The end of every year is a time for holiday celebrations, reflections, and yes, goodbyes to council members.
“Seth has brought his entertaining style to his term,” Council Member Maureen Stauffer read from an oversize proclamation to retiring Council Member Seth Rodin.
“Thank you, Seth!” she concluded, her voice cracking. The two hugged and everyone in the room applauded.
“I’ll miss you,” added Stauffer quietly.
It was a slightly more touching tribute than the next, administered by Council Member Bill Furey.
“Nobody hates being recognized more than Gary Sorace,” Furey quipped as the council president swayed nervously.
“We would like to give you this gavel as a remembrance of your time as council president,” Furey handed over the diminutive token.
“I do have something else,” suddenly recalled Council Member Stauffer, who strolled over to Council Member Rodin and discreetly handed him a gift. Rodin giggled in embarrassment.
“It’s a picture of ME on socks!” he exclaimed, brandishing a long pair of socks custom-printed with his image. I don’t know if there is an inside joke here or if this was merely a gag, but wow, way to take an undesirable present and turn it into a highly desirable present!
But arguably, the most heartfelt gift was yet to come.
“Isn’t it amazing how god brings the right people into your life at the right time?” a woman wearing a massive pearl necklace asked rhetorically at the lectern. She and another environmental commission member recited a poem, trading off lines and standing shoulder to shoulder.
“We did not just seek. We felt.”
“We did not just hear. We listened.”
“You helped us to achieve our environmental vision. And you inspired us to be what we knew we could be.”
“Thank you Seth!” “Thank you, councilman!” they concluded in not-quite-unison. They looked at each other, laughing. Good vibes were all around.
But enter vibe-crusher Sam Scaffide.
“I would like to make a motion that we repeal section 11.05 of the rules of council,” announced Council Member Scaffide.
“I’d like to amend your motion,” quickly retorted Council Member Furey. “The purpose of taking it out was because the Ward 5 council person would be new. I recommend we put Ward 5 temporarily at the bottom of the list and bump Ward 4, which is Mrs. Stauffer, and Ward 3 up one year.”
Scaffide stared quizzically at this modern-day Machiavelli, calculating how this would affect the line to the council presidency.
“I’m saying take out the 2018 Ward 5,” Furey reiterated. “Make the 2019 Ward 4 the ’18. Take the Ward 2, which is the following year at ’20. Move those up so that the existing council people don’t get moved out of the line of succession.”
Council Member Scaffide frowned deeply. “I don’t think it’s the fair way to do it.”
“Wait,” spat Council Member Furey. “This is six months old, voted on unanimously. ALL this does is keep the same rotation for the two people who are on council already.”
Murmurs of confusion roiled the council.
“Call the roll, please?” Council President Sorace ordered.
“On the amendment?” asked the clerk.
This triggered massive crosstalk and gesticulating in an attempt to divine the right path forward. Eventually, the kerfuffle subsided and the amendment passed unanimously.
Just as quickly as conflict arose, the good vibes returned.
“We’re planing a little holiday gathering on December 12,” the HR director informed everyone. “We bake cookies and here in the lobby, we have cookies and punch. You’re all invited.”