Departing Chestertown Council members Linda Kuiper and Marty Stetson were recognized for their service to the community at the council meeting, Dec. 16.
Mayor Chris Cerino read proclamations recognizing their contributions and gave each of them a key to the city. Also, he proclaimed Dec. 16 Marty Stetson Day in Chestertown, and Dec. 21 Linda Kuiper Day. Both proclamations were greeted with applause by the other council members and the audience.
The proclamation for Stetson, after noting his three terms on the council, cited his decades of public service beginning with his career in law enforcement, both as a state policeman and as chief of the Chestertown Police Department. It noted his long residence in Kent County and Chestertown, where he became involved in activities benefiting local residents and families. Cerino cited Stetson’s work with the Optimist Club and the Tea Party Festival committee, plus “his work for our canine friends” as exemplified in his work to create the town’s dog park.
Stetson responded during his ward report, saying that his career in public service began with his joining the U.S. Air Force after graduating high school almost 65 years ago. In addition to his police work, he served as Alcoholic Beverage Inspector for Kent County before running for the 4th Ward council seat. Of his council career, he said, “It has not always been a fun and games experience, but by far it has been a very positive one. There have been times when what I have said or suggested has not been well received from some of the public. That’s OK, that is democracy.” He said the comments on social media sometimes upset his wife Patricia, whom he cited as his strongest supporter. “I have been very lucky as of this last July we will have been married 60 years,” he said.
Stetson praised Cerino and remaining councilmen David Foster and Ellsworth Tolliver, saying to the people of Chestertown, “you are in good hands.” He said incoming council members Meghan Efland and Tom Herz “seem like really nice and capable people.” He also praised Town Manager Bill Ingersoll, whom he said “has been here since Moses came off the mountain with the ten commandments.” He called Town Clerk Jen Mulligan “as competent as she is nice and pretty,” and gave additional praise to other town staff. He concluded by saying, with evident emotion, “Chestertown, I love you and have since I moved here some 50 plus years ago.”
Kuiper’s proclamation recognized her as “a councilperson of the people,” citing her excellent service during her two terms. Cerino described her as “relentlessly watching over the needs of the 2nd Ward and working toward making it and the town a better place in which to live and work.” He noted that she had raised her children here and engaged in numerous activities benefiting other families and residents. The proclamation noted her service with the Chestertown Farmers Market, the Tea Party Festival committee, the Downtown Chestertown Association, the Historical Society of Kent County, and the Kent Center as evidence of “Linda’s dedication to the quality of life of her community.”
Kuiper, in her ward report, said, “I would like to think the people and businesses in Ward 2 know what they expect from a councilperson. It’s been an absolute and total pleasure working with everybody – all the organizations and businesses and individuals.”
Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver said that working for two years with Kuiper and Stetson had given him an admiration for their contributions to “the way this august body works” and a lesson in what the council could accomplish. He said he hoped that the new council members and the community as a whole would take it as an opportunity to look forward to finding ways to move the community ahead. He said he was sad to be losing “all these great minds and great resources.”
Cerino said in closing that he appreciates anyone who makes the effort to become involved in the government of the town and run for office, regardless of their politics. “I really respect the work you guys have done,” he said to Kuiper and Stetson. Stetson announced his retirement late in the summer, after three council terms, while Kuiper failed to win reelection after two terms.
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