Nine apply to fill Marblehead Municipal Light Commission vacancy

The Marblehead Select Board and the Marblehead Light Commission will have nine candidates to pick from when they convene a joint meeting to fill the vacancy created by Karl A. Johnson on July 13.

Johnson’s resignation, citing health reasons, arrived two weeks after the 2022 municipal election.

Whomever the Select Board and Light Commission end up appointing in a Sept. 14 meeting in Abbot Hall will serve until the 2023 municipal election, when voters will elect someone for what will then be the remaining year on Johnson’s three-year term. The appointed member would need to run for elected office to retain their commission seat.

Marblehead residents who turned in application materials vying to be his successor include the following candidates: 

Peter Barnet

Peter Barnet would like to bring his experiences in running a small business, marketing and sustainability to the Light Commission.

“I believe the department and the town also would benefit from a town-wide education effort to integrate electric vehicles in the most responsible way,” he wrote. “In addition to educating, it is important in today’s connected world to have the ability to communicate to your stakeholders quickly and effectively.”

Kevin Colcord

Kevin Colcord sent in a qualifications summary that touches on a career “focused on designing and organizational transformation in firms ranging in size from 500 to 100,000 employees.” He has wide-ranging, hands-on experience in many types of manufacturing processes. He also listed a wide range of nonprofit boards.

James Full

James Full says he wants to bring a balance to the Marblehead Light Commission. 

“I have concerns for our Municipalities Light Commission makeup if another ‘sustainable’ candidate were brought to the table,” he wrote. “I am all for renewables and carbon reduction, but I feel that the commission should be balanced to avoid a headlong rush into ‘green power’ without proper planning, community inputs and most especially electric rates spiraling out of control.” 

Christopher Hardy

Christopher Hardy possesses experience in the energy sector as a public affairs and communications professional. 

“I am interested in filling the vacancy because of my experiences and interest in renewable energy and environmental issues over the past 25 years,” Hardy wrote. “The MMLC must make significant decisions in a time of tremendous socio-economic change.”

He added, “I have learned that balancing competing demands between cost, engineering code and neighborly relations.”

Matthew Harrington

Matthew Harrington would bring experience as “a forward-thinking operations executive with a 15-year track record in the health and fitness industry.” He notes that he “excels at leading when the stakes are high.” 

“The Marblehead Municipal Light Department is one of the many things that makes Marblehead a unique and great place to live,” Harrington wrote. “There is a long tradition of the MMLD providing exceptional service, and I believe that my education and experience as a business owner can help continue this tradition.”

Igor Pedan

Igor Pedan is general manager of Amazon Robotics’ $250 million Robotic Induction program, responsible for all aspects including developing long-term strategy, business development, and program execution.

“Since my family moved back to the area several years ago, I’ve been looking for ways to get more engaged in the town,” Pedan wrote. “I’m passionate about sustainability and making sure we make prudent choices so that my kids still have a habitable planet.”

Adam Smtih

Adam Smith, a business executive at Google, is fascinated by Marblehead owning and operating its own municipal light company. He wants to be “a voice for Marbleheaders as we decide where we buy our electricity and how we invest” in future infrastructure. 

“I’m very interested in the topics of variable use rates, hardening of the local infrastructure, affordability for low-income residents, purchasing renewable energy and supporting local residents in their efforts toward renewable generation and storage,” he writes. 

Thomas Veillieux

Thomas Veilleux possesses experience in “running electrical projects for government and private contractors” and “a long history of working in the electrical industry.” He was a former administrator in Minnesota, specializing in electrical rehabilitation and the upkeep of wastewater treatment facilities.

“This experience helped me grasp government expenditures and the humility and responsibility you have to the community you serve,” he wrote. “I have been interested in finding a way to get involved civically.”

Jim Zisson

Jim Zisson is a registered professional engineer who “has a solid background in power generation, efficient energy use and project management.”

“I would like to be part of the MMLD mission of supplying electricity in a safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable manner,” he wrote. “I have long been interested in the mission of MMLD and over the years have attended many meetings and discussed issues with various members of the MMLD team.”

The strong interest in the vacancy comes after the Light Commission contest was decided by the narrowest margin in the 2022 municipal elections. 

Jean-Jacques Yarmoff was initially declared the winner of one of two seats by a 19-vote margin over incumbent Walter Homan. Homan requested a recount that resulted in the margin of Yarmoff’s victory expanding to 33 votes, 2,633 to 2,600. 

Kris Olson contributed reporting and writing.

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