Accompanied by tears of gratitude and appreciation, the city of Carrabelle welcomed a new commissioner, and bid farewell to a beloved member of the commissioner, at its Nov. 17 swearing-in ceremony.
With the presentation of a plaque of appreciation from City Administrator Courtney Dempsey, city officials thanked Cal Allen, who decided not to seek re-election after serving on the commission since 2009.
“I have really enjoyed the last few years working with the city, especially these people on this staff,” said Allen, 84. “They’ve done everything that we could expect to help you out and to be sure we’re on the right path.
“I am sure they will continue to do that and bring in new people and it will be a real joy and I hope you get as much out of it as I have in the time we’ve been here,” he said.
“I’ll be aware of what you’re doing, I’m going to keep my eye on you,” Allen said. “I know the Lord is looking at you but I want to let you know I’m here too. I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful and we’re looking forward to working with you, even from the outside. I think this will be a wonderful thing for the city.”
Commissioner Tony Millender, who got the largest share of the vote, 37 percent, among the four candidates in last month’s election, offered praise for his colleague.
“Mr. Cal, I’ve had the pleasure of being on this board with you for five years. It really has been a pleasure to serve with you,” he said. “I’ve learned from you, I’ve watched you. Your experience and knowledge and skill gave me a lot of positive direction
“I’ve really enjoyed serving with you. It’s been an utmost pleasure,” said Millender.
“I’ve picked up a few things from you too,” replied Allen.
“It has been a pleasure being your neighbor downtown and up here I look forward to more conversations with you in the future,” said Commissioner Sebrina Brown.
Mayor Brenda La Paz offered her remarks that it too had been a pleasure working with Allen for nine of her 11 years on the commission.
“I commend you for your loyalty and professionalism and your integrity and your dedication to the city of carrabelle,” she said. “You have provided me with leadership n in the parliamentary process. You have always maintained your calm and your cool demeanor during times of our heated and stressful discussions that we may have had amongst each other or with citizens
“Your humor and your quick wit always relieves those stressful times and relieved that tension,” she said, commending Allen’s wife Tamara for the support she has shown for her husband all along the way.
La Paz presented Allen with a campaign card from Allen’s 2011 campaign.
“Cal has been the ideal commissioner and one of the easiest commissioners I’ve ever worked with,” said City Clerk Keisha Messer. “He’s shown compassion and fairness, and we hate to lose that.”
Messer then swore in Millender and Bill Gray, who received nearly 32 percent of the vote in securing the second seat.
“I would like to thank my wife and kids for their support and thank the city of carrabelle for electing me to be their voice and their faith in me for making the right decisions for the city of Carrabelle,” Gray said.
Millender offered remarks that spoke of his renewed faith in voters.
“I would sincerely like to thank my family for all their support, my friends for all their support, the citizens of Carrabelle,” he said. “I dearly thank you for all your support during the campaign and the vote of confidence and faith you have shown me as one of your representatives on the city commission.
“I very much look forward to the next four years, along with the citizens, advice and encouragement and direction, in trying to do the welfare and best for the citizens of Carrabelle,” Millenderr said. “I thank God for giving me the peace and direction and the solitude to move forward in a positive direction for the benefit of the city.”
Millender thanked two of his three opponents. Gray and David Printiss, for “a very positive and well-run campaign.
“Those candidates ran a fair, honest campaign on their welfare and benefit on what they could offer the citizens of Carrabelle,” he said. “That’s the kind of campaign I chose to run.”
Commissioner Keith Walden was absent, and plans to attend the Dec. 1 regular meeting, when the commissioners will vote on selecting a mayor pro tem.