Aldo says arrivederci to Nelson
Six years ago, a grinning Aldo Miccio swept into office as a member of the slick Hands Up team elected to save the Nelson City Council from its air of fogeyism.
Despite not having been around for much of the 2007 election campaign, the Nelson businessman quickly established himself as someone keen to make his mark, even if the workings of local government were foreign to him.
Rivalry between him and Hands Up colleague Rachel Reese showed its true colours in the lead-up to the 2010 mayoral election, which Mr Miccio made an all-or-nothing pitch for, while Ms Reese was returned to the council.
Yesterdyay, Mr Miccio, 42, was on a flight out of the country on a pre-scheduled trip to the UK and Italy with his son's football team, leaving the job of cleaning out the mayoral office to others.
He was 36 when he became a councillor and, judging by the way he proudly showed off his civic badge at a function in the Queen's Gardens soon after the 2007 election, it was a role he genuinely relished.
Mr Miccio's reasons for wanting to be re-elected mayor were the same as in 2010. When he left to go to university in 1989, Nelson was a main centre. When he returned from a career overseas in 2002, he believed it had lost its way a bit, in that little had changed.
The father-of-three was conciliatory in defeat on Saturday, and insistent that he would continue to devote his time and energy to Nelson.
His term as a councillor was marked by jocular stabs at the way things were done, but the most memorable was his attempt to bring the Nelson and Tasman councils together in a pitch for amalgamation which progressed at a pace that seemed to surprise even himself.
He joked with the Nelson Mail outside the council chamber while waiting to have his say before the hearings panel of Local Government commissioners that "he was just kidding and didn't think anyone would listen".
It was a point not lost on the panel chair who challenged him on whether his pitch was an election stunt.
Mr Miccio's push for amalgamation was lost only by Tasman's reluctance to be swayed.
He has dined out on the 2011 Rugby World Cup events in Nelson, which he helped to make a success through his connections with Italian rugby officials.
The challenges of public office, including its rules on public accountability, have been tested over the past year. Mr Miccio faced a major PR hurdle over his dealings in China, and has had to face questions about whether there was any crossover between his civic duties while on a trip to China and his personal business dealings.
While mayor, he also has been harshly tested in the council chamber as the heat has gone on decision-making processes on several projects; the latest being the proposed sale of Wakatu Square.
Mr Miccio has not been lacking in his passion for Nelson and the mayoralty. He said in an interview just before the election that the job had been tough, but he was committed and there were things he wanted to finish.
His comment before the election that he would be disappointed if he lost was evident in the gathering of his supporters on Saturday.
- © Fairfax NZ News