Following a tearful address during a Board of Selectmen's meeting Monday afternoon, Noreen Kokoruda officially tendered her resignation as a selectman so that she can give full attention to her job as state representative.
Once it was official, Kokoruda received a standing ovation from her fellow selectmen, town employees, and friends and family members in attendance at town hall.
"This is an emotional day for me," Kokoruda said. "I've just loved serving on the board. How many people get to help to run a town like Madison? I've been proud of what we've accomplished ... we plan for the future, but we never stop thinking of our history. I can't tell you how proud I am of what we do." Kokoruda attempted to hold back her tears, to no avail. She was joined by some members of the audience.
Kokoruda "delighted" by Stadterman's appointment
Kokoruda has served on the Board of Selectmen for seven terms, and this is her 14th year in that volunteer role. She said she was "delighted" that Stadterman will be taking over the seat.
"Diane has been a tireless worker for our town and has proven to be a strong leader with exceptional communication skills. Over the years I have watched how Diane builds consensus and how she is respectful of all views," Kokoruda said. "Over 14 years ago I was honored to have the late Peter Pardo urge me to take his seat on the Board of Selectmen; now I am ready to pass that along to Diane."
After the board accepted Kokoruda's resignation, Stadterman was officially installed as Kokoruda's replacement. Stadterman has served the town in a variety of roles over the years.
Stadterman will step down from PZC
In addition to serving on the high school building committee, and the Senior Center/Ambulance Building Committee, she is a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. She will be stepping down from both the Senior Center/Ambulance Building Committee and the PZC.
"I will, however ask to be made the BOS liason to the building Committee in which I will continue my active role," she said following the selectmen's meeting Monday afternoon.
Stadterman, who moved to town in 1999, has a Diploma in Nursing from Mass General Hospital School of Nursing in Boston and a BS in Nursing from Excelsior College, in Albany. She is married to Rick Stadterman and has three children, Drew, Brian, and Jill. She has worked at the Guilford Art Center and is currently employed with Shoreline Surgical Associates in Middletown, CT.
Background includes work on school committees and building committees
Stadterman was an active volunteer in Lenox, MA, and Louisville, KY, where she lived prior to moving to Madison. She served on the School Committee, on the PTO, and on the School Governance Council in those towns.
While in Madison, she served on the Daniel Hand High School Building Committee, from pre-referendum to completion, was president of the Alliance of Parents, Students, and Teachers (APTS) for three years, the Senior Center/Ambulance Center Building Committee from pre-referendum to the present. She also served as campaign manager for Fillmore McPherson for First Selectman, and was appointed to the PZC in January 2011.
Stadterman has said that Kokoruda has served as her mentor in town politics. She said Kokoruda encouraged her to seek the selectmen's opening. "And I felt it was a good fit and I decided to pursue the appointment. My goal for now is to become as knowledgeable as I can about the workings of the town and town hall and then to set some more concrete goals and to run for the seat in the fall."
Kokoruda a "paragon of public service"
Kokoruda received enthusiastic and effusive praise from all her fellow selectmen, including Al Goldberg, who could not attend the meeting due to a prior commitment. Goldberg sent along a letter that praised Kokoruda as a "paragon of public service."
"I will not cry, thought I feel like it," said McPherson, after loaning the tearful Kokoruda a neatly folded handkerchief. "The only thing that keeps me from crying is that you will be representing us in Hartford."
McPherson then started to make a motion to accept Kokoruda's resignation and was cut short by Selectman William Gladstone.
"Thrilled to join the chorus"
"No, no, no, not yet," Gladstone said. "I'm thrilled to join the chorus in singing your praises," he said to Kokoruda. "You are a model of public service and a model of what makes Madison a great place to live."
Selectman Joseph MacDougald described the first time he met Kokoruda at the pump at the Cumberland gas station in the center of downtown Madison.
"I was standing there and a wall of words washed over me," he said. After he and Kokoruda had an in-depth discussion about town issues, Kokoruda ended by saying "And tell Lisa I said 'hi.'"
"And that's Noreen," MacDougald said. "How are you, and let's do what's best for the town ... we can be a little sad [because Kokoruda is stepping down] but a lot grateful for her service to the town."
Stadterman sworn in, then takes her seat
Also at the meeting, MacDougald was appointed Acting First Selectman, meaning he will act in McPherson's place when McPherson is not available. Kokoruda was formerly the Acting First Selectman.
After she stepped down, Kokoruda was allowed to take the name plate she used during selectmen's meetings, and Stadterman was sworn in. Stadterman quickly proved adept at participating in the repartee that often characterizes the Board of Selectmen meetings.
As Stadterman's name plate was put into the appropriate holder, MacDougald said, "I think the bottom says, 'may God have mercy on your soul.'"
"That goes without saying," Stadterman said, smiling.