The Boise Depot was packed Tuesday night as citizens came to witness Mayor Dave Bieter and no fewer than four City Council members being sworn in to new terms in office. Bieter swept into a rare third term as mayor in a landslide victory last November. Council Members Elaine Clegg and David Eberle were also sworn in to their third terms. Council Member Lauren McLean, who was appointed by Bieter to the council a year ago, won a full four-year term in November's election. And Boise's newest council member, Ben Quintana, was sworn in to his first term of office following his convincing win last November.
But while there was much celebration, there were also tears and hugs as Council Member Alan Shealy bade farewell to the council, stepping down after nearly nine years.
"It was never about politics or credit with Alan," said Council President Maryanne Jordan, handing Shealy a huge scrapbook. "This book is filled with pictures of all of the things that have been accomplished in your time in office."
Council Member T.J. Thomson, whom Shealy affectionately called "Johnny Bravo," reminded attendees that Shealy joined the council at a troubling time for the city. Shealy was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Carolyn Terteling-Payne became mayor in the wake of the 2003 scandal and resignation of Mayor Brent Coles.
"You restored confidence in this city," said Thomson. "You're a man of character and you can't be replaced."
Each council member and Bieter spoke of their memories before Shealy took the microphone, and in between his moments of melancholy, he also shared his iconic rapier wit.
"Usually when I'm in a suit and tie, I hear the words, 'will the defendant please rise,'" Shealy deadpanned.
Possibly his funniest moment came when he shared his affection for Bieter, but with a little ribbing, too.
"Mr. Mayor, I didn't think you liked me that much," said Shealy to great laughter. "In fact, I remember you telling me that you didn't like me. I can remember times when you would look at me with that bug-eyed look. I didn't know whether your thyroid was acting up or if you had just sat on a massive snow cone."
The laughter rang through the depot, but Shealy got quite emotional in many of his goodbyes, especially when he turned to Jordan.
"As Dorothy said to the Scarecrow, Maryanne, I think I'm going to miss you most of all," he said with his voice cracking. "But now I'm at the end of this yellow brick road."