Candidates’ Night draws Marblehead crowd

MARBLEHEAD – Marblehead High hockey coach Robert Jackson, the son of longtime Recreation and Parks Commission member Robert Jackson, told voters Monday evening that as a Baby Boomer he understands the kinds of recreational activities and events Baby Boomers need.”I’m not here to say that the current commissioners haven’t done a great job,” he said, “but I have a passion for the Town of Marblehead and I bleed black and red.” He noted his success helping to revive the Marblehead Youth Hockey program.But all five current commission members are seeking re-election and commission Chairman Charles “Chip” Osborne asked voters to retain the current board. “What we have done together is quite unique,” he said. “We’ve done more in the last four years than many boards do in 20-25 years.”Jackson, Osborne and the other current commissioners – Sam Ganglani, Linda Rice-Collins, Derek Norcross and Gerald Tucker – addressed the voters at Monday’s League of Woman Voters Candidates’ Night at Marblehead High.One league question concerned conflicts of interest and the way commission members would address them.Derek Norcross said when he worked for the recreation department as a seasonal employee his father stepped down from the Recreation and Parks Commission for the four years that he was employed.”I would do the same under those circumstances,” he said. Tucker said he would as well.Jackson noted that he ran a hockey clinic for the town last summer. Rice-Collins noted that as a Marblehead High field hockey coach she has to recuse herself from any conversation about Seaside Park, the park field hockey uses. Ganglani said he had no conflicts.Osborne, who had to recuse himself from discussions of improvements at Memorial Park when the commission hired his cousin to design the improvements, said, “I have 500 cousins, but no relatives in any position of authority in the town.”Jackson said, “Some (recreation) programs aren’t being offered for older children and adults and educational use.” He pointed to creative use of the Marblehead Community Center as “very critical” to that process and said town fields needed improvement.Ganglani said, “The reason I ran 11 years ago was that things were not right. We’ve done a decent job.”Rice-Collins cited the recreation department’s five-year plan as proof that improvements are under way.Tucker said the use of organic products on fields has made them “clean and green.”Norcross said the town’s new Recreation Supervisor James Sullivan was at work expanding recreation programs.

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