‘So long but not goodbye’ – after thirty years of service, Farmington Selectman Stephan Bunker announces decision to step down

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Stephan Bunker. (Town of Farmington website)

FARMINGTON – At the January 9 selectboard meeting, Selectman Stephan Bunker announced his resignation after over 30 years of service to the town on both the selectboard and budget committee.

Despite the fact that Bunker has two years remaining on his term as selectman, he has made the decision to step down now. “I’ve come to a point where I’m comfortable with the service that I’ve done,” he said at the meeting.

Bunker’s resignation is not effective immediately; instead, it will come into effect at the annual town meeting in March, allowing time for candidates to run for his position on the board. There will be two seats up for vote at the annual town meeting in March, instead of the anticipated one.

“There are other younger blood with brighter minds out there who can take my place, I’m sure, that can take my place,” Bunker assured. “It’s not about me.”

In his letter of resignation, Bunker shared his wishes for his replacement: “I am in hopes that there are candidates who will come forth with a true sense of public service, not motivated by some single theme or ax to grind, be willing to listen and learn, seek common ground and compromise, and be able to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Bunker plans to make the most out of his last months on the board and assist in preparing the budget for the town meeting. The reason he is choosing to step down at this time is the recent hiring of the new town manager, Erica LaCroix. “I’m comfortable and very happy that I’m part of getting a very qualified town manager here,” Bunker said at the meeting.

Bunker was quick to assure that he will still be involved with the town: “I’ll find other ways to help serve the public, because I love doing that.”

He plans to use his time to focus on other services that he is currently involved in, mentioning the American Legion Post, the Elks Lodge, the Wilton Fish and Game Club, and the Rotary Club. He will also continue his work at the Farmington Fire Department, where he is in his 44th year of service with no current plans for retirement. In support of his fellow firefighters, he wrote, “I am championing a statewide educational campaign to reduce cancer deaths among firefighters, our number one killer.” As a survivor of brain cancer, he underlined the personal importance of this issue.

Bunker’s fellow selectmen voiced sentiments of gratitude for his years of service to the town. “We’re fortunate to have individuals like yourself serving the community for so long and giving of your time and energy,” Selectman Joshua Bell said.

Chairman Matt Smith said simply, “The town of Farmington is better off because you are here.”

Bunker ended his letter with another assurance that he will remain involved with Farmington, encouraging members of the public to keep in touch with him and reach out if he can be of any help. Contact him at stephan.bunker@gmail.com or 207-592-1247.

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