And so it has come to an end.
Mayor David Taylor’s 12 years leading Amherst were celebrated Monday in his final city council meeting.
“Congratulations, you made it,” laughed law director Tony Pecora, shaking Taylor’s hand just before the gavel rang out to begin proceedings.
Ohio Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) made a surprise appearance to praise the mayor for his years of service.
She presented a proclamation signed by both herself and Senate President Keith Faber. It commended Taylor for fulfilling his obligations to the electorate “with dignity, integrity, and expertise.”
“Clearly, your sound judgment and insightful perspective have added much of value to the local landscape, and you merit praise for your work in conjunction with a wide array of important civic projects,” the document said.
The proclamation also lauded Taylor for inspiring positive change: “You have shown just how much a conscientious person can accomplish, and you can be proud that your character and commitment have impelled many who know you to dedicate themselves similarly.”
Those words drew Amherst officials to their feet in a round of applause.
Many in attendance had kind words for the outbound mayor.
“It will be different walking into that office, I can tell you that — not seeing that face,” council president John Dietrich told Manning of his longtime friendship with Taylor.
Pecora thanked Taylor for providing leadership.
“You swore me in when I was appointed and you swore me in when I was elected and reelected,” he said.“When I started off as law director, I was much younger and had no idea what I was doing. But you made me feel comfortable and taught me a lot.”
Mayor-elect Mark Costilow said the past four years working side-by-side with Taylor as safety-service director have been invaluable.
“I truly believe Amherst is better off than when he took office 12 years ago,” he said.
For his part, Taylor was humble and appeared slightly embarrassed by the attention. As always, he channeled praise back at those around him.
“I’d like to thank all of you because this has been a team effort over the years,” he said, admonishing officials to keep the city’s residents at heart and to avoid standing in the spotlight.
He also thanked Amherst’s government employees. “Their dedication to the city is what is in my eyes what makes Amherst special,” he said.
Wishing a merry Christmas and happy New Year, Taylor ended his final report to council.
“Mayor, it’s been my pleasure,” Dietrich said. Holding up his hand and nodding across the room, Taylor replied, “My friend.”
In the final votes expected of 2015, Amherst city council wrapped up its debate on salaries for 2016-2017, clearing the agenda of all old business.
Mayoral compensation was set at $54,057 in a 6-1 vote with councilman Joe Miller dissenting.
In unanimous votes, safety-service director pay was set at $17,255 and clerk of council pay was set at $20,637.
Council salaries were set at $6,521 for members and $7,308 for the president. Miller and councilman Chuck Winiarski voted against the rates, which passed 5-2.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Mayor David Taylor accepts a proclamation from Ohio Sen. Gayle Manning, who attended Monday’s Amherst city council meeting to praise the three-term public servant.