“It wasn’t that I was so great, but the opposition was really poor,” even after winning 59 consecutive one year terms as Pembroke town moderator from 1950 to 2009, John Walsh is still a modest man about his record-setting accomplishment.
Though Walsh is originally from South Weymouth and moved to Pembroke while in high school, he first ran for moderator at 22 years old.
The current town moderator, Steve Dodge, who is a friend of Walsh’s, reflected on some of his predecessor’s most memorable moments.
“John always had a great sense of when the meeting was ready to move on to the next issue or vote on an issue. So, there’s always a motion that someone can move to move the question, so John would have a good sense when he felt it was time to move along he’d accept a motion to move the question and instead of saying ‘all those in favor say yes, opposed no’, he’d say ‘all those in favor of ending debate say yes, all those who want to talk it to death say no.’ And only John could get away with that.”
Walsh, who is now 84 years old, may have retired from his role in town government, but he continues to run his locally-owned insurance business with his family. With a daughter and two grandchildren, Walsh said he likes to keep himself active and will continue to work.
He also stated that it was an honor to be a part of Pembroke’s history and will continue to attend town meetings, but now as a resident.
“I stuck around for a long time because I liked doing the job–if I didn’t I wouldn’t have. I got a pleasure out of the people and I got to know them, it kept me interested,” stated Walsh.
Pembroke’s Special Fall Town Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday tonight at 7:30 in the high school auditorium.
Town Moderator Dodge believes this will be a relatively smooth meeting, “I think there were several board of health articles that at this point I’m told are going to be withdrawn or recommended that no action be taken; those could have been controversial. I actually think it’s going to be a fairly quite meeting although I still encourage people to come out.”
Article 1 of the 18 article warrant is a request to fund various projects in town, totaling a half a million dollars. Such projects were submitted by five town departments including a $50,000 request by DPW for a dump truck. Projects the water department requested will be funded through water revenue, whereas funding for the other requests will be taken from free cash or the capital fund.
The Community Preservation Committee is also asking for funding and transfer approval for five projects.