Mayor, councilman say their goodbyes

The expansive style of city Mayor Bill Schirf and the terse style of Councilman Mark Geis – both of whose terms are up at the end of the year and neither ran for re-election – came out Wednesday in their final meeting.

Schirf spoke of being a “24-hour mayor,” of going to bed every night wondering “have I done enough.”

“It’s been an honor to serve,” he said.

He then asked Geis – who was participating by conference call – if he had anything to say.

“No, I’m good,” Geis replied.

Earlier in the meeting, State Rep. John McGinnis praised both men.

Schirf’s four years as mayor were “dog years” – equivalent to 28, McGinnis said.

It was a “heroic effort,” “with class every day,” McGinnis said.

An emblematic moment of that honorable effort came at the beginning, at his swearing in, when he shook hands with his election opponent, Jan Mills, after both had run a clean campaign that stuck to the issues, McGinnis said.

An emblematic moment for Geis – a 20-year-council veteran – was at a Blair-Bedford Central Labor Council dinner this year in his honor, where he kept his remarks “short, reflecting back good will his way,” McGinnis said.

Schirf then began to speak on behalf of Geis, not realizing that Chief Clerk Linda Rickens Schellhammer had succeeded in connecting with him on the conference call, after some initial trouble.

Geis interrupted: “I’m on the phone, Schirf.”

“Thank you for the nice things you said,” Geis then added to McGinnis. “But let’s get on with the meeting.”