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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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RTM veterans' tributes: Rubin given a fond farewell, Meyer a plaque

Published 5:51 pm, Thursday, September 4, 2014

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  • The Representative Town Meeting presented Steve Rubin, a longtime member who is retiring from the legislative body, a certificate of recognition when he announced his plans to step down. Here, he is congratulated by Moderator Eileen Lavigne Flug, center, and Velma Heller, the deputy moderator. Photo: Jarret Liotta / Westport News
    The Representative Town Meeting presented Steve Rubin, a longtime member who is retiring from the legislative body, a certificate of recognition when he announced his plans to step down. Here, he is congratulated by Moderator Eileen Lavigne Flug, center, and Velma Heller, the deputy moderator. Photo: Jarret Liotta

 

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Two major departures from the ranks of Westport's citizen assembly were paid public tribute this week.

The Representative Town Meeting recognized the service of Steve Rubin, a District 7 member who announced that he was stepping down after more than 18 years on the legislative body. Rubin is leaving town to retire in Charleston, S.C.

The RTM also saluted the service of longtime member Bill Meyer, who died in June and had also served on the body more than 18 years.

"In all of those 18 and a half years, Steve has not missed a single meeting," said RTM Moderator Eileen Lavigne Flug, noting that both he and Meyer had "tied" for longest tenure this last term, each having begun serving in 1993.

"I have always found Steve to be thoughtful and well prepared in all his contributions," she said.

"The RTM for me is an opportunity to give of myself," Rubin said in a farewell speech that surprised some.

"I will miss seconding every motion that is made and I hope that somebody in the RTM will carry on with that tradition," he said, "so that no motion goes unheard."

Rubin said that when he began serving on the RTM his hair was black. Now with snowy white locks, he said his grandchild urged him, "Please quit before you go bald."

"You will be missed," First Selectman Jim Marpe said, "and we wish you and Toni all the best in your retirement."

"Thank you for your service," he added.

"Thank you, Steve, for your tireless contributions to the town of Westport and the RTM," said Flug, who presented him with a certificate of appreciation. "We all wish you great joy in the next phase of your life," she said. "Charleston will be lucky to have you."

Along with honoring Rubin, Meyer was paid a posthumous tribute by the RTM in the form of a brass plaque installed on the arm of the aisle seat where he routinely sat for meetings in the Town Hall auditorium.

"There is only one Bill Meyer," said Arthur Ashman, a District 7 member, who proposed the idea following Meyer's death.

He referred to Meyer -- known for his years of volunteering for a wide range of causes -- as "that kind, giving man that sat next to me for so many years during our RTM meetings."

"It is a great honor to remember him with the plaque," said Ashman, noting the seat will officially remain vacant for the remainder of this term. "Now we can make sure that we and the generation of Westporters to come will keep his memory alive," he said.