The sudden tragic death of Town Manager John Musante on an otherwise beautiful Sunday morning last September, just as summer turns to fall, is my local story of the year. How could it not be?
Like a large projectile fired into a calm expanse of water the detonation created ripples bordering on a rip tide that will be felt for many years to come.
Not that he was the perfect Town Manager. Heck, he wasn't even the first choice of the Select Board almost ten years ago when they chose, ugh, Larry Shaffer over him.
But the Select Board got it right the second the time around when he was chosen (2010) without an expensive time consuming search after Mr. Shaffer suddenly disappeared. And as I said at the time, immorality is something you never have to worry about with John Musante. Or bad financial decisions.
Although his diffidence in dealing with NIMBYs did cost us greatly in losing the Gateway Project, a collaboration with UMass that could have resulted in a potential $50+ million addition to the tax rolls in badly needed commercial/residential mixed use development.
And the original solar array project on the old landfill was also sabotaged by NIMBYs, although he turned that around just before his death.
While our current form of government is inefficient and outmoded, with John Musante at the helm the good ship Amherst always stayed on a slow steady course of financial solvency.
Still, the vital asset I will miss most about Mr. Musante was his keen sense of humor.