to get involved with the community and I was elected to the position as a Town Meeting member and served for 10 years.”
Deedy has been a self-made businessman for most of his career, owning and operating an auto reconditioning business, concession business and equipment rental businesses. In 1990, Bernie Yelin asked Deedy if he could sell ice cream from his family concession business at the Southwick Motocross track.
“Of course, we said yes,” he said. “For the next 22 years, my family and I have sold ice cream and food at Motocross. In 2007, we opened Moolicious where the old Pioneer Dairy was once located. A short while later we decided to move back to Southwick and bought our house just down the street from our business, which we recently renovated into the current Moolicious Farm.”
Deedy has two children, Ronald and Elizabeth. Ronald is 21 years old and is close to finishing an apprenticeship and will earn his electrician’s license. He works full-time for Elm Electric in Westfield. Elizabeth is 19 years old and is enrolled in Holyoke Community College, pursuing a degree in criminal justice. She works part-time at the American Inn as a hostess/server.
Deedy said volunteer work and giving back was important to him.
“After the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, I felt I needed to help in some way. I partnered with Pete Plantanitis, Brian Stefanik and friends to host a fundraiser at the Polish Club in Agawam. We raised over $10,000, which was donated to The Twin Towers Orphan Fund,” he said.
For the last several years, Moolicious has sponsored a haunted house in October and the proceeds were donated to the Southwick Food Pantry. Moolicious Farms also hosted the first annual ‘Thanksgiving for All’, where a traditional Thanksgiving meal was offered to anyone from the Southwick Senior Center and Southwick Food Pantry.
“Our family, friends, The Food Pantry and The Senior Center helped in hosting the event and we’re planning to continue the event,” he said.
After Hurricane Sandy, Deedy began collecting coats, blankets, clothing, water and other household items for victims impacted by the storm. He and his family and staff delivered 500 coats, 150 blankets, 5,120 bottles of water and two truckloads of personal care items to Red Hook, NY.
Deedy has been a member of the Southwick Rotary for five years and is the current Vice President.
Deedy said there would be challenges ahead for the Board of Selectmen.
“I believe the members of the Board of Selectman should work together as a team for the good of our community. If elected, I intend to help facilitate a better partnership, more productive communication and ultimately, an effective Board of Selectmen to get Southwick working again,” said Deedy.
Deedy said in today’s tough economic times, it’s important to approach the way the town is managed the way any business would manage its operations.
“I believe that a level head, real life business experience and knowledge of how to manage multiple priorities will benefit our community and I have those qualities,” he said. “I am dedicated to being a productive and a willing member of the board and will work with all members of the Select Board for the betterment of our community.”
Deedy said the needs of residents are a top priority for him.
“I realize how difficult it’s becoming for our senior citizen population, and all citizens, to pay property taxes and fees for other services in town. We are a community of families. We have to ensure that we continue to address the needs of our current citizens and future generations who choose to call Southwick home,” he said, adding that the greatest challenge facing the board in the next three years will be the budget.
“We will have to do more with less, just like working people do every day,” he said. “We still need to balance our services with the tax dollars received from our property tax base.”
Deedy said it would take a team effort and a hard look at every department to find ways to make their operations more streamlined and efficient to stay within budget constraints. He also said that as a board they must continue with transparency and start making some tough decisions.
“We can’t continue taxing working-class people,” he said. “I am ready to roll up my sleeves and make decisions. I’m an open minded, no nonsense individual. I work hard and have the ability to think outside the box and turn ideas into reality.”
Deedy said although he is seeking the nomination of the Republican Caucus, he intends to work across party lines “to bring forth the best solutions for all the townspeople in Southwick. I am happy to work with all those who will work with me.”
In 2011, Deedy was appointed to the Southwick Planning Board and successfully ran for re-election in 2012.
“It’s been an honor and privilege serving as a member of the Planning Board,” he said.
Phelps is also a native of Southwick and is a fifth generation member of the Phelps family to live in Southwick. He grew up on Congamond Road, attended local elementary schools and graduated from Westfield High School in 1962.
He continued his education at Paul Smiths College in New York State and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management in 1968. A Master of Regional Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania was earned in 1995. He also served as a US Naval Reserve Officer and was on active duty during the Vietnam Conflict from 1968 to 1972 stationed on the USS Kearsarge (CVS-33), an aircraft carrier, and the USS Cacapon (AO-52), a refueling ship.
Phelps retired from the USDA Forest Service in 2004 after a 33-year career of service to the public with assignments in Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts. He also worked as the Southwick Town Planner from 2007 to 2012.
Phelps and his wife Barbara are parents to daughters Amy Mays who lives in Glen Mills, Penn. and Rebecca Wimmer who lives in Catonsville, Maryland.
Phelps served in 2005 and 2006 as a member of the Southwick Conservation Commission conserving and protecting natural resources and in 2007 was appointed as the Town Planner providing staff assistance to the Planning Board for five years to implement local bylaws and guide land development.
Phelps participated in the Southwick Spring Cleanup Days, appointed as an Alternate Commissioner to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and served as a member of their Executive Committee for two years. Also, he served as a member and secretary of the Southwick Ad Hoc Green Energy Committee and as a member of the Southwick Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee.
Phelps said he was seeking a position on the board to continue tradition.
“The Phelps Family has lived in Southwick for five generations and has traditionally been involved with the community through volunteer work, appointed positions and elected office,” he said. “I have continued the tradition and hope to build on this legacy by using my knowledge and leadership skills to improve operations and management of the town.”
If elected, Phelps said he would “strive to focus on governing the town and making informed decisions, advocate responsible fiscal management and spending, monitor the completion of Whalley Park to benefit all residents, sustain open space and farmland for future generations, and cooperate with adjoining communities to share services.”
Phelps said the town has recently made some significant financial commitments including the renovation and construction of school buildings, development of a new Department of Public Works facility, implementation of Phase II of the public sewer system, and completion of Whalley Park.
“It will be critical that the Board of Selectmen work with town staff and other elected officials to closely monitor these projects to control costs and wisely spend public funds,” he said. “I will use my communication, facilitation and organization skills to foster an open exchange of ideas and focus on what is best for the community through ongoing projects and any future development.”

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