To the editor: Chris Cerino’s headline resignation was something of a shock. I immediately thought he or his family were perhaps COVID victims. And then I read his letter and read it again.
My reactions were twofold: (1) what a courageous, public self-reflection it was and (2) very concerned because our community, not Chris, contributed to the conditions leading to his departure.
Courage: Chris could simply have resigned for health reasons, graciously thanked his colleagues and that would have sufficed. He has done a first-class job and would have been missed But, he went further and described the damage done to his emotional and physical health during his tenure, without comment.
Responsibility: The Chestertown community, myself included, weren’t paying enough attention to the atmospherics of town government. Chris dealt with them daily. He is a successful professional, calm and a listener. Meanwhile, he repeatedly dealt with stubborn, sharply clashing agendas, people personally invested in their causes, acrimony etc.
What has been largely missing is the professionalism he displayed or a shared sense of the larger context in which local decisions are made and, most of all, a willingness to compromise.