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Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce

“Farewell. It's been a great ride.”

ODESSA, April 16, 2018 -- As many of you may have heard, there is a change in the Mayor’s office, effective today.

In the last couple of months, I have been approached by several members of our Village Fire Department to run for one of the Assistant Chief's positions with the department. After weeks of difficult considerations, I decided to pursue that office and was elected by the membership. New York State Law prohibits an individual from holding two elected positions within a Village. So with a heavy heart and a healthy ambition for my new role, I am tendering my resignation from the office of Mayor. This was taking effect at our April 16 Village Board meeting.

Many factors were considered when I came to this decision. I have truly enjoyed the 13 years I have been involved in our Village government. There have been a few difficult times, but they have been greatly outweighed by the good ones. I am immensely proud of what your Village Board and I have accomplished over those years. We are so close to having meaningful changes in our aging infrastructure -- including a sewer system, water system improvements and the addition of natural gas. These improvements will greatly increase the quality of life for all of our residents, and it has been the tireless efforts of your Village Board that has made that happen.

I am fully confident in them to take these projects to completion, which was a large factor in my final decision. The other factor in my decision was our Village Fire Department. I have been a firefighter for 15 years, having been a member with Hector for five and Odessa for the last 10. This feels like the right time to devote all of my energies to that organization. I have always wanted to fight fire and be in the middle of all the action, but as I age and the work gets a little harder each time, it feels like it’s time to teach the next generation of firefighters in our community, which will include my son Sam as he hopes to become a junior member in June.

This has been a very difficult decision for me and my family to come to grips with. We have all become accustomed to a way of life in our little Village and we love being involved. In the end we decided we will all still be involved -- just in different ways -- and I still look forward to interacting with our board and our new mayor.

Another large impact in my final decision was who the Village Board has chosen to fill out my present term. When I was informed of who was interested in filling the position for the final year of my current two-year term, I was extremely happy with their choice: Gerry Messmer. Many of you may not have met Gerry yet, as he is a relative newcomer to our Village and grew up in nearby Interlaken. Gerry just recently retired from the Army after 31 years of service, attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel and serving many of those years in combat zones. Gerry was also appointed to be the Provincial Mayor of Baghdad upon our liberation of that area. With his knowledge and abilities of organization and management, I can’t wait to see what he brings to the Village of Odessa.

There are a few people I would like to thank for everything they have done for me, which is scary because I don't want to forget anyone. First of all I want to say how important Bob Carpenter was to me in the beginning of my life in Odessa. Bob got me started in village government and was a valuable asset to have when I had questions. I miss him. Shawn Crane was also very helpful to me. Shawn was my Deputy Mayor for many years and was always a great sounding board for many of my ideas. John Jelliff has always been there to let me know when I needed to rethink something, always giving me another perspective on an issue. Thank you, JJ.,

Thank you to all of those who have served with me for the last 13 years. All of you have had unique talents and abilities that made us all such an effective team. One of you stands out. Robin Thoman has been at my side for the entire ride. Robin often says that she didn't even like me when she came back to the board. I won her over! Our friendship over the years on the board together will be cherished by me forever. Robin saved me so many times from saying or doing something I was sure to regret down the road, often kicking me under the table! Robin, I could not have done this without you. Thank you so much.

My last and most important thank-you goes to my wife and Village Clerk, Kristi. The Clerk's job is not an easy one, to say the least. When your boss is also your husband, it’s a recipe for disaster! As easy as it sounds to keep office stuff at the office, it doesn't happen. Imagine you’re just nodding off to sleep and your husband wakes you up with this crazy idea to increase revenues in the Village and his latest idea for the Village park! This has happened all the time over the last 13 years and Kristi, for the most part, has taken it all in stride. I know at times I have made her job difficult, and I'm sorry for that -- but we were a great team and I will miss it. You’re the best clerk I've ever seen and I have no concerns for our Village as long as you're there. Thank you for everything you've done for me.

In closing, I want to thank all of the residents of our Village for all the support you have given me and my family over the years. You showed a confidence in me that has touched my heart in ways you will never know. I look forward to what our Little Village on the Hill has in store for us over the next few years. Please support our incoming Mayor and your Village Board.

Thank You.

Keith T. Pierce








© The Odessa File 2018
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869