Oris Says Goodbye To Council After 8 Years

Oris Says Goodbye To Council After 8 Years

Last week, longtime Town Council Chairman Rob Oris took his seat on the dais for the last time.

On Nov. 16, Oris, first elected to his seat in 2013, said his final goodbyes to the Council and his colleagues. Oris chose not to run for reelection this year in order to spend more time with his family.

At the meeting, many members of the Council as well as Town government took the opportunity to thank Oris for his leadership and dedication to the town. 

“I have served with you for four terms, or eight years,” began Tim Slocum, Vice Chair and Oris’ longtime colleague. “… I wanted to just say thank you, on behalf of all of us, but I also wanted to acknowledge what you’ve been able to do, not just for our group up here, but for the community as a whole.”

Slocum commented on Oris’ humble beginnings, starting off as a young man from Naugatuck.

“I think you’re the best thing to come over here since seamless rubber tires, or whatever they made over at Uniroyal” he joked. “Your parents obviously did a good job, and Monica (Oris’ wife) must have tempered you even more because when you joined the Council you came with a loud voice. …”

Slocum went on to explain how Oris had always been ready for whatever the Council needed him to do, and because of that Oris gained a lot of respect from Slocum and the rest of the Council. 

“I know that not only will you be missed and appreciated from this Council, but you will be called upon again because we think you can continue to serve this town in some capacity. …” he said. 

Councilor Peter Talbot commented on how strange it is that Oris is leaving the Council, and how close they have become over the years. 

“I want to thank you for your friendship and I want to thank you for your leadership,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed our eight years together and I know that you will be around. You’re not going anywhere.”

Councilor David Borowy, who has served with Oris for only one term but was also a Councilor from 1985 to 2001, spoke of the respect he had for Oris’ ability to bring people together.

“I knew when I first met you eight years ago that you would have an incredible ability to get people to work together for the betterment of the town,” he said. “I appreciate all that you’ve done to be able to bring a lot of different people together to work positively for the town.”

Councilor Sylvia Nichols lauded Oris’ ability to speak on difficult topics and inform the public of important issues. 

“Your ability to put words to a situation perfectly is to be admired,” she began. “As an older lady, I sometimes struggle with my words. I can write them, but I often have a hard time speaking them. … I appreciate the opportunity to work with you for all this time. …”

Chief of Police Neil Dryfe, who was in the audience to present the Public Safety Awards, took time to thank Oris for the positive relationship he fostered with the police, and for his overall support of public safety.

“I would like to thank you for the support you’ve shown to the Cheshire Police Department, and the men and women of the organization over the course of your tenure here,” he said. “I don’t think that there is anyone in this room who can say that we’ve lacked equipment, support, staffing, just about everything … you’ve supported, along with the rest of the Council … We appreciate getting to work with you over the last several terms.”

Town Manager Sean Kimball, who was hired in 2017, had the opportunity to thank Oris for his guidance over the past several years. 

“I don't think people understand the amount of time the chairman puts in. I think sometimes he deflects some of it, but, for example, we spent hours and hours working on the Bartlem South Project together, getting the hard work done,” he said. “It’s worth noting for everyone just how much time is put in by you and the rest of the Counci. … We’ve been through some significant events over the last three and a half years. If you’ll remember, my first week started with a tornado … and, funnily enough, now we’re ending with a tornado.”

Finally, Oris had the opportunity to speak on his years leading the Council and how much he will miss being a part of the Council.

“This night should not be about me — it’s about the community,” he began. “I appreciate some of the personal accolades, but we’re a team and the reason we’re effective is because we are a team. Everyone of us has contributed to that team, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we bring different perspectives to the table. We have different viewpoints, and to me that’s what good governance is … in my opinion, the only way to have effective governance is to have everyone rowing in the same direction … in the end, I think we have all made good decisions and I think the community is better than where it was when I got here, not because of Rob Oris, but because of the collaboration of the group that served.”

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