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City councillors bid farewell

Outgoing city councillors said their goodbyes to each other during their final council meeting on Oct. 24, and also made some admissions.

Outgoing city councillors said their goodbyes to each other during their final council meeting on Oct. 24, and also made some admissions.

Coun. Niels Konge opened by expressing how being part of city government changed his perspective on business and fostered his admiration for Mayor Rebecca Alty.

“Being in private enterprise basically my whole life, not understanding why government does certain things, well, I got educated,” he said. “I now understand a lot more of why and how government works. For that, I have to thank administration.”

“Rebecca, I didn’t know you from a hole in the ground 10 years ago. I had no idea who you were. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for always listening. Thank you for telling me when I’m being an idiot. I need people to do that with me. You’re too good for Yellowknife. I tell people all the time that they should be pretty thankful that you’re the mayor of Yellowknife, because you could be anything. You really could,” Konge added. “I think it’s really great when you guys hold on to what you feel is valuable. Never lose that because I think that is something that is becoming less and less in the world and I think it’s really important.”

Coun. Julian Morse shared his esteem for city manager Sheila Bassi-Kellett.

“(I would like to) thank all of the directors for your sound advice and guidance over the years. I think we have a really strong team, and it’s only gotten stronger under (Bassi-Kellett’s) leadership,” he said. “She really helped to foster and guide collaboration between council and administration, and has brought a high level of professionalism and competence to her role. Similar to what Niels said about Rebecca, I think Yellowknife is very lucky to have Sheila, and you’re too good for this city. It’s true. I think you’re probably one of the better city managers in the country.”

“I’m deeply going to miss the work,” Morse added. “To the new council, I will just say congratulations and I really think the city is in good hands.”

Like Konge, Coun. Rommel Silverio complimented Alty and spoke about living his ‘Canadian dream.’

”I had the chance to work with (Alty) when she was a councillor before she became mayor. You have these (ideas) in your head but as soon as she spoke, things were different,” he said. “I would like to say to all you guys, thank you for all your friendship, your assistance and guidance as well. I had a great opportunity here in the North, in Yellowknife. I had been fortunate to have a good job, good education, as an immigrant that came in this country… This is my Canadian dream. I finished and was able to give back to the community that has supported me throughout my beginning years in Yellowknife. I will continue to be part of Yellowknife as a citizen and, of course, to be an abiding citizen.”

‘Learned a ton’

Coun. Robin Williams said that he was thankful for the lessons he learned on council.

“Thank you so much for bringing a young councillor along and showing us the ropes and the goings on of the city. I have learned a ton here over the last little bit. I’m sorry that it’s just a one-and-done for me. Well, maybe not so done. This great community has just supported me and my business so well that I really need to know where my calling is and spend the energy where it needs to be spent at this time,” said Williams. “I want to thank the residents of Yellowknife for putting me in this seat and for, you know, encouraging me to do it again… maybe in the future.”

Steve Payne, who is returning for a third term, also expressed gratitude for his fellow council members.

“It was it was a great seven years with some and a great four years with others… Yellowknife is going to miss you. I hope that you’re going to be around for some advice,” he said. “I’m sure that we’ll all be texting to get some input, but best of luck in everything that you do. I wish you all the best, and don’t be really hard on us.”

Coun. Stacie Arden Smith also shared some brief parting words for her fellow councillors.

“It has been a treat the past four years, even when we didn’t always get to see each other in person. I have learned a lot. If anything, being on council has taught me plenty of patience. Mahsi cho, and best of luck on your endeavours.”

‘Great staff’

Alty closed the remarks by sharing her gratefulness toward the council.

“A big thank you to council for a great first term as mayor. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. As I always say, it’s important to disagree without being disagreeable. I think that was (what we held to in) some of our difficult discussions. I think you (all) bring different elements, and it makes me think and really analyze the decisions before us in a more elaborate way,” she said.

“If you think of what you did when you woke up this morning, the first thing you probably did was use a city service, and you just continued to use city services all the way up to right now. This city wouldn’t run without the incredible staff. Council can sit here and give great ideas, but without the great staff, we can’t get that done. So big thanks.“