Connolly won’t seek 2nd term

Chapin will run again this spring for selectman seat

Jim Connolly will not seek a second term on the Abington Board of Selectmen, opening up a seat on the town’s top executive committee this spring.

“I’ve done all I can do,” said Connolly, 60, during an interview with Abington News Thursday morning. “I appreciate the voters putting me on the Board of Selectmen, and I hope I’ve made a positive impact on their lives.”

Tim Chapin, who’s term on the board is also up this spring, said he will be a candidate for re-election.

“I hope it’s just a short term goal, [but] I want to continue doing whatever is in our power to help Abington’s small businesses survive through this pandemic,” Chapin said.

Abington’s Annual Town Elections are scheduled for Saturday, April 24, 2021. Town Clerk Leanne Adams announced in an email Thursday that nomination papers are now available for all positions up for election this year, including school committee, planning board, board of health, library board of trustees, and water commissioner.

Connolly served for multiple years on the Abington Conservation Commission before running for the Board of Selectmen in 2018. He said his goals at the time included welcoming adult-use marijuana retail shops to town and helping address retention and morale issues within the Abington Police Department.

“Those have been met,” said Connolly, adding, “along with a few other things that I didn’t foresee.”

The town’s first retail marijuana shop, Bud’s Provisions, is scheduled to open within the next couple months. Green Harbor Dispensary also has received the needed town permits to open sometime in 2021. In addition, a third company has applied for one of the town’s three new permits as part of a cultivation, manufacturing, delivery, and retail operation planned for Adams Street.

Connolly helped push for an outside study of the Abington Police Department to look for ways to reduce personnel turnover. The evaluation found that while the department is one of a few fully-accredited departments in the state, that sharp divisions exist within the ranks. It proposed dozens of recommendations to improve retention, morale, and operations.

In August, the town and Police Chief David Majenski reached a deal allowing the longtime police chief to step down from day-to-day oversight of the department effective Dec. 31, 2020, and use accrued personal time off until his Aug. 31, 2021 retirement date. Deputy Chief Chris Cutter is taking over day-to-day management, while retaining his title. Cutter has already twice briefed the Board of Selectmen on changes being put in to place within the department, including bringing back the first K-9 officer in years.

Connolly said he’s also proud the board chose Scott Lambiase to serve as Town Manager.

“Scott’s been a great addition to this town,” he said.

Connolly, who was a Boston firefighter for 27 years, and moved to Abington in 1988, said he and his wife, Joyce, has planned to move to New Hampshire to be closer to their daughter, Stacy, and her family. Dan Baker, Stacy’s husband, is the pastor at Haverhill Congregational Church, in Haverhill, NH. Both are Abington High School graduates. That relocation plan was delayed after Connolly ran for and won the selectman seat. Now it’s time to make the move, he said.

Connolly, a U.S. Navy veteran who spent eight years on submarines, can be frequently seen driving around town with his wife collecting scrap metal. The hobby started while he was an active firefighter sitting on fire watches at construction sites, peeling insulation off pieces of discarded copper wire. It grew into a small business with the couple collecting and recycling 91,000 pounds of scrap metal from area homes and businesses this past year.

In June, Connolly found a woman’s lost diamond wedding ring at the bottom of a dryer he and his wife had picked up.

Connolly also hosts “Bampa’s Woodshed”, a woodworking video series produced for Abington Community Access & Media. He’s already started building out his woodworking studio at his New Hampshire vacation home.

“Next month I’ll be moving all the tools up to New Hampshire,” he said.

Chapin, an Abington native, is also completing his first term on the Board of Selectmen.

A husband and father of four, Chapin also made the police department a focal point during the past three years, joining with Connolly in pushing for the management study.

“Having done that, and seeing the results of drastically lowered turnover, I would like to continued to help oversee the implementation of the recommendations given to the department from the study,” said Chapin, an account manager with ChemStation Boston. “Also, I am very excited that we were able to recently form the Abington Affordable Housing Trust and can’t wait to dig in and work on possibly turning some vacant, town owned properties into affordable housing, specifically for our seniors who are being priced out of the community they helped build.”

Chapin said he’ll discuss additional priorities in the coming months.