Monday night's Saline City Council meeting was the last for Jim Peters. Appointed to council to replace Pat Ivey in August of 2011 and then re-elected in the subsequent November election, Peters served a little more than two years on the council.
He decided against seeking re-election this year. Terri Sibo-Koenig, elected in November, replaces Peters in January.
City council recognized Peters for his service Monday night. In his two years, Peters developed a reputation as one of council's most conservative members – he was opposed to expanded public transit for the city. He also tried to end the city's moratorium on water sales to outside interests, including the gas drilling companies. At the same time, Peters was an ardent defender of the Saline Celtic Festival and its volunteers. Peters was also a strong supporter of Saline's parks. It's safe to say there would be no Salt Springs Park without the work of Peters.
He was commended by his peers Monda and with Mayor Brian Marl absent, Mayor Pro-Tem Linda TerHaar was council's standard bearer.
"We are regretfully noting this evening that this is Mr. Peters' final council meeting. We want to thank him, as a city council, for his service to the city these last two years -- and for his ongoing and energetic service to the city as a member of the Parks Commission and Celtic Festival Committee,” TerHaar said. "We will miss your voice on this body but certainly look forward to seeing you in the future as you come back to update us on Salt Springs Park," TerHaar said.
TerHaar said she'll personally miss Peters at the table.
"We've joked from time to time about the fact that he sits slightly to my right, and I sit slightly to his left, which is considered symbolically appropriate," TerHaar said. "I've appreciated the discussions we've had and disagreements we've had and found the discussions have enriched my thinking and I hope that it has yours, as well."
TerHaar presented Peters with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of council.
Councillor David Rhoads also thanked Peters for his service.
“He is an individual who exemplifies what makes Saline a great community,” Rhoads said. “I look forward to working with you on other things.”
State Rep. Gretchen Driskell was the Mayor who recommended Peters be appointed to council.
“I know you will continue to serve the city with great energy and enthusiasm,” Driskell said. “I wanted to say thank you. It was a privilege to work with you when I was here.”
Fire Chief Craig Hoeft also publicly thanked Peters for his work on the Saline Fire Board.
Peters said the recognition was totally unexpected and deflected the praise he received.
“I've had a lot of people thank me these last few days. It's me who should say thank you to all of you -- all you good folks who attend these meetings on a regular basis, all the city employees, and all my colleagues. It's no wonder that Saline is recognized as one of the best places to raise a child,” Peters said. “It's a great team here.”
Peters plans to continue his work with the parks and Celtic Festival. He hopes to be more active in the Saline Area Historical Society.
Peters, a native of Pennsylvania, resides in Saline with his wife, Geraldine.