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Former Selectman Sarah MacDonald Says Goodbye as Board Reorganizes

MacDonald stepped down from her seat on the Board of Selectmen last week.

Sarah MacDonald. Patch File Photo.
Sarah MacDonald. Patch File Photo.

As the Dedham Board of Selectmen reorganizes this week and swears in its two newest members, former Selectman Sarah MacDonald has issued a farewell to her supporters in Dedham. 

MacDonald announced earlier this year that she would not run for re-election along with fellow Selectman Paul Reynolds

The two outgoing selectmen were recognized last week by the board, which also said goodbye to Town Administrator Bill Keegan, who is leaving for a new role as Foxborough's Town Manager

Below is a farewell letter MacDonald wrote and submitted to Dedham Patch. 

Letter from Sarah MacDonald

First, I’d like to acknowledge the village of people who have made it possible for me to attend meetings and other events since my son was born six months ago. There are dozens of people who have volunteered to babysit while I’m at a meeting, and it is only that help that allowed me to finish out my term without missing a thing. And to my husband, Sean, who has not once made a big deal about all of the time I’m not around or any of the crazy things I get myself into, even though he has every right to, I am truly grateful.

As I think about the last six years and what I want to say as I leave the board, I’ve decided not to list the dozens of accomplishments I’m proud to have been a part of. Instead, I'm going to tell you all what I expect from you long after I hold a seat on the board.

To Nancy, Marie, Doreen and Marie in the Town Administrator’s Office, and all the department heads I have had the pleasure of working with, I ask you to maintain the culture of excellence that has grown across town departments in the last several years. It has come to be a given that we win awards—national awards, regional awards, awards for innovation. We tackle big issues, we respond to residents’ requests and we find solutions. Keep doing what you do.

To Bill (Keegan), who has had some of the most politically tone-deaf plans and proposals in the last six years—thank you for your vision. We have to remember that you are not elected, and didn’t need to think about whether something could fly politically. Instead, you brought forward proposals that moved the town forward, and while sometimes that made things tough for us on the board, you always had Dedham’s best interests in mind. I wish you the best of luck in Foxborough, a town that no doubt recognized the positive wave Dedham is riding, and wants a piece of it for themselves. Just remember that if you do secure Patriots tickets, we’re the ones that got you there.

To the residents who have called, emailed, Facebooked, or have spoken with me at a meeting, an event or the grocery store, you absolutely must continue to care about what is going on in local government. You must step up to volunteer for appointed boards & committees, and use your personal and professional expertise for the civic good. We are a much stronger town based on the efforts this board has made to recruit and encourage civic participation and we can not let up now.

To Paul (Reynolds)—it has been a pleasure to serve alongside you, and I know our paths will continue to cross as we move on to our next big things. Thank you for your positive attitude and support.

Finally, to my colleagues on the board—Mike, Jim and Carmen—I beg you to resist any pressure to scale back on the forward momentum we have come to be known for. After six years in this seat I know that the easiest way to be reelected is to do nothing—that way you don’t upset anyone. But we all understand that that is not what’s best for this community, and I ask for your continued vision and leadership to move Dedham into the future it deserves.

I know one thingthere is no greater service than local public service, and it has been an honor to serve. I am excited to return to being a curious, engaged and occasionally cranky constituent, and I expect the Board of Selectmen to answer my calls.

Thank you,
Sarah MacDonald

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