After nearly 20 years as an elected official in Southington including the last five as a member of the Southington Town Council, has hung up his political hat.
The two and a half year chairman of the council officially stepped down on Monday night, filing his letter of resignation to move on to new challenges as a captain with the . Council Vice Chairman John Dobbins will replace him as chairman of the council, effective immediately.
“I am stepping down now not because I want to, but because it is the right thing to do,” Pocock said Monday, tearful to say goodbye. “It was a decision I struggled with for some time after learning about the promotion, but it needed to be done.”
Call it a changing of the guard.
A longtime member of the Southington Republican Town Committee, Pocock has been the face of the council since taking over the chairmanship from Democrat John Barry in 2009.
Pocock, 44, has been active as an elected official since 1993, first spending four years on the Board of Education followed by 10 years on the Board of Water Commissioners. In 2007, he was elected to the Southington Town Council and has served the town in that capacity ever since.
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So it came as no surprise to those who knew Pocock to see him tear up on Monday night when it came to step down from politics to focus on his career.
Barry praised his convictions and strength as a chairman, saying that although there were many times when they didn’t see eye to eye or agree on the best way to address issues in the community, he always respected the way Pocock served the town and went about his business.
“Too many times in politics, things get personal. There are many members of (Pocock’s) party that have crossed the line,” Barry said. “No matter how much we disagreed, no matter how far apart we were politically, he never once crossed that line.”
Dobbins, who took over for Pocock immediately following his resignation after a unanimous approval from the council, said he will have some big shoes to fill. He said the challenge will be to carry over the positive leadership Pocock has used to move the town forward in a positive direction economically, financially and operationally over the past several years.
“There are so many things in place and so many projects now underway due to his efforts and we have a lot of work to do to continue moving forward,” Dobbins said.
A pharmacist by profession, Dobbins has been a member of the council for the past two terms and was named vice chairman of the council following the 2011 election. He has also served as a member of the Board of Water Commissioners and Board of Ethics.
Dobbins will receive support from Peter Romano, who will take over in the seat of vice chairman.
Cheryl Lounsbury said that while she is excited for the opportunities that lie ahead for both Pocock and Dobbins, it will be tough to lose such a dedicated volunteer in Southington politics.
“It’s a bittersweet moment,” she said. “Ed has been wonderful to work with and has done a great job. He will still be serving our town, but we will miss him here on the council.”
Pocock’s seat as a council member remains vacant for the moment, but Republicans are expected to name his predecessor in the near future.
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