Jeff Brenner made his last motions as a Barrington Town Councilor Monday evening, Nov. 5.
Brenner is stepping down as a town councilor after eight years, including four as president, and after serving Barrington for 20 years. He served 12 years on the Zoning Board before being elected to the Town Council in 2004.
“I’m not retiring from anything, though,” Brenner said. “It’s just a good time for me to do other things.”
Serving on another board or committee or in some capacity for the Barrington schools are possibilities, he said after the council meeting.
“I’m sure there will be something out there for me to do,” he said. “I look forward to some continuing involvement. I’m just not sure what.”
Brenner left Monday night’s meeting with a wooden plaque bearing a wooden gavel. It was presented to him from the council by President June Speakman, who campaigned with Brenner and Town Councilor Kate Weymouth as a team in 2004.
Brenner referred to that team approach while saying his goodbyes Monday night. They crafted a platform, which has resulted in a much more open and transparent government, he said, including the recording and streaming of the council meetings and public interviews for board and commission members.
“I’ve met some really great people,” Brenner said. “We’re here because we want to serve the community.”
Brenner never served, he said, to use the position as a step to a higher office.
“Barrington’s town manager, Peter DeAngelis Jr., and the department heads are just wonderful,” he said. “The people who work for this town really care about it. It goes beyond a paycheck. I just want to say thank you to all those people.”
Of course, Brenner couldn’t get away with just his gift – what Speakman said is a “token of appreciation” that he will find a use for at some point down the road. Each of the councilors made parting remarks.
“This is a tough one for me,” Speakman said of bidding adieu to Brenner. “He has been an intellectual guiding light.”
His clear, concise logic on issues helped me make many decisions, she said.
Weymouth said talking to Brenner helped her make up her mind about runing for the Town Council in 2004.
“I will definitely miss his judiciousness and non-reactionary perspective," she said. "He showed Barrington the best that his profession can offer.”
Brenner is a real estate litigation attorney and partner with the Nixon Peabody law firm in Providence.
Councilor Cynthia Coyne thanked Brenner for his guidance when she was a new councilor two years ago.
Councilor Bill DeWitt said Brenner is “a great interpreter of issues. I always appreciated his perspective.”
Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr. said Brenner “served 20 years and I admire that. He is a true public servant.”
Brenner’s parting motion as a town councilor was to adjourn his final meeting.