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Laconia mayor back on the job after medical leave

Union Leader Correspondent

January 23. 2018 10:10PM

Laconia Mayor Ed Engler is back on the job after a four-month medical leave. (Bea Lewis/Correspondent)

LACONIA - Mayor Ed Engler received a warm welcome at City Hall on Monday when he arrived to preside over his first City Council meeting since heading to the West Coast in September to undergo treatment for colon cancer.

When City Clerk Cheryl Hebert took roll call to record Councilors in attendance at the meeting, she skipped Engler, prompting a light-hearted response.

"It's been a while since I have been present. It's easily overlooked," Engler said.

Armand Bolduc, who represents Ward 6 and acted as the city's ceremonial head in Engler's absence, then approached the mayor and handed him an envelope identifying it as a gift from the council.

"I want to say I am most happy to be back," Engler said, expressing his gratitude for the support he has received from the council and city officials. He offered special thanks to Bolduc for serving as mayor over the past few months.

"I appreciate that more than I can express in words," Engler said, emotion evident in his voice.

While in California where he underwent surgery, followed by chemotherapy, Engler said he was heartened by the notes and phone calls he received. His encouragers included schoolchildren, Boy Scouts and police officers.

He apologized for missing the chance to publicly thank outgoing Councilors Brenda Baer and Ava Doyle for their service, and to welcome newly elected Councilors Bruce Cheney and Mark Haynes.

"I bought plane tickets for that day but wasn't able to physically do it," he continued.

The mayor directed his most poignant remarks to his daughter, Dr. Laura Fitzmaurice, who practices obstetrics at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center, where he had a malignant tumor removed Sept. 29.

"I would like to mention that I have an impossibly special guest with me here tonight that I want to introduce and that is my daughter who is sitting in the back row. She accompanied me back here on Saturday from California and has been my advocate and caregiver for the past four months. It's been irreplaceable and I want to thank her for everything she has done for her old Dad," Engler said, causing some eyes in the room to well with tears.

Engler, 70, commented that he was really looking forward to becoming re-engaged in municipal government and that he was anxious to participate in discussions concerning the city's future. He was reelected without opposition Nov. 7, and has said that his current term will be his last. The term lasts two years.

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