Town Councilor JoAnn Cathcart is reknown for her work and dedication to public service.
So when it was revealed that she had suddenly resigned from the council, it came as a shock to many.
In a letter to Town Clerk Patricia McNielley dated Aug. 18, Cathcart announced her resignation. The letter offered words of gratitude for her fellow councilors, but did not detail a reason for her resignation. According to Town Manager Mike Borg, Cathcart resigned for personal reasons. Cathcart did not respond for further comment.
“I’m not obligated to go into further detail, but what I can say is that we will all miss her on the council,” Borg said. “ We have had wonderful discussions and input and perspective. Especially during her tenure as chair of the finance subcommittee.”
“It is with profound regret that I hereby tender my resignation as a member of the Town Council,” Catchart wrote. “I wish all the members well in their future endeavors, and thank them for their efforts. I also would like to thank Town Manager, Michael Borg, for his hard work and great conversations.”
During a council meeting on Aug. 22, Council President Justin Pare made the announcement of Cathcart’s resignation. He highlighted Cathcart’s work on the council as the chair of the Finance Subcommittee and her work as chair of the Bylaws Subcommittee.
“On behalf of myself and the entire Town Council and myself I want to say thank you to councilor Cathcart,” said Pare. “For years of service to the town and for the last few years on the council.”
Cathcart’s successor is Dan Donnovan–a candidate who ran for council in 2021 but came in 10th in voting. Per the town’s amended charter, when one of the nine council seats becomes vacant, the candidate with the next highest vote count will fill the vacancy and serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
Cathcart, who grew up in North Attleborough, has been involved in public service for more than 30 years. She served as a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) where she voted on several town related issues, served as part of the Commission on Disabilities, acted as both assistant to the town administrator and as interim town administrator, and was the town’s ADA Coordinator.
In 2019, she, along with eight other individuals were elected as North Attleborough’s first Town Council following the change from a Board of Selectmen government to a system that incorporates a Town Council and a Town Manager. Cathcart and fellow council member Julie Boyce were the first two women to serve on the council.
In 2022, Cathcart was responsible for ensuring $5 million would be allocated towards the construction of new athletic facilities for North Attleborough High School—a priority for many residents of North Attleborough.
In her resignation letter, Cathcart indirectly tells the town that even though her leaving the council is a shock to many, she is glad that she spent the time there helping people.
“While I know that change is difficult for many people, change gives us the opportunity to move forward together,” she wrote. I am happy to have been part of some of these changes. When we work together, North Attleborough shines.”