Groveland Voters Oust Gorski in Four-Way Race, Wood Tops Ballot

Voters in the town of Groveland will have new faces on the town’s board of selectmen.

In a four-way race for three seats during Monday’s town election, longtime incumbent Selectman Elizabeth A. “Bette” Gorski was unseated as she finished fourth. Challengers, including retired Haverhill police traffic and safety officer Edward H. Watson, gained that panel’s open seats.

Unofficial results released by the town place Michael N. Wood as the top vote-getter with 703 votes cast. Watson finished second at 680 votes and Daniel J. MacDonald rounded out the field with 601 votes. Gorski, who was fined $2,500 last December by the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission, received a total 467 votes.

“I am humbled by the election results tonight. I will do my absolute best for the town. I am looking forward to working with Ed and Dan as the new board members, as well as Joe and Bill. I would like to thank Bette Gorski for her years of hard work and dedication to the town. I would also like to thank my friends and family for their support,” Selectman-elect Wood said in an online post.

Gorski was fined in mid-December after the commission found she threatened negative employment action against the chief and deputy chief of police after her son, a Groveland Police officer, was placed on administrative leave. The commission, however, ruled its enforcement division failed to prove any of its other claims against Gorski.

Gorski Has Many Haverhill Ties

Gorski was the secretary of Haverhill Beef during the 13 years the business was operated by her late husband, retired State Police Lieutenant Barry W. Gorski. He died in 2010. She previously served as an aide to former Senator James P. Jajuga who was also fined $2,500 this year for late disclosure of his drug lobbying work. Gorski also served in the administration of Haverhill Mayor John J. Guerin and worked for the Haverhill YWCA.

She was widely believed to have been the key figure behind banning WHAV on Groveland’s public access television station.

In 2009, Groveland public access television banned WHAV’s audio from its system because of, what Groveland government officials called, the reporting of “lots of unflattering things.” The disagreement occurred when then-Open Mike Show host Jack Bevelaqua voiced his concern about Groveland’s approval of septic systems near Johnson’s Pond, Haverhill’s backup drinking water source.

Even though WHAV presented an alternative view from Groveland Selectman William Darke, WHAV remains banned on the town’s TV station.

Meanwhile, in one other contested race in Groveland, voters elected three people from a field of four to serve three-year terms on the board of trustees of the Langley Adams Library. Town meeting voters last week approved new bylaws governing that board, which holds monthly public meetings.

Selectmen:                   prec 1  prec 2  total

Elizabeth A. Gorski          250       217       467

Daniel J. MacDonald       304       297       601

Edward H. Watson          360       320       680

Michael N. Wood                        389       314       703

Library Trustee

Elizabeth H. Burton         320       287       607

Jennifer P. Close                        320       275       595

Ann Marie Wilson-Crockett           301       285       586

Jay Collins                    197       175       372

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