Mayor Brian Marl and Saline City Council paid tribute to departing colleagues Linda TerHaar and Heidi McClelland at the end of Monday’s council meeting.
TerHaar and McClelland both chose not to seek re-election so Monday’s meeting was their last. Newly elected council members Jim Dell’Orco and Kevin Camero-Sulak take office in January.
Mayor Marl presented TerHaar and McClelland with tributes and floral arrangements.
“On behalf of myself, my council colleagues and the citizens of Saline, I want to thank you both for your service,” Marl began.
TerHaar joined council in November of 2010 when she was appointed by then-Mayor Gretchen Driskell to fill a vacancy.
“I think mayor Driskell hit a home run in choosing and selecting you,” Marl said.
When Driskell was mayor, she chose a new Mayor Pro-Tem each year. The Mayor Pro-Tem is like council’s “Vice-Mayor,” running meetings in the Mayor’s absence. TerHaar has been Marl’s Mayor Pro-Tem for several years.
“I have no doubt that Linda would have done a phenomenal job as mayor because she did a phenomenal job as a council member just as I'm sure she's done a phenomenal job in every initiative you spearheaded throughout your adult life,” Marl said.
On council, TerHaar was best known for her advocacy on environmental issues, public transportation and the arts. In recent years, she’d served as council’s liaison to the code review task force - grinding out new ordinance language for the city. She’s also been very active in promoting Saline’s sister city relationships with Lindenberg, Germany and Brecon, Wales.
While serving on a city council was never a goal of TerHaar’s, she found the experience worthwhile.
“When Gretchen Driskell approached me about being appointed to City Council, I had no idea it would lead to nine years and two months of a really amazing experience,” TerHaar said. “I'm very, blessed to have been able to serve the city and my fellow citizens and I treasure having gotten to know so much about the city.”
TerHaar offered her gratitude to the city staff.
“We have a wonderful and dedicated city staff and I don’t think people get a chance to see this on a day-to-day basis,” TerHaar said.
McClelland was elected to council in 2015 and re-elected in 2017.
“Heidi is leaving us after four years of service. She was deeply involved and active in the community in advance of running for council. I'm so glad that she did run for council. I regret that she's leaving us,” Marl said. “Like Linda, she brings a very common-sense approach to problem-solving. She is very positive and upbeat, and people really enjoy working with her.”
McClelland was most known for her work on the parks commission, the youth council and arts and culture committee.
“I know that you're going to stay involved and active in the Saline community and we expect great things from you in the future,” Marl said. “You've done a phenomenal job on council. I hope you've enjoyed the experience.”
McClelland said she was first approached to run by TerHaar and former councilor Terri Sibo-Koenig.
“I had never thought about that before,” McClelland said.
She went home to tell her husband, thinking he’d be against the idea. Instead, he encouraged her. McClelland decided to run.
“It’s been a privilege for me to be able to serve. I look forward to still being involved in the future,” McClelland said.
She echoed TerHaar’s point about the city’s dedicated staff.
“We are so blessed and lucky to have people like this working for our city,” she said.
Councillor Jack Ceo said it was a pleasure to work with McClelland and TerHaar.
“It's with the regret that I see them go. But I look forward to working with our new council members and learning what they bring to the table,” Ceo said.