The two old broads had the final word at Vernon council Tuesday.
Outgoing councillors Catherine Lord and Juliette Cunningham, neither seeking re-election Oct. 20, were saved for the end of the meeting as the sitting council said what could be their goodbyes to staff and one another.
Sitting Mayor Akbal Mund is seeking a seat on council in the Oct. 20 election, as are incumbents Scott Anderson, Dalvir Nahal and Brian Quiring.
“It’s interesting that in the last election results, the old broads got elected and the line was made ‘we need younger people’ and I took exception to that,” said Cunningham, who spent 10 years on council. “We’ve worked very hard.”
Cunningham thanked administrator Will Pearce for his leadership in creating a very strong team, and planned to thank each city staff member individually “or I’ll be a sobbing mess, but you’re all amazing.”
“I ran because I wished to serve my community, to plan and build for the future for all of our citizens regardless of their socio-economic standing and I believe we’ve done that, and not without personal sacrifice. But it was worth it. I’m going to miss sitting at this table, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Catherine.”
Lord, a seven-year council veteran, sent emails to each staff member thanking them for professionalism and dedication, thanked the two councils she worked with, the media and the residents who elected her twice.
“I feel over the past seven years, we’ve made tremendous strides for the city and I’m proud of that,” said Lord. “It’s not easy sitting in these chairs. There are often difficult decisions to be made and there’s that old saying about not being able to please everyone. Most of the councillors have been hard-working and dedicated and keep the big picture in mind even in the presence of opposition.
“It is really easy to give in, to appease people who stand directly in front of you and want something. It’s much harder to make a decision that’s right for the whole community when you’re met with opposition.”
Mund and Quiring each said the two women will be tough to replace.
“These two sit on a lot of committees, a lot,” said Mund. “As Brian said, I’m scared to see what happens in the future because they do a lot of work. There’s a lot of work to be picked up. (Late councillor Spiers) Bob is not here anymore. Thank you to the staff. They are amazing. If you saw the work they do, you’d appreciate it.”
Spiers’ chair was adorned with a pink anti-bullying shirt since his sudden death in June. Anderson paid tribute to the veteran councillor.
“For the past three and a half years, I spent most of the time trying to convince Bob to run again and I think I almost had him ready to do it again,” said Anderson. “So, on behalf of Bob, I’ll say what he always said: ‘Nothing to report.’”
Asked if he had anything to say, Quiring joked “vote for me.”
“Anybody that feels we haven’t done a good job, don’t vote for us again, I guess,” he said. “I think we’ve done a fantastic job. We have an unbelievable staff, unbelievable administration. We stick to our guns. We’re not afraid to reflect and re-evaluate on decisions we’ve made. This has been a really good group. I’ve enjoyed working with all the personnel in this group.”
Holding back tears, Nahal said when she came into the role of councillor, she didn’t realize how involved the position was.
“It’s easy to sit on the outside and criticize, but when you’re in this role, you realize how complex it is,” she said. “I’m so proud of everything that’s been accomplished in the four years. Haters are always going to hate, but thank you to everyone for this great opportunity.”
Four men — Victor Cumming, Art Gourley, Erik Olesen and Darrin Taylor — are running to replace Mund as mayor.