Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Sad, Sad Sunday Indeed

Amherst Town Manager John Musante 1961-2015

Some days I wish I did not listen so closely to first responder radio traffic, or know the town and town officials so well.

With medical calls I try not to listen all that carefully mainly because they are, usually, private and only subject to public scrutiny if it involves a high ranking pubic official.

Well in our little town they don't come any higher ranking (or nicer) than Town Manager John Musante.  And it's my very sad duty to report he passed away in his sleep, possibly from a heart attack. 

Amherst Ambulance (A4) with four aboard (usual crew is two) responded to his home Sunday morning around 8:45 AM and had a major Amherst police escort to Cooley Dickinson Hospital.  Umass and Hadley police assisted with traffic control at intersections along the way.

As many of you may remember our Town Manager suffered a head injury four years ago after falling while out walking his dog.  And in late July he fractured his foot in another accident while walking  back to his dorm room where he was attending a professional development course at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge.

 John Musante was kick off speaker at town's Solar presentation last week and seemed happy with the public response to a solar array on closed landfill

But he seemed happy and healthy of late.  I would often see him walking along Main Street around the lunch hour for exercise, and he was out mingling with the general public at the Celebrate Amherst Block Party on Thursday night.

John Musante, a long time Amherst resident, replaced Larry Shaffer as Town Manager in 2010 but had served as Finance Director since 2004.

Assistant Town Manager Dave Ziomek, who is in Philadelphia at the moment, will become interim Town Manager.

 Town Manager John Musante with Amherst Select Board. Chair Alisa Brewer (center)

The Amherst Select Board has a regularly scheduled Monday meeting tomorrow night.  Open Meeting Law allows for, "Topics the Chair did not reasonable anticipate 48 hours before the meeting".

And this shocking event is something nobody could have anticipated.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Musante's passing. My condolences to his family.

Anonymous said...

He will be sorely missed. He did a very thankless job with warmth and grace. He always had a smile whenever I saw him. Condolences to his family.

Anonymous said...

It is completely inappropriate to post this when family, including John's children, may not yet have been notified.

Larry Kelley said...

It was one of the harder journalistic judgement calls I've had to make over the past few years.

I could have tweeted "AFD responding to Town Manager's residence for a 53-year-old male in cardiac arrest, CPR in progress" at 8:45 AM, but did not.

By 10:00 AM I was sure -- from multiple sources -- that he was gone, but did not publish.

I was told a phone tree was immediately put in place so I assumed that his closest family would have been informed by the time I did publish, an hour-and-a-half later (which is an eternity in digital time).

Anonymous said...

Incredibly shocked and saddened to hear about Mr. Musante's death. The entire town will be hurting by his loss.
(You posted nearly the same time as MassLive. No blame or attacks from me.)

Anonymous said...

A great and unexpected loss - my heartfelt condolences to the Musante family - John was a good man.

- A former Select Board member who worked with John

Larry Kelley said...

I talked with him briefly at the Block Party Thursday night with my 8-year-old daughter clinging to my leg (not briefly enough for her).

But afterward she said, "Who was that man?" And when I explained that he was the top official who runs our town she replied, "He was very nice."

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:50 pm: Didn't the Masslive article quote from this blog? (they do that more & more these days).

Definitely a big loss for the community. So sad for his family. 53 is too young.

Cr. Ed said...

Perhaps the most fitting eulogy is merely noting that both the President of the UM SGA and the AFD Union wrote what they did -- for someone to be respected by both entities says a great deal about the individual...

Walter Graff said...

So sad and so young. I lost my best friend this past week. He was only a year older at 54. Sudden too. Simply tragic. People this age are not supposed to be dying. Rest in peace Mr. Musante.

Anonymous said...

So sad.

A reminder to live our lives healthier as even someone who was ultimately responsible for the health and safety of so many can be a victim of such dangers beyond the control of regulation aside from personal choice.

Eric said...

He was a great guy with a wonderful wit and contagious smile. He was our classmate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and we were a better group because of his wisdom and wealth of knowledge of managing community affairs and his leadership experience. He will be sorely missed. On behalf of HKS July 2015 session we send our deepest condolences to John's family whom he spoke of frequently and so very affectionately. God speed John.