The announcement by Town Council President Peter Gill that he will not be seeking re-election to the post he has held for the past four years will bring to a conclusion what arguably has been one of the most productive and positive eras in town history.
With Peter steering our little ship of state with a steady hand at the tiller, Winthrop has moved forward in every conceivable way. Our town’s finances have stabilized, a new middle-high school is under construction, business development in town is advancing by leaps and bounds, and Winthrop looks better than ever. But beyond these tangible signs of improvement, perhaps Peter’s most valuable contribution to town government over the past four years is the positive tone and high degree of civility with which he led our Town Council.
As someone who was active in town affairs for four decades prior to being elected Town Council President, Peter understood that Winthrop is not the kind of community where a “my way or the highway” approach to solving complex (or even simple) problems is going to be productive. He also understood that when the town’s voters created a town manager form of government 10 years ago, they wanted a professional to be in charge of the town’s daily affairs. Perhaps the greatest legacy Peter leaves to his successor is the acknowledgment that while the Town Council oversees the general direction of town affairs, it is the council’s job to let the town manager implement their directives and allow him the authority to do his job without undue interference. The fact that our Town Manager, James McKenna, is widely viewed as one of the best in the state is directly attributable to a Town Council, under Peter Gill’s Presidency, that has recognized the proper relationship between the council and town manager.
Finally, Peter Gill’s ability and professional decorum in the manner in which he conducted council meetings will be sorely missed. Clearly, those were qualities that were utmost in the minds of his fellow townspeople when they elected him in the past two town elections and realized that Peter was the right man for the job. We know we speak for all of us who have known Peter, his lovely wife Maureen, their four children, and 10 grandchildren, in thanking him for his service and dedication to our community and in wishing him the best in the years ahead.