Doug Wilson

Departing aldermen: Little things matter on Quincy City Council

Posted: Apr. 9, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Apr. 10, 2017 3:30 pm

Two Quincy aldermen whose terms will end in May say there are little things about serving on the City Council that probably would surprise most people.

Dan Brink, R-6, had never expected to help resolve conflicts between neighboring homeowners.

"There was a gentleman who didn't speak to his neighbors for 15 years because when the neighbor's son was young, a ball kept coming over into his yard," Brink said.

In another case, one man had some extra gravel and helped fill a pothole in the neighbor's drive and was accused of trespassing.

Those stories brought a smile to Brink's face last week on the same day he hoped to return eight budget books to City Hall.

"I don't guess I'll need them anymore," Brink said.

Jared Holbrook, R-3, also found little things he liked about serving on the City Council as well as little things that convinced him not to run for re-election after one term in office.

Last Tuesday, Holbrook was at the microphone at the Holiday Inn to introduce Kyle Moore to the crowd after the mayor's re-election.

"He convinced me to run for his City Council seat," Holbrook said of Moore.

While Holbrook enjoyed some parts of the job, he is glad that his days in political office are coming to a close.

When Holbrook was campaigning in a three-way race for the seat in 2013, he expressed a desire to help businesses add jobs in Quincy and focus on taking care of infrastructure. While both of those big issues have been priorities, it was often easier to see progress on little things that affected a homeowner or a neighborhood. And the reaction of those people who were helped also was Holbrook's biggest reward.

Brink, 54, was first elected 6th Ward alderman in 2009. He pledged during that first run for office that he would only serve eight years and then step aside so someone else could serve.

"My biggest accomplishment was getting a sidewalk along 12th Street from St. Charles down to Cherry Lane. That's been a big safety improvement for children getting to South Park," Brink said.

In his second term, the 6th Ward was redrawn to take in Melview Road and that once deteriorating street is now in good shape.

Brink has taken pride in educating himself on City Council issues. During his first term, Brink was among those who sat down with John Spring's administration to negotiate budgets and priorities. A rift between Brink and Moore made the second term less enjoyable.

"I'm not really interested in talking about that. I'd rather go out on a high note," Brink said.

Going forward, Brink hopes to see more people involved in government. He also hopes more aldermen take a leading role and school themselves on budgets and committee actions that can be complicated and time consuming.

Holbrook has told how he enjoyed meeting people in the ward and helping them solve problems. There were other times when he came down on a different side of an issue from constituents and friends. But he said those decisions weren't personal; rather, they were made with the city's best interests in mind.

Brink agrees. Service to his constituents and the city was the part of the job he loved. Politics, he said, often took the fun out of it.

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