CHESHIRE — Last week, longtime Town Council Chairman Rob Oris took his seat on the dais for the last time.
On Nov. 16, Oris, first elected to his seat in 2013, said his final goodbyes to the council and his colleagues. Oris chose not to run for reelection this year in order to spend more time with his family.
At the meeting, many members of the council as well as town government took the opportunity to thank Oris for his leadership and dedication to the town.
“I have served with you for four terms, or eight years,” said vice chair Tim Slocum. “… I wanted to just say thank you, on behalf of all of us, but I also wanted to acknowledge what you’ve been able to do, not just for our group up here, but for the community as a whole.
“I know that not only will you be missed and appreciated … but you will be called upon again because we think you can continue to serve this town in some capacity.” he added.
Councilor Peter Talbot commented on how strange it is that Oris is leaving the council, and how close they have become over the years.
“I want to thank you for your friendship and I want to thank you for your leadership,” he said.
Councilor Sylvia Nichols lauded Oris’ ability to speak on difficult topics and inform the public of important issues.
“Your ability to put words to a situation perfectly is to be admired,” she said. “As an older lady, I sometimes struggle with my words. I can write them, but I often have a hard time speaking them. … I appreciate the opportunity to work with you for all this time.”
Town Manager Sean Kimball, who was hired in 2017, had the opportunity to thank Oris for his guidance over the past several years.
“I don't think people understand the amount of time the chairman puts in. I think sometimes he deflects some of it, but, for example, we spent hours and hours working on the Bartlem South Project together, getting the hard work done,” he said. “It’s worth noting for everyone just how much time is put in by you and the rest of the council. … We’ve been through some significant events over the last three and a half years. If you’ll remember, my first week started with a tornado … and, funnily enough, now we’re ending with a tornado.”
Finally, Oris had the opportunity to speak.
“This night should not be about me — it’s about the community,” he said.
“I appreciate some of the personal accolades, but we’re a team and the reason we’re effective is because we are a team. Everyone of us has contributed to that team, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we bring different perspectives to the table. We have different viewpoints, and to me that’s what good governance is … in my opinion, the only way to have effective governance is to have everyone rowing in the same direction … in the end, I think we have all made good decisions and I think the community is better than where it was when I got here, not because of Rob Oris, but because of the collaboration of the group that served.”