, Newburyport, MA

January 6, 2014

A privilege to serve neighbors on the council

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

With the passing of my term as city councilor for Newburyport’s 4th Ward and my tenure of eight years on the council, I want to take a moment to express to my neighbors what an honor and privilege it has been to serve them and my hometown.

For me, these years have flown by almost in a whirl, as I tried to reflect on the many issues and debates we engaged in the last four terms. It is easier to remember the many friends I have made and the acquaintances I have gained from, for these are the more memorable and generally pleasurable impressions I’ve gained. The people whom I have served with, each of whom I have learned from, have enriched me with their company and their dedication to our community. I can say with great satisfaction that the debates and votes we took could be passionately polar, but the respect for one another was never diminished by our opposition on issues. The camaraderie forged on the floor of the council and reinforced in those respites post-meeting will be a treasured memory of the pleasant task of local government.

I’ve said many times that Newburyport’s problems are good ones, reinforced by my experience in too many other areas of the country, places that do not struggle with parking or overdevelopment or zoning challenges, but with vacant downtowns, crumbling infrastructure and dwindling opportunity. Trying to manage success is a gift and a pleasure we in Newburyport need to remind ourselves of, although an important challenge nonetheless.

I want to thank each of the councilors past and present with whom I served, and to Mayors Moak and Holaday, who led the executive branch admirably during my tenure. And to those who will succeed me, I wish only the best of fortune and the greatest of success in helping and guiding our community. It is no small task you choose to endeavor. I have learned that public service is both challenging and rewarding and I hope you find it so, as well.

But I wish most to thank the citizens, the voters, our neighbors, who care so passionately and fiercely for our city, who vote in great percentages, who speak so freely and unapologetically and who come out time and again for so many public events, so many projects, ceremonies, fundraisers, road races, bake sales, cleanups and the list goes on and on. Newburyporters make this city such a special place to live, such a pleasure to come home to. Placing your trust in me to represent your interests is humbling and gratifying.

I’ve benefitted greatly from my experience in government, something I recommend highly to anyone with a desire to return something to the community. Meeting so many of my neighbors personally and speaking with, listening to and learning from so many of them has been an education of a lifetime and a priceless experience. Public service has deepened and broadened my passion for Newburyport and what a great place it is to live. I offer my heartfelt thanks to them and remain at their service.

Tom Jones