CRESTVIEW — On April 1, three new city council members — Joe Blocker, Shannon Hayes and Mickey Rytman — will be sworn in and the city's new council will be seated. The three join Tom Gordon and Robyn Helt, who remain on the dais.
The city's departing council members took the opportunity at the end of Monday's council meeting to reflect on their years of service and say goodbye to their colleagues.
Charles Baugh Jr. and Council President Benjamin Iannucci III were defeated in recent elections. Tim Grandberry is retiring after serving one term.
Serving the city isn’t always easy, city leaders said.
"I have served two tours in Afghanistan, and three tours in Iraq, but man, I feel like I've been shot at more up here," Baugh said.
"And it was not friendly fire," Helt said, to laughter.
"They say you're sworn in one day and you're sworn at for four years," Grandberry said.
Helt said it was an "honor and privilege" to serve with her outgoing colleagues. She also praised the nine candidates who ran for council seats.
"We're a city of roughly 22,000 people. We had a total of nine people who were willing to serve," she said. "That's a very small number of individuals who are willing to give of their time and take all of the burden of holding a public office on their shoulders."
The three outgoing council members promised to remain engaged with the community and their former colleagues.
"I will be part of the 10 percent that cares about this city to come to meetings and see what is going on," Baugh said, referencing the number of eligible voters who cast ballots in the March 12 municipal election.
"I look forward to the dynamic when we can become closer friends because we won't have Sunshine (Laws) to worry about," Iannucci said.
Before Iannucci could rap the gavel closing his last council meeting, Baugh asked if he could add one more comment. Turning to the audience, he paraphrased veteran TV reporter Walter Cronkite's famous closing line.
"And that's the way it was," Baugh said. "I always wanted to say that."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.