HARRISON – A city luncheon honoring three longtime members of Harrison City Council was held last week at Harrison City Hall. And while a delicious meal was enjoyed by all, along with a special farewell “Thank you” cake, there were no auspicious words shared on that occasion.
At the Nov. 7 meeting of the Harrison City Council, however, proper farewells and heartfelt appreciation and good wishes were abundant as Council bid adieu to departing Mayor Stacy Stocking and Council member Connie Cauchi.
Both Cauchi and Stocking were moved by the heartfelt farewell offered them by city employees and their fellow council members, and proffered some sincere thoughts of their own. Cauchi, who has served the city for 13 years, kept her comments short and to the point.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody,” she said. “You guys have been wonderful. And good luck to you tomorrow. And thank you, everybody – I’ll try not to cry.”
The mayor, who service to the city spanned 20 years, offered comments more reflective and encompassing.
“To my council: thank you, each one of you,” he said. “To our guests: sitting up here is not the easiest task for any of us. We make a lot of decisions that aren’t the right decisions in your eyes, but the right decisions in our eyes. We try to lead the city the best that we can. We try to provide our employees with the tools and equipment to make their job safer and more productive. So we make a lot of decisions a lot of the times, and all of us don’t do it for the money – we do it because we’re passionate about Harrison and we care. If you Google “city council and mayor” you see a big income, and that’s not true. Google’s off by a lot. My council members are right around $700-$800 a year and mayor’s just above that. So, truly we do it because we care and we’re passionate about our town.”
Stocking went on to note things Council members sponsor out of their own pockets, such as the annual high school scholarships and baseball.
“It’s a big commitment,” he said. “And you’ll see that … a lot of us stay on the council for a very long time, so we are committed. Turnover’s hard; becoming new council members is hard.”
Stocking then noted having felt honored to sit next to recently-appointed Council member Garrett Wood, as Stocking had sat next to Wood’s father when he was mayor.
“Our employees are stellar,” Stocking said. “I think they do a great job in the community. Our city guys keep everything clean in the winter, clean in the summer. All the things we add onto their list when we get grants for different projects – they’re stepping up to the plate, taking care of that.
“Our firefighters are going out in inclement weather, miserable weather to save your houses, our houses, our lives, our pets’ lives. And that’s a really big commitment as well.
“Front office, you take all the crap,” he added. “So do the other departments, but you guys get the majority of the calls that shield a lot of us from having to deal with that – not that we don’t, because we do – we get a lot of that.
“We have seen a lot of changes in our community,” Stocking said. “During my tenure, if it wasn’t for the group of people that we have – Council, City front office, DPW, fire department – we’ve seen a lot of changes in this town in the last few years. We’ve seen a lot of improvements, and I know that the community’s going to continue going forward, and we’re going to continue seeing those advancements in our community. And I’m proud that our town is as advanced as it is with our little bit of industry that we have – it’s all because of our taxpayers. It’s because of being fiscally sound and managing the money the proper way. So, kudos to you guys. Keep up the great work. I’m proud of each of you, you’ve got a big task ahead. With that being said, thank you to each of you. It’s been a great ride.”
Mayor Pro Tem Dan Sullivan was running unopposed on the Nov. 8 ballot, making him the presumptive new mayor.
Council member Angela Kellogg had prepared proclamations for both Connie Cauchi and Stacy Stocking and read them aloud, along with Sullivan [see adjacent proclamation text]. Both also were awarded a key to the City of Harrison. Additionally, the mayor received a wooden plaque with a brass place engraved with “Stacy Stocking, City of Harrison, 2002-2022.” Mounted on that plaque was a keepsake gavel – the very gavel he had used to open and close meetings during his term as mayor.
After the accolades and departing comments were complete, Stocking called on young Liam Henry to gavel the mayor’s last meeting to a close – with a new gavel.
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