Emotions high at final meeting
Tears and laughter marked the final meeting of the Palmerston North City Council's term as Cr Nikki Guy returned from leave of absence to farewell colleagues.
The sister of slain Feilding farmer Scott Guy has been away from the council table since the birth, illness and death of her baby girl last month.
Mayor Jono Naylor said last night he was in awe of the courage she had shown, being prepared to offer to work for the community, and continuing to participate as much as she could while her private life was so much in the public eye.
Cr Guy, who is not a candidate in Saturday's elections, fought past tears to give a valedictory speech thanking councillors and staff for their care and understanding.
She said her family had had to deal with some "very big curve balls" in the past three years.
But she had tried to follow her father Bryan's advice to face each day with courage and hope, rather than fear and despair.
It fell to the man who sat next to her over the past three years because of the alphabetical seating arrangement, and who was widely acknowledged for his sense of humour, to lift the mood.
Cr Pat Kelly is standing down after nearly 20 years, seeking election to the MidCentral District Health Board and Horizons Regional Council.
He related anecdotes, including the case of a man who assumed his lucky election symbol, the shamrock, was in fact a promise to legalise cannabis.
Fellow Awapuni ward councillors Annette Nixon and Adrian Broad said they had enjoyed working with Cr Kelly.
Mr Naylor said he had learnt much from him at the time when the names Kelly and Naylor made them neighbours at the council table. He presented Cr Guy with a gift, while Cr Kelly asked for his gift to be a donation to the Globe Theatre refurbishment project.
As Cr Kelly played colleagues an Irish blessing, his words on screen urged them to welcome mavericks, and to not be afraid to try new ideas.
But one maverick was missing from the final meeting. Former councillor Chris Teo-Sherrell resigned on Tuesday, in protest about the way a code of conduct complaint against him had been upheld, the way it was dealt with, and the fact it had been heard in secret.
The meeting resolved it would not fill the vacancy - a move chief executive Paddy Clifford said was a requirement under the Local Electoral Act even though the election was so close.
The resolution was passed without debate. Every councillor spoke during the meeting, but not one referred to Dr Teo-Sherrell's resignation or absence.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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