Editor's note: This article concludes the Transcript's series of profiles on the four candidates for Selectmen in Adams. The town election is Monday, May 6, and articles on each candidate have appeared, with the exception of Michael Young. Efforts to reach Young as of press time were unsuccessful.
ADAMS -- A veteran public servant returns to the ballot Monday, as former Selectman Donald Sommer seeks to resume his work on the board.
"My slogan should be: The old guy with new ideas," the 79-year-old Sommer said in an interview this week. "I have to underline my successful experience -- I've turned around three businesses, and recently opened a restaurant in town."
Sommer, owner of Greylock Apartments, Commercial Street's Haflinger Haus and Sommer Hill Farms, has a long history in Adams government.
His resume includes one term as a selectman, nine years on the Finance Committee and seven years as a member of both the Redevelopment Authority and school committee.
Sommer wants a dog in the fight regarding some primary issues facing the town, and says he'll offer support in some cases, constructive criticism in others.
Starting with the latter, he thinks board members ought to be more active in making inroads with people looking to start up businesses in the Berkshires.
Nuclea Biotechnologies, a company that recently set up shop in Pittsfield, provides a perfect example, he said.
"My point is nobody from Adams reached out to [President and CEO Patrick J. Muraca, of Nuclea]," Sommer said, offering Memorial School as a spot in town that might have been a fit.
And regarding Memorial, Sommer disagrees with a $50,000 budget item recently approved by the Finance Committee to assess the building's condition.
"Four years ago we had such a study done and it's sitting on a bookcase somewhere," he said. "I think we know what we need to do. Take that money and hire a part-time marketing specialist who'll be able to focus on opening up the building to a larger market."
Sommer added that current plans to relocate Adams Youth Center to the former school building "have real promise."
Sommer also spoke of partnering with neighboring communities in "bulk purchasing" to cut costs.
An asphalt grinder, for instance, split between Adams, Cheshire and North Adams could save thousands and fix up tens of miles of road, Sommer said.
Two improvements Sommer considers no-brainers for the town would be founding a tree commission and a farmers market.
The tree commission, which Sommer had planned before he was voted off the board in 2010 and subsequently fell by the wayside, would beautify the town, Sommer said.
A farmers market, he thinks, would fit "right on the front lawn of Town Hall, where it could draw in the biggest crowd."
"One of the things that bugs me is when people get going about why certain things can't be done," Sommer said. "Don't tell me why we can't do something, let's work together on making it happen."
Sommer supports current Greylock Glen development plans as well.
A perennial issue among candidates before town elections, Sommer believes the tax rate gets too much attention instead of what those taxes are buying -- how services and investments can broaden the tax base and build the town's future economic backbone.
In Sommer's view, enabling the latter makes a better community, rather than year-after-year trimming of the budget, which he believes is a strategy of regression.
Finally, Sommer touted experience.
"I have absolutely great relationships with state and federal entities," Sommer said. "You have to be willing to make that trip to Boston, shake hands and put faces to names. It's something I have done and will do."
The town election is Monday, May 6. Sommer vies against three others: Richard Blanchard, Joseph Nowak and Michael Young -- for two open seats on the board.
To reach Phil Demers, email