Former Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano gave a heartfelt talk at Monday’s Common Council meeting addressed to his successor, Mayor Dan Drew. He was there to be recognized for six years of service to the city of Middletown.
Giuliano said he was indebted to the city’s residents.
“Thanks to the citizens of Middletown who trusted me with their city and with their welfare for six years. I hope I gave it back to you in good shape,” he explained.
Councilman Joseph Bibisi spoke of Giuliano’s passion for Middletown, his efforts toward completion of the state-of-art Middletown High School, and dedicating his life to the citizenry for three mayoral terms.
“You and I have been rivals on and off,” Drew said to Giuliano. “I respect you immensely and it’s been a wonderful experience to get to know you and your family.”
Giuliano passed along wisdom he’d acquired as leader. He asked Drew to always be mindful of those who he’s succeeded — and city leaders yet to come.
“As you sit there and this is only the second meeting you’ve occupied the chair I believe, and you look out around the room, your eyes every now and then will gaze over to that wall where there are 59 other photographs up there going back to something like 1650. Realize someday your face is going to be on that wall,” Giuliano said.
“Do you want to be a picture on a wall or do you want to be part of this city history? I urge you,” Giuliano said, to make a mark in the city.
The former mayor encouraged Drew to stand firm behind his decisions.
“There are times when you are going to be sitting alone in the choice you have to make, balancing competing interests. Not everybody is going to be happy. All you can do at the end of the day is hope you made right one,” Giuliano said.
“People will remember your administration is one that moved this city forward. That is what everyone up there tried to do.”
Great leaders are those who look beyond the timeframe of their tenure, Giuliano said.
“Begin things you know darn well, no matter how long you’re in this office, your administration will not see end of it. Mayor Thornton left me with something to build on, as did Holzbert, Serra, Gionfriddo and Garafalo. I hope I’ve left you with something to build on.”
Giuliano said he’s optimistic about the city’s future.
“Middletown’s best days are still ahead of her,” he told those gathered.
To Drew, he had these final words, which spoke to what he’d learned in office. “Always improve, never rest on your laurels, always strive so that those who look back on us say their lives are better,” Giuliano said.
“This is something that is going to be part of you as long as you live.”