Vice Mayor Kerry Donley and the other outgoing members of Alexandria City Council were awarded proclamations for their service to the city on Tuesday night. The evening marked their final legislative session on the dais at City Hall.
The new council will be sworn into office on Jan. 2 at T.C. Williams High School.
Donley, who has served 18 non-consecutive years on council including two terms as mayor, chose not to seek re-election this year to focus on his health.
“It’s time to do some other things and take care of some other business,” the Democrat said. “The nicest part I’ve maintained about local government is that you get to see the fruits of your labor. You can say, ‘I had a role.’ You can drive down the street past a library and say, ‘I had a role.’ You can drive past a school and say, ‘I had a role.’”
He wished the best of luck to incoming councilmembers and joked that he planned on sitting in the gallery at future meetings providing color commentary with fellow outgoing member David Speck.
Donley recently asked to remain on the city’s Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group.
Republican Councilmembers Alicia Hughes and Frank Fannon were defeated in the November election, finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.
Fannon, a lifelong Alexandrian, called his lone term on council “a true honor of his life” and hinted he has plans on returning to elected office.
“The good thing about living in Virginia is that there’s an election every year,” he said. “I am going to stay involved. Good night for now.”
Hughes said she used a recent trip for a Rodel Fellowship program to reflect on her lone term on council, saying members often don’t get a chance to look back on the difference they make. She said she was proud of making the decision to settle in Alexandria, calling it “the best possible city to live in.”
“I am going to spend the next two or three years working on some professional things and continue working in the community like I have already started,” she said. “I’m pleased to say I will be working on some personal things, too.”
Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45th), who stepped down from council after winning election to the House of Delegates in September, returned to council chambers to accept his proclamation.
First elected to council in 2003, Krupicka called his time in City Hall “a huge thrill.” He thanked personal aide Elizabeth Jones, city staff and the citizenry, “who have always been willing to offer an opinion or a solution.”
“We lived through a bit of everything,” he said. “When I was first elected to council, it was a boisterous economic time. We had the potential to do almost anything. … Then we’ve spent the last half really struggling to get through a struggling economy and making hard decisions. I really cherish both phases of my terms.”
Speck, who returned to council in September as a court-appointee to finish Krupicka’s term, said he appreciated the opportunity to serve again.
“Even in this brief period of time, my life changed,” said Speck, who served on council from 1991 to 1994 as a Republican, switched parties in 1995 and served as a Democrat from 1996 to 2003. “I want to say thank you to my wife for being supportive once again. … Thank you for this opportunity. It will be my last, I assure you.”