Last night’s Tacoma City Council meeting marked endings for four members: Connie Ladenburg, Mike Lonergan, Rick Talbert and Mayor Bill Baarsma.
Facing term limits on their current seats at year’s end, each of the two-term elected officials’ experienced their final hours on the dais during the city’s final council meeting of 2009 (Under city charter, each could run again – but would have to wait for two years to do so under term limit rules).
In the waning moments of their colleagues’ council tenures, fellow Councilmembers Jake Fey, Spiro Manthou, Marilyn Strickland and Lauren Walker honored each with proclamations, speeches and gag gifts. The departing members also gave some closing remarks.
Ladenburg listed off single words and phrases that described her eight years in office, from “newbie” to “term limits.”
“I’m ready to move on,” she said.
Mike Lonergan told the audience he’d miss the camraderie of the council. “There’s just something special about this group,” he said.
Rick Talbert, now seeking appointment to either of the two open seats on the council, noted the council has experienced some of Tacoma’s most “prosperous times and some the lowest times” during his tenure, and thanked city staffers for their service.
And Bill Baarsma, who previously had served two terms as a council member, received a standing ovation from about 40 people still in attendance during the more than four and a half hour meeting. “We’ve come out stronger than ever, in my view,” he said.
The city council is not set to meet again until January, when a new configuration of the panel, with three new members Marty Campbell, Victoria Woodards and Joe Lonergan) will be ushered in. The 2010 council is expected to make appointments to fill two open council seats sometime next month.