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The Stokes Report: Thank You For Letting Me Serve

Some thoughts as I write my final article.

I want to say thank you to everyone in our community for two things. One, thank you for electing me to the Enfield Town Council as a Councilman at large, and two, thank you for supporting me as a Board of Education member the past four years.  

A couple of weeks ago, I was sworn in to serve the next two years on the council, and last week, as the new Board of Education was sworn in, I concluded my tenure as Board of Education Chairman.  

The past four years on the Board of Education have been a rewarding and exciting experience. During those four years we made advances in education that I hope will prove to be fruitful in our kids’ education.  

It was not always easy, and at times it seemed like we would get so caught up in discussion that we would never come to any decisions that improve our system. The beginning of my second term began rough, and the Board was not unified. But about six months into the term, we began to find our rhythm.    

Every organization has a rhythm, and rhythm is what moves an organization forward. A rhythm comes about when three dynamics come alive. The first is trust, where we begin to have faith in all members and their abilities. The second is communication, where we transcend from talking at others and begin to talk with them. The third is courage to make hard decisions and do it across party lines.  

The outgoing Board of Education found their rhythm. For the final eighteen months of our term, we conducted our business like nine people united in purpose. This does not mean we agreed on everything, or that we did not debate and even argue our viewpoints. It means that in spite of our differences, we found common ground and advanced our district forward.  

Now, people may not have supported all our decisions. The school reorganization will continue to be debated in the public as to its merits, but no one can deny that it was accomplished by nine people moving in one direction.  

To be honest, we will not know the full results of the K-8 reorganization until the end of the school year, and even over the years ahead. But we did something that we believe aids education.  

It is my hope that the newly commissioned Board of Education finds its own rhythm. Nine talented and good people have taken their seats, and together they can make education in Enfield a priority. If the majority party ignores the minority party in the process, it will be a difficult two years. If the minority party balks at everything the majority party and its leadership decide, it will be a tumultuous two years. Only simple respect across the board will create success.

So now I begin my time on the Town Council. I am excited about what I can add to the dialog, and I hope that together we make wise decisions.  

During the campaign, many of us running for the Town Council spoke about beginning our term by setting goals. This week we begin this process with a special meeting for that purpose. Under the leadership of Mayor Scott Kaupin, we will be able to evaluate our town’s needs and the resources available to us.   Mayor Kaupin brings eighteen years of experience to the table. He also brings a unique gift to bring us together and keep us on task. There is no one better for the times we live in to guide the Council forward.  

It is also important to hear from our citizens as to what you view as top priorities for the next two years. As your representatives, we need your input and ideas on what needs to be included in our goals. I encourage everyone to contact Council members and express your feelings about what is lacking, what you like and most importantly where we need to go.  

Now that I have been seated as a new Town Council member, I have decided to make some adjustments concerning my other activities. One of the most enjoyable things that I have done on and off for the past six years is write for local newspapers. This past year I was given the opportunity to write for the Enfield Patch and I want to thank the Editor, Tim Jensen, for this wonderful opportunity. I have decided to conclude my tenure as a Patch Columnist so I can devote my time in other areas. I want to thank the readers for allowing me to express my thoughts and ideas in print. I have received many comments over the past year. Some have been supportive and a few have challenged my writings. But, I do appreciate everyone who let me know what you were thinking. Best wishes during this holiday season. As your Councilman, please feel free to contact with any need that arises.

Pat Droney November 28, 2011 at 06:33 PM
Greg...I have enjoyed reading your columns over the years and have always appreciated your insight. I will miss your writing.
JAMES LAGANA November 28, 2011 at 09:50 PM
How lucky the Town of Enfield is to have intelligent, honest, ethical people like you and Scott Kaupin willing to contribute your personal time for everyone's benefit. I wish we had people like you two in Washington!

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