It was an emotion evening at last Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting as current and former town leaders, Town Hall staff members, friends and members of the community came out to see off Burlington Town Administrator Robert Mercier as he sat in on his final meeting before retirement after 30 years of public service, much of it here in town.
Mercier . He stayed on to give the town time to and to see Burlington through the annual May Town Meeting. He is set to leave his post next week.
Mercier became Burlington's first Town Administrator in 1980 and held the position until 1986. From 1986 to 1998, Mercier held other positions outside of town; doings stints as the Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO with offices in Woburn and as the town administrator for Billerica in Boxford, before returning to Burlington.
"As you can imagine, it is a difficult decision for me to leave a job as exciting, demanding and yet incredibly rewarding as the Chief Administrative Officer of a vibrant, dynamic community, but it is time for me to consider the other important parts of my life and take some time to engage in and enjoy all the wonderful aspects associated with a heavy retirement." Mercier said when he announced his retirement last fall. "I cannot begin to thank Burlington enough for the opportunity you provided me to work at a job that I thoroughly enjoyed and never regretted for one day as a came to work each morning. I am not sure there are many individuals who can honestly say that about their life work endeavors. For everything, very simply, thank you."
At this week's meeting the Town Administrator staff and the Board of Selectmen presented Mercier with a ceremonial chair in hone of his years of service to the town.
Check out the video above to see speak in recognition of Mercier's contributions to the town and his final farewell.
There were also a few comments that were not taped but are included below.
Chair of the Board of Selectmen Ralph Patuto said he felt lucky to know and work with Mercier.
"Bob, I was fortunate to know you prior to my seat on the board," Patuto said. "You helped me and all board members have said same thing. You helped get us caught up and guided the rookies who always leaned on you. Only a truely professional person can offer that type of guidance. It’s been great, been fun and hope to see you around town. I wish you and your family a great and long retirement."
Selectman Walter Zenkin echoed Patuto's sentiment, also thanking Mercier for his guidance and help over the years.
"Thanks for all you done," he said. "We've worked together 14 years and developed a true friendship. You helped me along and I thank you."
Selectman and Veterans Affairs Director Robert Hogan said Mercier had guided the town very well during his tenure and had gained the respect and friendship of those who worked for him.
"Burlington is a great town with great people" he said. "You will be missed."
Assistant Town Administrator Thomas Hickey said he was honored to work with Mercier over the years.
"To serve as Burlington’ s assistant town administrator under Mr. Mercier has been a tremendous and very exciting and satisfying experience," he said. "But to have Bob Mercier as a lifelong friend is priceless. I wish you and your family the very best in retirement and I hope it’s a long and happy one."
Former Selectman Sonia Rollins said she too had great respect and affection for Mercier.
"There are none like you and Burlington is a better place because of you," she said. "I was always comfortable knowing the town was in good hands day in and day out. I saw you as a friend, not just a professional."
Do you have a message for Robert Mercier as he retires? Share you thoughts in the comments section below.