DRACUT -- Helping to choose the next town manager will be the final important vote John Zimini casts as a member of the Board of Selectmen, the three-term incumbent said Tuesday night.
With the March 17 filing deadline for Dracut candidates fast approaching, Zimini announced he will not be seeking re-election to another three-year term.
"It is not a decision that was easy for me to make because I love being able to do what I do here. I love being able to help the community," said Zimini, reading from his prepared notes. "But it's time for new blood (and) new ideas on this board."
Zimini does not plan to retire from serving on town boards entirely, however, as he has already contacted the town moderator about seeking a May 6 appointment on the Finance Committee.
"I want to thank the voters and taxpayers of the town of Dracut for placing their trust in me over the last nine years," Zimini added. "And I especially want to thank those who have worked so hard in my campaigns to get me elected. It has been an honor and privilege to serve you, the voters and taxpayers."
Selectmen Bob Cox, Tony Archinski and Joe DiRocco expressed surprise at Zimini's announcement, each praising him for his service.
"John, you and I went from being great friends to having some problems, but I just want to let you know I will miss having you on the board," Cox said.
Zimini's decision not to run leaves Cox, who is seeking re-election to a fourth term, and Ted Kosiavelon as the only two candidates who have pulled nomination papers to run for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen.
Cox said after the meeting that he expects at least one more selectman candidate will throw their hat into the ring before March to make it a contested race.
Cox said he decided to run for a fourth term to become part of the history of choosing a new town manager and overseeing completion of the new Dracut High School and new Town Hall.
"I'm going to give it another whirl," said Cox. "Some people will always say 'change is good,' but I'd say that's true only if change is needed. I think I'm doing an acceptable job, and if people re-elect me it's because they believe I'm doing a good job."
Kosiavelon, who worked with Zimini to defeat the proposed $2.9 million override of Proposition 2 1/2 in September's special town election, said he was surprised by Zimini's announcement.
"John is a very sharp person, who always voted to protect the taxpayer first," Kosiavelon said. "I have learned a lot from watching John on the board. He always sat back, listened to the argument, and then gave his views.
"Most of all, he had a great saying: 'I will not go along just to get along,' " said Kosiavelon. "I would like to thank him for all the time he gave to our great town."
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