By Rich Place

The recent meeting of the Concord Town Board was a bittersweet one for outgoing Town Supervisor Gary Eppolito, who served in the position since 2005 and concludes a local political career that spans nearly 40 years.

During a relatively light meeting in terms of business, Eppolito took time to reflect on his political career. He did not seek reelection and will be succeeded in January by current board member Clyde Drake.

“I must admit my retirement is bittersweet, as I know I’ll miss all of you,” Eppolito said, often fighting back tears. “I know in my heart it is the right thing for my health, for my family (and) for the town.”

He added that “new blood” in town government “often brings new ideas and new enthusiasm.”

Eppolito thanked, by name, a handful of town employees, including members of the town board and spanning a range of departments including the clerk, librarians, dog control officer, assessor, attorneys and plenty of others.

But when he got to his secretary, Denise Ciszak, Eppolito became choked up and had to pause as he read from his prepared remarks.

“I don’t know how this lady does it,” he said, noting the plethora of responsibilities Ciszak oversees. “God bless you. You are our heart and soul.

“I don’t recall Denise ever having a bad day,” he continued. “It’s truly a blessing to work with her — with someone who truly loves her job. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Denise the past two years and I will miss her.”

Eppolito remarked he was caught off guard when asked recently about his accomplishments, but said “the ones that came quickest to mind” were the completion of the senior center, the arrival of Mercy EMS to the community, working on the town’s master plan, remodeling of the Lucy Bensley Center and upgrading the town’s highway equipment.

“But the thing that came to mind was (that) not one of those things could not have been accomplished without you guys,” he said, motioning to the town board. “Every one was accomplished by a board that worked together. God bless you and I thank you for all your help because none of that could be accomplished without you.”

Eppolito said he and his wife plan to see more of their children and grandchildren, but will remain in the Springville community. Originally from the Brant/North Collins area, Eppolito said, “The village of Springville and town of Concord have always been and will always be our home, just like it has been for almost 50 years.”

Several guests in attendance at the town board meeting took time during the public comment period to thank Eppolito for his service and congratulate him on his retirement.

“I have known Gary for many, many years now and I just wanted to come tonight — I know it’s your last board meeting — and say thank you,” said Brenda O’Neil of Rural Transit Service. She presented him with a certificate on behalf of the group’s board to show appreciation.

Among business at the meeting, which is the final one of the year for the Concord Town Board, board members heard from Eleanor Eschborn, director of Senior Services, about the past year at the senior center.

She said the senior services combined saw 3,795 people throughout its various programs in 2016, a number that jumped to 10,420 so far in 2017.

“I’m very proud of that number and we could not do it without all the volunteers and the people that come in,” she said.

She said there “are lots of new things” anticipated for the coming year, mostly beginning in the spring.

The Concord Town Board will hold its organizational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 at the Town Hall following by a board meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting will replace the board’s regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 11, although board members did note a second meeting January is likely.