Photo: Mark Paolillo
It was a tough decision, but in the end, Mark Paolillo decided that it was a time of a change in his life and the political life of his hometown.
The three-term member of the Belmont Board of Selectmen told his fellow members after the end of its scheduled meeting Monday, Jan. 7 that he would not seek re-election to the three-person board in April.
“Nine years is a long time and it’s time to move on,” said the life-long Belmont resident.
Paolillo had been wavering between staying for a fourth term – which would have been the longest-serving member since William Monahan
“I’ve been conflicted because it’s been a great board (comprised of selectmen Tom Caputo and chairman Adam Dash) this past year and I enjoy thoroughly working with Patrice [Garvin, Town Administrator] and there is still a lot of issues and there always will be. But I think it’s the best decision for myself and my family.
“I sought the counsel of many in town and I did call some of them privately and told them my decision. It was a really tough, tough call because it’s been a fun year,” said Paolillo.
“It’s not that [the work] has worn on me but I think new ideas are important as well. I only thought I would do two [terms] but I did nine [years]. And I will continue to support these two guys,” said Paolillo of Caputo and Dash.
“I am sorry to see him go,” said Dash, noting the importance of having Paolillo on the board who had the institutional history and policy heft when taking on major concerns facing residents.
“I understand your decision but you will be sorely missed and look forward you staying involved,” said Caputo.
Paolillo will still be involved in town governance as he will seek a Town Meeting seat this April and has talked about joining one of the myriads of boards and committees. “I will give it a little bit of a breather before deciding.”
After serving on numerous boards including the Warrant Committee, Paolillo was elected selectman in 2010, defeating Dan LeClerc and Anne Mahon with 45 percent of the vote. He ran unopposed in 2013 and beat back challenger Alexandra Ruban with 65 percent of the voters backing him in 2016.
While always looking for a “win-win-win” solution (a favorite Paolillo phrase) to challenging issues facing the town, Paolillo was not a shrinking violet when confronting opposing views that he felt were specious or misinformed.
Paolillo said he hopes candidates will step up, noting that “we need diversity on the board and hopefully they are up to that task.”