Selectman Gavin Anderson, who submitted his letter of resignation today, said it's not easy to leave but he must because of undisclosed health problems.
"It's very hard to do something like this," said Anderson, 72. "It's been an honor and privilege to serve Westport. It is with deep regrets that I resign: I wish I didn't have to say goodbye, but I have to do that. There are some issues I cannot ignore."
After running against First Selectman Gordon Joseloff in November 2009, Anderson, a Republican, became the minority member on the Board of Selectmen. But Anderson has long been involved in the town, serving as chairman of the Maintenance Committee and the Sherwood Mill Pond Committee.
In his letter of resignation, Anderson said, "I feel like I can no longer do justice to the amount of work that is needed to fulfill the tasks and responsibilities to which I am appointed."
Joseloff, who accepted Anderson's resignation earlier today, said he did so "with deep regret."
"He has served Westport and its citizens over the years with devotion, perseverance and a profound commitment to make our town a better place," Joseloff said in a statement. "Indeed, we are a better town because of Gavin's hard work and unwavering devotion to Westport."
Under the Town Charter, Democrats Joseloff and Selectwoman Shelly Kassen must appoint someone who is not a member of their political party to fill the remainder of Anderson's term, which expires in 2013.
Anderson said the decision to resign from the Board of Selectmen and his other town positions required a lot of thought. But upon hearing news from his doctors, Anderson said he had to reduce the stress in his life.
" I'm feeling terrific now, which is great, but when the doctors tell you something is wrong, you deal with it," he said. "I need to focus my energy on my health rather than on political matters. That's why I made the decision: it's not easy, it's not nice, but I have to take care of myself."
Anderson said he plans to stay involved in the town, just not as closely as previously.
"What I'll miss most is seeking change and progress. Everything I've ever done has been geared to finding a better way," Anderson said. "I love following new ideas, finding better ways and engaging people's enthusiasm to finding change."
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