Brookfield Trustee Gary Lees announced Aug. 2 that he will not run again for trustee.
“I think 24 years is enough,” he said.
Lees made his announcement by reading a lengthy statement that paid tribute to his mentors, and outlined the issues he tackled and the accomplishments he achieved.
“I finish the race with God’s help and family,” he said. “I stress that a lot, because I had to pray every month and every meeting that we had for many, many years, and I still do, before I come to these
meetings, because I need to have somebody protecting me. I say that with my heart. When it says community prayer, you need that before you come to these meetings. I thank you all.”
Lees leads a community prayer, which often asks for protection of township employees, at the beginning
of each regular monthly meeting.
He emphasized the comment about “the race” by handling out business-sized campaign cards that
featured a photo of Lees in high school running track.
Being a trustee has never been a “show-up-and-pick-up-your-paycheck, once-a-month job,” he said.
He credited three former politicians, state Sen. Tony Latell, county Treasurer Chris Michelakis and
county Auditor Dave Hines with teaching him “how to reach out on all levels of government to get what
you needed done regardless of what level of government you were working from and to set goals.”
Lees said he often found himself working on “two, three, four projects at a time, because I saw a need in every corner of our township.”
Those projects included working for the numerous sanitary sewer extension projects that brought service to many areas of the township; installing streetlights and fire hydrants; developing the township’s
comprehensive plan and a 10-year plan for road improvements; computerizing cemetery records; planting trees along Route 82; securing home rehabilitation funds; certifying the area around Brookfield Center as a historic district; examining the feasibility of sharing services; and representing the township in the Trumbull County Council of Governments.
In initiatives that were more community service-related, he said he was involved in a kindergarten
gardening program; instituting an annual Easter egg hunt and Christmas on the Green; and creating a
Welcome Basket program for new residents and the First Book program for newborns.
A retired juvenile probation officer, Lees said he has used his contacts with the juvenile court to secure
the use of juvenile labor to provide services in the township, from harvesting the township garden and
performing services for elderly and handicapped residents to painting and doing odd jobs at the
Lees said his big project this year is creating a senior center with neighboring townships as partners.
“What I hope to have shown you is that it’s not easy to be a trustee,” he said.
There were calls at all hours of the day and night about flooding, sewage and water main breaks, he said,
but the fact that he stayed in office for 24 years shows that he successfully fulfilled the demands of voters.
“That’s when you know you have done well, when the voters keep you in office, term after term,” he said.
Lees said he wants to spend more time with his family, and take a trip to Colorado to see where his mom,
Lela, grew up.
Trustee Ron Haun said he will have a lot more to say when Lees’ term ends in December, but commented:
“Serving with you, it’s been a pleasure.”
“That’s a long time to serve your community,” added Trustee Dan Suttles, who also promised more later
in the year.
As of Aug. 3, the Trumbull County Board of Elections listed two people on the ballot for the two seats
that are up for election in November: Suttles, who is completing his first term, and Catherine Hodge