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Comings and goings in Walpole politics

July 17, 2014

Former Walpole Selectman Eric Kraus has left the job that had forced him to leave the Board after one term last year, setting up speculation that he intends to launch another campaign for Selectman next year.

Kraus, who took a job with Bacardi, based in Bermuda, in 2013, left that job shortly before this year’s Spring Town Meeting. He has reportedly begun informing people that he may run again for the town’s top board next year. That doesn’t surprise many political observers – when he left last year, he vowed to return to politics again.

Selectmen recently appointed Kraus to be a member of the Cable TV Task Force that is developing a new plan for cable access in the community.

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Walpole Finance Committee Chairman Larry Pitman, also a RTM from Precinct 1, stepped down from the Finance Committee upon the expiration of his term on July 1. He was replaced on the Fin. Com. by former Precinct 4 RTM Mark Trudell, who just lost his seat in Town Meeting in this year’s election. Trudell was known as one of Town Meeting’s hardest-working members, routinely questioning articles on the warrant, doing extensive research on the issues, and questioning certain items in an intelligent, articulate manner. Trudell works for a construction company as their Controller. He is a CPA, and has kids either currently or previously in the school system.

Rockwood said “no other changes” are expected at this time in the makeup of the three committees that he appoints. Five members of the Fin. Com., including Pitman, were up for re-appointment this year, along with two members of the Capital Budget Committee, and one member of the Personnel Board.

As Moderator, he appoints members of all three of those committees.

Rockwood won re-election in June against attorney Tom Brady by a margin of fewer than 100 votes.

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Speaking of Finance Committee chairmen, Tom Jalkut has left Walpole permanently.

Jalkut, who was Finance Committee chairman when he was famously removed from that committee, along with four other members, by Town Moderator Jon Rockwood in 2010, was once considered a rising star in local politics. He was seen as a potential opponent to Rockwood in the wake of that 2010 incident, but he never made any sort of town-wide run and let his term as an RTM expire without running again.

Jalkut and his wife sold their home on Baker Street earlier this month, and now own a condo in Boston, where Jalkut works as an attorney.

Jalkut is the latest in a troubling exodus of hard-working taxpayers who have departed Walpole for other locales in recent months, looking for better communities.

 

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