Selectman Bill Clark pointed out this week that Danvers has had only two town managers — Bob Curtis and Wayne Marquis — since 1961.
That's a remarkable record for any community, but also helps explain why Danvers is considered one of the most well-managed municipalities in the commonwealth. That stability has served the town well.
Still, a competent manager requires a supportive board of selectmen more interested in results than making points with one or more particular constituencies within the town. And while the anti-Town Hall faction has occasionally succeeded in getting one of its own elected, Danvers voters have inevitably grown tired of the reflex antagonism and opted for a return to the kind of comity that has characterized the board over the past four decades.
In the six years Clark and Gardner Trask — the two selectmen up for re-election Tuesday — have served on the board, they have worked well with both Marquis and their fellow selectmen. The results can be seen everywhere from a revitalized Danvers Square to the new rail trail to a renovated high school and middle school. The latter projects were funded, remarkably, without overriding Proposition 21/2 despite costing a total of $100 million.
Young challenger Rick Bettencourt has brought fresh perspective to the discussion of town issues and is to be commended for offering voters a choice in this race.
But both Trask and Clark have a long history of community service that dates to well before their service on the Board of Selectmen, and since joining have displayed both impressive vision and great managerial acumen.
There's a reason the town's finances remain strong without it having had to resort to the layoffs and service cuts seen in other communities. A first-rate town manager has something to do with it, but so does a Board of Selectmen capable of firm and reasonable oversight.
The two incumbents on the ballot next week deserve voters' support for another three years in office.
On the School Committee side, we would recommend the re-election of incumbent Connie Pawlak and the election of newcomer — to politics, but certainly not the town — David Thomson.
There are four candidates for the two seats up for grabs in this race. Incumbent Bill Bates, now an aide to state Rep. Ted Speliotis, opted not to seek re-election.
Voters are fortunate in having four qualified candidates in, besides Pawlak and Thomson, Alan Vervaeke, who chairs the Special Education Parent Advisory Council, and Manny Lopes, a school administrator who works at a high school in Manchester, N.H.
But Pawlak, a retired educator, was instrumental in making the school budget process more transparent and accountable when she was first elected six years ago and has done a fine job overseeing things since. And Thomson, owner of a Middleton-based public relations business with three children in the public schools, would, in our view, be a capable representative for both parents concerned with educational quality and taxpayers worried about the bottom line.