NEW CASTLE, N.Y. - While Town Supervisor Barabara Gerrard and Town Councilman Michael Wolfensohn were being honored by friends and colleagues at Town Hall on Tuesday night, the two retiring board members instead deflected the attention to the residents who elected them.
"Appropriately, my first and foremost thank yous are to all the residents I’ve served for the past 12 years," said Gerrard. "It has been my pleasure and my privilage to serve you."
Countly Legislator Mike Kaplowitz (D-Somers) and Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R,C-Goldens Bridge) were among the many who showed their appreciation for the outgoing board members.
“For all of us we realize that while you have to run politically, you must serve apolitically," said Castelli. "Both Barbara and Michael have proven that is exactly the way they govern."
As a going away present for Gerrard and Wolfensohn, Kaplowitz, along with the County Legislature's office, recognized the two with their own separate days. In Westchester County, Dec. 14, 2011 was named Barbara Gerrard Day and Dec. 15, 2011 will be Michael Wolfensohn Day.
"We have a public works department with eight people in it. We have an understaffed town clerk’s office. We’re understaffed everywhere," said Wolfensohn. "While we’re really the face of the town, we’re really nothing without them. They deserve to have their days named after them."
Also sending along thanks was Chappaqua residents Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Clintons typically walk alongside Gerrard and the rest of the town board in New Castle's Memorial Day parade every May.
"Since joining the board 12 years ago, you have been a ubiquitous sight in our town, boosting local businesses, sharing new ideas and striving to make our community an even greater place to live," said the Clintons in a joint letter to Gerrard. "We feel so fortunate to have benefited from your dedication to public service throughout all the years we’ve called Chappaqua our home.”
Tuesday was also the final town board meeting for Gerrard and Wolfensohn. Their replacements, Susan Carpenter and Jason Chapin, will be sworn in at Town Hall on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.
While Gerrard may be leaving the town board for good, Wolfensohn acknowledged that his retirement may only be temporary. "I do look forward to serving again. I’m not going away as much as some might want me to. It’s not gonna happen. I loved serving, I love the town, I love the people."