After indicating for months that this term in office would be his last, Wellesley Mayor Ross Kelterborn made his retirement official at Tuesday night’s committee meeting. The announcement brings to a close 30 years on township council, including three mayoral elections that Kelterborn won handily.
“I’ve been mayor for 11 years, and at this particular time I feel that the township is in a very good financial position,” Kelterborn told councillors and staff.
“I have never really retired – I’ve always been working at something. And I decided that it’s time that I started really living a life of retirement rather than work, and pick up on some things that maybe I haven’t paid attention to as I should have.”
In an interview with the Observer shortly before the 2003 election, then-candidate Kelterborn said his style of leadership would be based on “team building and consensus.” Running on a campaign of “repairing the public trust,” he beat incumbent mayor Doug Bergman by 24 per cent of the vote. Looking back on Tuesday, Kelterborn said, “We tried a team approach here with both council and staff, and in my opinion worked very well.”
In an interview, Kelterborn said that the last two terms of council saw a harmonious working relationship between the mayor, staff, and councillors. “I did very little council business, other than with constituents, other than at the council table. I really think that’s how it should all run.”
He added, “That teamwork rubbed off onto the staff. … You see the soccer fields – that was done with five staff, and each staff putting in their little bit of information to help do it better.”
Kelterborn said that creating an atmosphere of cooperation is the best part of the job.
“After discussing the problems carefully, and having all the people together that are involved in the problem … you can usually work out a solution. My direction to any constituent that was dissatisfied, I always told them, ‘If you don’t like what our bylaws say, come to us as a delegation and tell us.’”
His advice to the next mayor is along the same lines: “Try to keep the teamwork together; spend within your means with the amount of taxes the people can handle.”
Current councillors Paul Hergott and Jim Olender have declared their candidacy for mayor. Shelley Wagner and Herb Neher will seek re-election as councillors for Ward 1 and 2 respectively. Wellesley residents will go to the polls October 27.