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Framingham selectman retires

A farewell ceremony Monday night at Town Hall included Framingham officials delivering a gift to outgoing selectman Dennis Giombetti, who seemed delighted by the surprise.

Ron J. Rego

A farewell ceremony Monday night at Town Hall included Framingham officials delivering a gift to outgoing selectman Dennis Giombetti, who seemed delighted by the surprise.

Nobody was more disappointed when Dennis Giombetti decided not to run for his fourth term on the Framingham Board of Selectmen than his 4-year-old granddaughter, Addison, who is affectionately known in town government circles as Addie.

“I spend a lot of time child-caring her; my daughter is a schoolteacher, so she attends a lot of meetings and ribbon cuttings,” Giombetti said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “So she’s going to miss all that fun.

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“This morning I have her. She said ‘Nonno, I want you to be a selectman again.’ ”

Tuesday was the first election day in nine years that Giombetti, 64, wasn’t vying for a seat on the five-member board. Before he was first elected as a selectman in 2005, he served on several other town boards and committees. All in all, Giombetti spent more than 35 years involved in town government.

“I’m really comfortable with the decision I made; I gave it a lot of thought,” he said when asked whether he missed being a candidate.

He still had plenty of fun on election day.

With Addie in tow, Giombetti spent Tuesday interviewing voters at polling places before hosting a live-streaming show discussing the results later in the evening on the town’s website.

Don Taggart, Jim Stockless, and Michelle Brosnahan all won School Committee seats, receiving 2,018, 1,974, and 1,954 votes, respectively, according to initial results released by the town clerk.

Cheryl Tully Stoll won her first term on the Board of Selectmen with 1,866 votes, besting Doug Freeman (1,355), Deborah Butler (882), and Ryan Gagne (376) in the race to succeed Giombetti.

Selectwoman Laurie Lee, who was the board’s vice chairwoman for the last year with Giombetti serving as its chair, was reelected to her third term with 1,966 votes.

“It’s sad for the board,” Lee said of Giombetti’s departure. “It’s going to change our dynamic. We really built up an incredible team. We have great camaraderie, we work very well together and he’s an integral part of that. That’s definitely going to change that for us. It’s not going to be as much fun and I think the town is going to miss him. He gets a lot done.”

The board will vote on its new slate of officers later this month, she said.

Last summer, Giombetti put 20 initiatives on the board’s “bucket list,” and selectmen had accomplished 18 of them by December, when he announced his decision not to run again.

“Actually one of them got done since then,” Giombetti said. The initiatives included hiring more police officers, finding a new home for the Danforth Museum, funding for the playground at Cushing Park, drafting a request for proposals for a downtown traffic and streetscape project, expediting the town’s permitting system, and improving the code enforcement task force.

The only item on the list that wasn’t competed was a gun buyback program through the Police Department.

“I know the chief is trying to get that through, to get that done, but it’s not easy to put together,” Giombetti said.

Giombetti also helped hire Town Manager Bill Halprin almost two years ago.

“Dennis brings a unique combination of business savvy from his career in high tech and a deep-rooted understanding of Framingham’s needs and proprieties,” Halprin said. “He had a lot of savvy in terms of how he was able put those two packages together. It was a pleasure to work with someone who came at it with a business and problem-solving’’ mentality, he said, “but also a lot of passion.”

After graduating from Framingham South High in 1967, Giombetti went to college at Framingham State, and earned a master’s in psychology at the State University of New York at Geneseo. He also has an MBA from Bentley University.

From 1978 to 1984, he worked for Framingham’s state representative, Andrew Rogers, before taking a marketing job at Stratus Technologies. He also worked at Motorola before retiring from 3Com five years ago.

He ran for the Board of Selectmen in 2005 because he saw problems in the local government.

“There was a lot of infighting,” he said. “The board didn’t seem to have a firm direction of where it wanted to go. The town manager was having some difficulty. It just seemed not to be going in the right direction for a whole host of reasons.”

Giombetti, who said he wouldn’t have left the board without being confident it is now pointed in the right direction, isn’t sure what he wants to do next. He said he’s had offers to serve on corporate and nonprofit boards.

“I’m too young not to do anything,” he said. “I’ll figure it out. I just don’t know what it will be.”

First, he has plans to take Addie to Disney World during the upcoming school vacation as a consolation for losing her personal connection in town government. “That’s the deal we struck, so we’re all looking forward to that,” he said.

Before Giombetti signed off for good, a reception was held in his honor Monday night in the Memorial Building.

“It was fun,” Giombetti said on Tuesday. Addie “was there, obviously, and they gave her a gavel that said something in effect of ‘Soon to be the first mayor of Framingham.’ ”

Justin A. Rice can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com.
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