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Councilors cite different reasons for not running again

Joy Hearn: 'It's been dynamic and I have had fun'

By Josh Bickford
Posted 7/3/20

Steve Boyajian said he has truly enjoyed his time on the town council.

The democrat who is not running for re-election said the experience of serving the town was very rewarding, as was working …

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Councilors cite different reasons for not running again

Joy Hearn: 'It's been dynamic and I have had fun'

Posted

Steve Boyajian said he has truly enjoyed his time on the town council.

The democrat who is not running for re-election said the experience of serving the town was very rewarding, as was working with his fellow council members.

But about five or six months ago, Mr. Boyajian realized he wanted to spend more time with his children, and that meant a lot less time working on town issues.

"I don't see my kids enough," he said, adding that his son and daughter are at the age where they want to spend more time with him. When they get older, he said, that might change.

Mr. Boyajian said he has enjoyed his time on the council, and listed some of the work he was particularly proud of. He said the town council had not conducted its own budget review, but he discovered in the charter that it was part of the council's responsibility. Now the council annually reviews the proposed budgets.

He is also proud of the role he played in helping the town purchase Lot 3A on George Street. The land had been owned by a man who planned to build a dense housing development amid the farm fields, woodlands and rural space. The town first levied a legal change to stop the developer from proceeding with the work, but upon realizing that the town was likely to lose its appeal, Mr. Boyajian said he suggested to other officials that Barrington buy the property from the developer.

That suggestion gained support, and at last year's financial town meeting, taxpayers voted overwhelmingly to approve a $1.125 million bond to purchase the property. That move saved the land from development.

Mr. Boyajian also mentioned his town council work to block an ordinance that would have prohibited people from walking their dogs on certain fields in town, and his work on restructuring senior tax exemptions and veterans exemptions. He said he has seen how his efforts have benefited many of Barrington's older residents.

"I really did feel like it was a privilege" to serve on the council, Mr. Boyajian said. "It was fun. I am going to miss it."

Mr. Boyajian did not rule out a return to politics in the future.

Former legislator not running again

Joy Hearn had just stepped down after a 10-year run in the Rhode Island General Assembly, when she was asked to run for a spot on the town council.

The democrat said she found her time on the council very enjoyable — she completed a shortened term for another resident who had to step down for health reasons.

"After having the pleasure of representing Barrington at the state level I thought the shortened term at the town council would be a perfect way to transition to serving Barrington residents at a local level," Ms. Hearn wrote in a recent email. "When asked to run I jumped at the opportunity and have had such fun getting to really understand local government."

Ms. Hearn said Barrington is spoiled with volunteer talent at a number of levels.

"Our town's engine is the people who serve on our boards and commissions," she wrote. "I have the distinct pleasure of getting to know as a council liaison the members of the Veterans Council - those who have served our country so honorably — and the members of the Library Board, who oversee our treasured local library-the gem of Rhode Island’s library system.

"As the liaison to the Budget Forecasting Commission I served alongside a great group of COA (Committee on Appropriations) Reps, Council Reps as well as School Committee members. This group is a rarity as it brings together all branches of our local government."

Ms. Hearn said it was a pleasure serving alongside fellow councilors Mr. Boyajian, Kate Weymouth, Michael Carroll and Jacob Brier.

"It's been dynamic and I have had fun," she wrote.

"There comes a moment, at least for me, to take a pause, get my evenings back and regroup for my next venture. I’m not leaving Barrington and want to give others the opportunity to jump into elected office...there really is nothing like it!"

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