Levy has served as a selectman for six years, as a member of the Durham Fire Company for 28 years, as Fire Chief for 10 years, and owned Durham Veterinary Hospital for 29 years. Levy also oversaw the creation of the Veterinary Technician program at Middlesex Community College.
State representation laws prohibit single-party domination on town boards, so Levy’s Board of Selectmen replacement can not be a Republican, like current Selectman John Szewczyk and First Selectman Laura Francis.
The Durham Democratic Town Committee selected Tom Hennick for consideration. After his official nomination, he will be voted on by the remaining selectmen.
Hennick works at the state’s Freedom of Information Office and was the Regional School District No. 13 Board of Education Chair for 10 years.
“Tom is a great guy,” Levy told the Town Times. If approved, Hennick would serve until the term expires in 2019.
Francis, Town Clerk Kim Garvis, and the town’s attorney are looking into the timing of the resignation. If the resignation and nomination are quickly coordinated, the remaining BOS can vote on the replacement. If the seat is vacant for an extended period of time, according to town charter, the process changes, so the officials are coordinating to prevent that from happening.
At the Monday, Sept. 11 meeting of the BOS, Levy submitted his letter of resignation, effective on the date of the next meeting, Monday, Oct. 2.
Levy’s letter noted his time both as a public official with a focus on public safety and the town’s veterinarian. The letter read, in part, “While it was not a public service position, I feel most attached to Durham through my 29-year tenure as Durham’s veterinarian. I will always remember fondly the pets and their families I met as the owner of the Durham Veterinary Hospital where it was also my privilege to care for the canine teams of the Connecticut State Police Canine Unit as State Police Veterinary Surgeon.”
While noting that he would be back for one more meeting, Francis and Szewczyk took a moment to praise Levy and thank him for his service. “What an honor it has been to serve with you,” Francis told the selectman.
Durham Tax Collector Martin French said, “I have found Steve to be thoughtful and committed to Durham’s future, especially in the area of public safety. We will all miss his insight and wisdom related to what is best for Durham.”
Public safety has been a hallmark of Levy’s service to the community. In addition to his time with the Fire Company, he served for a time as Durham’s Emergency Management Director, founded the Durham Animal Rescue Team, and created Durham’s CERT Team.
Looking back on his BOS tenure, Levy characterizes the time as one of efficiency in leadership and points to the current climate as the most challenging moment. “I think right now we’re in the most important period, which is budgetary issues. The fact is that we’ve been so responsible with our own budget and the state is not coming across with something that lets us plan and execute efficiently.”
According to Levy, the potential creation of a community center and an emergency services complex are among the important, on-going issues for Durham.
“I think the strengths [of Durham] are the community, the volunteer-ism, and the rural nature. It’s just such a beautiful place to live.”
In advance of the move, Dede Levy resigned as the chair of the Durham Democratic Town Committee. The party has already selected Martin French as its new chair and, according to Dede Levy, is ready to launch a slate for all positions except a P&Z alternate in November. “I think we’ve got a good bunch of people who are running. So I’m pleased,” Dede Levy said.
Dede Levy said she will miss “everything” about Durham and said “I love it here, I’m going to miss it, but there’s an active Democratic community down where we’re going.” Dede Levy has already been in touch with the local committee in Georgia. “I’ll still have a political future down there, so I’m looking forward to that.”
French said, “Dede is very much the ‘people person’ of the Levy team. Her kindness and compassion are what make her a ‘good Democrat.’ A label she wears proudly.”
Dede also currently serves on the Senior Board and had been a member of Durham’s Public Association of Library Supporters.