EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 24, 2013

Andover schools veteran not eying re-election bid

ANDOVER — With just under two weeks left in the deadline to file for a spot on the March 26 town election ballot, veteran School Committee member Dick Collins has announced he will not be a candidate for re-election.

The conclusion of Collins’ five-term tenure on the School Committee will end 54 years of service to the town, including 37 years coaching football and track, and teaching history at Andover High School while away from sports.

“I’m 81 years old....I think it’s time to turn it over to somebody younger,” said Collins, after whom the Collins Field House at the high school is named.

Collins said he will still participate in meetings as a member of the audience.

Paula Colby-Clements, committee chairwoman and incumbent in this year’s elections, characterized Collins as “a man who has gone above and beyond in serving his community.”

“He’s provided the School Committee with some institutional memory, which is very important to any body,” she said.

Expecting to join Colby-Clements in the race for School Committee is Sal Tabit, a Brooks Street resident who also ran for state representative in 1998 and 2010.

“I’ve been interested in various aspects of public service, and School Committee is not something I initially would have thought about running for,” he said. “But I was approached by several people who thought that, given where we are currently in Andover, that it might be a good time, and it might be something that interests me.”

There are two seats up for grabs on the Board of Selectmen, for which incumbents Alex Vispoli and Paul Salafia, the board’s current chair, are both hoping to retain.

Opposing them in their efforts is Chandler Road resident Larry Bruce, a frequent figure in town meetings and elections.

If elected, Bruce said he would prioritize installing “a better form of government” than what exists in Andover today.

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