Select Board candidate profile: Frank Gracie
As a third-generation Dartmouth resident, Frank Gracie has seen a lot of change in town. He still remembers when the Dartmouth Mall was a bustling golf course and the entirety of Route 6 could be traversed without a single slowdown.
“It was only about six or seven thousand people in town,” Gracie recalled. “There was no traffic, lots of cows, lots of fields, lots of woods. It was a lot more peaceful. You didn’t have all the hustle and bustle you seem to have today.”
Although Dartmouth has changed, Gracie’s passion for the town has not, as he is seeking his second term on the Select Board. He is running unopposed, and hopes to continue his work bettering the town.
Gracie is leading the in-house committee to hire Dartmouth’s new town administrator, and hopes to continue that process. Dartmouth’s former town administrator, David Cressman, announced his retirement last year. His last day of work was February 16.
“That’s an important decision,” Gracie said. “David’s hard to replace. You don’t get a lot of David Cressmans that cross your path”
He also hopes to work on town budget issues. New growth is slowing down, and Gracie said the biggest challenge is looking for revenue sources that can be counted on to increase every year, as opposed to one-time additions.
“As your expenses go up you need something to parallel that,” Gracie said. “Those revenue sources aren’t easy to find.”
Gracie got his start in politics shortly after retiring from Polaroid, where he had worked as an advanced manufacturing engineer for 33 years. He began working on the Tax Classification Committee, Budget Revenue Task Force, and the Privatization Study Group, among others.
“I decided I needed something to do, so I started working and giving back to the town, partially at my wife’s suggestion,” Gracie said.
He was offered a position on the appointed Finance Committee in 2010. Always a fan of math and numbers, he served on that committee until 2015 when he won election to the Select Board.
Even before deciding to get involved in town politics, Gracie watched the meetings on television. He hasn’t missed a meeting since the 1990s, and learned a great deal about how the town and effective governing operates that way.
“Sometimes I wasn’t quite sure what they were talking about, which is why one of the things I’ve decided to do - especially as chairman - I try to make sure that we explain stuff so that people watching at home will have a better understanding.”
Gracie lives on Tucker Road with his wife Yvette.