2014-07-17 / Opinion

Service Has Been a Privilege

To the Editor:

I have decided not to run again for Town Council.

I considered it an honor, privilege, and pleasure to serve the residents of the great town of Middletown.

I think as a public servant, it's important to not overstay one's welcome. It is time to move on. I feel that my decisions have helped to have a positive impact on the town of Middletown during my three terms, and it is time to allow others the same opportunity. I would like to spend more time with my family and continue with the pursuit of other volunteer activities, including the educational programs that I have supported.

Historically, I have tried to do my homework on each issue and have always tried to do a thorough investigation of the issues at hand. I made decisions based on what I felt to be strong principles and values and stayed with this throughout the process, no matter how unpopular or lonely the stand was at the moment.

In addition, I tried to have a positive impact in Middletown, especially with important topics such as keeping tax rates low while maximizing our excellent service for residents, and various other issues as they arose, from wind turbines and roundabouts to Second and Third Beach facilities, and of course, coyotes. I gave attention to long range planning opportunities such as the potential Naval property acquisition, regionalizing our Newport County school systems, and on other education issues, too. This helped our students and ultimately led to a better economic climate for Rhode Island.

As president of the council, I worked hard to allow each councilor the opportunity to voice their opinion and encouraged extensive dialogue and strived to create a team environment.

I have enjoyed working with all of the members of the Town Councils, School Committees and administrations during my three terms in office.

It has been a pleasure to serve with Town Administrator Shawn Brown and his fine staff, as well. I feel there are none better.

I have always highly respected the opinion of Mike Miller, our town solicitor. He, like the others, truly cares about what is best for the town of Middletown. His talent will be extremely difficult to replace in the future.

Feedback from Shawn, Mike, my fellow councilors, and of course our residents has always been a very important ingredient in helping me to make my decisions on the issues at hand, but I always realized that, in the end, it was my decision, and vote, alone, to make. I took this responsibility very seriously.

It has been fun serving the residents of Middletown and giving back to the community. I encourage and ask others to run for office as well.

Thank you for the honor. Chris Semonelli

Middletown

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