The seats were full at Monday’s meeting of the Bishop City Council as friends, family and current and former colleagues gathered to witness Rick Pucci in action one last time as city administrator.
Pucci, attending his final City Council meeting as an employee of the City of Bishop, has been administrator for 30 years, during which time he has racked up more than 720 City Council meetings and seen two dozen council members come and go through the chambers in City Hall.
The accolades were showered on Pucci from former councilmembers, government officials and friends.
Lloyd Chambers of the Bishop Rural Fire Protection District presented Pucci with a plaque for his generous cooperation with the district. Chambers said Pucci was responsible for making the district’s operations better organized and efficient.
State legislators Senator Roy Ashburn, of the 18th District, and Assemblywoman Connie Conway, 34th District, paid their respects by giving Pucci a giant, framed resolution commemorating him on his three decades of service. The two were not present but highlighted Pucci’s accomplishments in obtaining the long-term lease for the Bishop City Park, maintaining fiscal responsibility in spite of years of chaotic state budgets, and his help in starting the Sunrise Mobile Home park for low-income seniors.
U.S. Congressman Buck McKeon also sent a letter of recognition to Pucci for his dedicated service to the people of the state of California.
Of course, every member of the council thanked Pucci for his mentorship and friendship.
Councilmember and former police officer Bruce Dishion said he remembered Pucci when he first came on board in 1980 and he liked to be called “Mr. Pucci.”
Former Mayor John Young said Pucci has an eagle’s eye for detail. “The first time I came into Rick’s office he told me I missed a belt loop.”
Former Mayor Kathy Henderson said Pucci was very kind. “He never yelled at us.” She also called Pucci a “blessing.”
Despite the praise, when asked to give a speech, Pucci spoke of the other dedicated folks who have helped him and the city to prosper.
“It’s been a privilege and honor to serve the community,” Pucci said.
He said he is just part of the team of the City of Bishop, all as dedicated as he is. That team has helped turn Pucci’s plans and aspirations for the city into accomplishments.
“I couldn’t have done my job without all of these other people.” He said his successes, as enumerated that evening by those in attendance and by resolution, are due in no small part to the successes of the other team members.
The team members include Public Works employees who work at all hours of the day and night making emergency repairs, to the dedicated staff working on budgets years in advance.
Pucci said he has the utmost respect for all of his fellow employees and the many thankless jobs they perform. “There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see.”
“I’ve worked for other cities, but have never been in a more dedicated community.” He also wanted to thank the entire community for its patience and support.
Today is Pucci’s last day as city administrator. James Southworth will take over on Friday. Pucci will be sworn in as the Inyo County Third District Supervisor on Monday, Jan. 3, 2011.