J. T. Gilbert attended his final city council meeting as Berea’s city attorney Tuesday evening.
Gilbert was given a standing ovation by the councilors, and many city officials publicly thanked him for his work.
“Sixteen years and one month ago,” City Administrator Randy Stone said, “I promised an individual this: He said ‛I’m the legal officer of the city, you’re the administrator and we won’t cross each other’s lines.’ I’m going to cross this line … Mr. Gilbert has been a very dedicated public servant to this city for a number of years.”
Stone went on to say Gilbert had always helped him find the legal parameters to accomplish the city’s goals, making him comfortable with the way the city was conducting projects.
“He has been a full mentor to a number of people for 30-something years in this city and has helped us all be what we are today.”
The sentiments were echoed by several members of the council.
Gilbert himself said the moment was bittersweet for him.
“As I’ve commented once or twice before, Mr. Wagers and I are in the building that our fathers worked many years in,” he said. “This building and this city mean a lot to me.”
The Berea Police and Municipal Building was the city’s post office for more than 50 years.
He, in turn, thanked members of the council for consulting him when they needed advice.
“They (council members) didn’t always like (my advice), but they always listened,” Gilbert said.
Beginning in 2014, the city will create one-year contracts with legal representatives instead of keeping one attorney on retainer, as it had with Gilbert. The representative for 2014 will be Corey Lee of the Coy, Gilbert, Shepard and Wilson Law Firm.
In other business, the council:
• Adopted an ordinance allowing certain types of light industrial development in B2, B3 and B4 commercial zones
• Approved a change order giving additional time for the Water Street Drainage Improvement Project. Under the new timetable, the project will be complete in the spring of 2014.
• Heard an update presentation from Craig Williams, community liaison to the Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board. Williams said he had not visited the council since February, and he highlighted progress with the construction of the weapons destruction plant and its funding since then. He also briefly mentioned a trip he took to The Hague, Netherlands, to discuss Syria’s entry into the international treaty to destroy chemical weapons.
Seth Littrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6623.