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New elect sworn in; Avila Farias retires term

Mayor Rob Schroder (at left) presents Councilmember AnaMarie Avila Farias with an engraved crystal vase as her children look on. Avila Farias received the vase during the Dec. 7, 2016, meeting of the Martinez City Council, in recognition of her public service. The evening marked Avila Farias’ last time on the dais, this term, as a retiring councilmember. (E. CLARK / Martinez Tribune)
Mayor Rob Schroder presents Councilmember AnaMarie Avila Farias with an engraved crystal vase as her children look on. Avila Farias received the vase during the Dec. 7, 2016, meeting of the Martinez City Council, in recognition of her public service. The evening marked Avila Farias’ last time on the dais, this term, as a retiring councilmember. (E. CLARK / Martinez Tribune)

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Every chair was filled during the Wednesday meeting of the Martinez City Council, despite the absence of any pressing items on the agenda. Those in attendance were there to witness the swearing in ceremonies of new elects, and to support an outgoing councilmember.

Following brief public comments, council certified the results of the Nov. 8 election and thanked retiring councilmember AnaMarie Avila Farias for her years of public service to the city of Martinez.

“It’s not really a goodbye … it’s simply a new chapter to be able to give in a different way,” Avila Farias said of her departure from the dais. “I walk off this dais today very confident that we have really strong leadership in place, internally. I mention ‘internally’ because … it’s not us (the council) up here doing all the heavy lifting – it’s our City staff. We have a great team here and it’s been an honor working with them the last 20 years in different capacities, and I look forward to continuing to be connected to the City. … We’ve accomplished a lot. We have a lot to be proud of.”

Mayor Rob Schroder issued a proclamation declaring Dec. 7, 2016, “AnaMarie Avila Farias Day,” also gifting her, on behalf of the City, an engraved crystal vase. Deputy City Clerk Mercy Cabral then presented Avila Farias with flowers, and commendations from the mayor and councilmembers Mark Ross and Debbie McKillop were made.

Returning City Clerk Richard (Gary) Hernandez was then sworn in, followed by the swearing in of returning City Treasurer Carolyn Robinson, incoming Councilmember Noralea Gipner, and returning Councilmember Mark Ross.

This was followed by a “changing of the guard,” so to speak, as Avila Farias left the dais and Gipner took her place.

“I feel honored to be given this trust. I absolutely love Martinez from the bottom of my heart, and I’m thrilled to be in this position to do good for all of us,” Gipner said.

Before closing the meeting, the mayor made note of the successful passage of Martinez road tax Measure D. He also noted that East Bay Regional Park District will rename Martinez Regional Shoreline after Ted and Kathy Radke, conservationists that helped preserve Alhambra Creek and the shoreline.

City Council is adjourned until Dec. 14. The public portion of the meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 525 Henrietta St., Martinez.

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