Last night’s Board of Selectman meeting was the last one that selectman Richard “Dick” Dubow will attend for his current term on the BOS, and first selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice recognized him for his service at the start of the meeting.
Dubow’s current 6-year term was the latest one he served as part of the more than 30 years he has devoted to volunteering on Town of Wilton boards and commissions. Dubow has served on all of the town’s three major boards (Selectmen, Finance and Education); he previously chaired the Board of Finance, and, as Vanderslice pointed out, had at various times been put on the ballot by both the Wilton Democratic and Republican Town Committees.
In her comments, Vanderslice thanked him in particular for the last two years he served with her. “Clearly, Dick, you come to every meeting thoroughly prepared. You put a lot of thought into each meeting before you come, and certainly you provide a lot of thoughtful comment, a lot of history that you’ve brought to this, and as first selectwoman I have greatly appreciated it.”
Dubow brought a statement to read.
“To the voters of Wilton–Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated, recent and past, I want to say thank you for electing me to the various boards on which I have had the pleasure to serve for almost 30 years. It has been an honor, a privilege and for the most part a joy to represent all of you. I also want to congratulate those recently elected to public office, and in particular Deb McFadden, who I am so delighted will be back at this table once again. You can be sure Deb will be an outstanding selectman, and Wilton is indeed fortunate to have her service. Looking forward, in the short term, my plans are to step back, take a break, and hopefully gain some perspective from watching rather than doing. In the longer term, you can be sure I will have more to say. I will continue to speak out on issues, and should events move me, perhaps even one day consider serving in public office again. In any case, I will always be here to do whatever I can, to help benefit our town.
“Looking back over the many years of public service, I have had the good fortune to work with a number of extraordinary people, several exceptional first selectmen–from Bob Russell, to Paul Hannah, to Bill Brennan and now to you Lynne; four outstanding school superintendents; numerous fellow board members and other volunteers and a remarkably talented and dedicated group of town employees. First and foremost, I cannot say enough about the people who work for our town. In ways most will never completely know or fully appreciate, each and every one of them consistently exhibits the highest standards of integrity and, without exception, they work diligently and on a daily basis to provide the first rate services you and I as residents and citizens of Wilton have come to expect. The people I’m talking about are department heads, supervisors, and each and every one of our employees who work on the front lines: those who plow the roads and take care of our facilities; who teach our children; they greet us at the library, they keep us safe; they provide social services to those in need, and yes, even those who collect our taxes.
“Time after time, I’ve seen them go the extra mile, often without ever being asked or formally thanked. To them I say a special thank you for it they who make us sitting at this table look good.
“I would also like to thank my fellow board members with whom I’ve served, many of you have become close personal friends. While we have not always agreed on every issue–in fact at times have I strenuously disagreed–never for a moment have I questioned your commitment or dedication to our town. During my years of service, I have tried (I hope with some degree of success) to represent certain principles and values. I’ve tried to listen to those with whom I might disagree and always consider points of view that are not my own. I’ve tried to leave partisanship at the door as we work together to find common ground. I’ve tried to pose the difficult and challenging questions others at times may have been reluctant to ask. I’ve tried to speak for and represent those in our community who are either unable or unwilling to speak for themselves, not only those who speak the loudest.
“Finally I’ve tried to avoid, whenever possible, the urge to routinely choose the most expedient, low cost solution to a problem, especially when I know in the end, that choice will invariably cost taxpayers more. And I’ve tried to assess the impact of each decision I make, for those fortunate enough to live here in Wilton today, as well as those who will live in our town a generation or two from now. I hope I have been at least somewhat successful in my efforts.
“I want to say a special thank you to my wife, and my family for their support. Over the years there were probably far too many nights at meetings that kept me away from the family dinner table, too many times we didn’t get to take a family vacation or had to return home early because of a scheduled board meeting; and certainly all to much time listening to me rant or complain about one matter or another. Believe me when I say I could not have done this without their support.
“Despite all that, whether you have watched from the sidelines for 30 years or recently moved here to Wilton, I say this to everyone: Please don’t ever hesitate to get involved and stay involved; volunteer to serve in one way or another, step up and run for public office, remain informed and speak out on the issues. And above all, please vote, because that way, and only that way can we preserve our democracy. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that once again I say, “Thank you to all of you for allowing me the privilege of what I consider a very good ride.”
His remarks were greeted with rousing applause from a packed meeting room.
DTC chair Deb McFadden offered her thanks during public remarks:
“Thank you. You have served this town, incredibly for so many years, on so many different boards and commissions; not only elected offices but building committees–many of the buildings in town are the result of your participation. You’ve also served behind the scenes on special project committees that the public is not even aware of. You’ve worked, when asked, on virtually every project in this town in some way or another. I want to acknowledge your incredible service to our town. You are in the unique position of being an elected official who has been elected by both parties, but as one of the Democrats in town, how proud we are of all the work you’ve done in carrying the banner of the Democrats, so thank you.”