Nick and Mandi began A Better Amherst because we wanted to explain the elements of the proposed Council-Manager charter in Amherst and the reasons we supported it. In March 2018, the voters adopted the proposed charter, with a Town Council as their legislature and a Town Manager as their executive.

Since March 27, 2018, Nick has continued writing about Amherst’s government through this blog, accepting some help from guest commentators.

Nick Grabbe

Nick Grabbe has been following Amherst government for 37 years and has lived here since 1984. He was the editor of the Amherst Bulletin from 1980 to 1999, and was the coordinator of letters and op-eds during the charter debates of 1996, 2003 and 2005. From 1999 until his retirement in 2013, he wrote articles about Amherst government and schools, Hadley, religion and the environment for the Bulletin and Gazette. He was elected to the Charter Commission in 2016. He is a volunteer at the Amherst Survival Center, and writes a blog on simple living with his wife, Betsy Krogh.

Mandi Jo Hanneke

Mandi Jo Hanneke moved to Amherst in 2011. She was first elected as a member of Town Meeting in 2012 and has since served on the Electronic Voting Study Commission and the Rental Bylaw Implementation Group. She is an inactive member of the Massachusetts bar, having previously practiced law in Cambridge, MA. She currently keeps busy volunteering in the local community, most recently as a Court Appointed Special Advocate at Friends of Children. She plays viola in the Pioneer Valley Symphony, a community performing arts organization and is a member of its Board of Directors, having served as President for three years (2012-2015). She is Vice Chair of the Amherst Charter Commission.