Twenty-five years ago, City Councilman John Crawford and Joe Bonahoom, the council's attorney, both campaigned for an at-large council position, Bonahoom said in a rare public comment Tuesday.
Bonahoom has been the council's attorney for 24 years, 20 of which serving with Crawford. He described it as a true learning experience and "one of the highlights of my legal career."
Councilmen Michael Barranda, R-at large, and Crawford, R-at large, will both leave office on Jan. 1. Crawford served for 20 years. Barranda is completing his first term. Bonahoom was joined by the other council members in thanking Barranda and Crawford for their service.
"You did it right. We didn't always agree, but you did it right," Bonahoom told Crawford. "I think a testament to that is you have a gentleman sitting next to you (Councilman Glynn Hines) that's been here for 17 of your 21 years and I've seen the two of you go toe to toe on issues. Yet, today you sit here as friends and respected colleagues and I think maybe in response to something that came out in the campaign, I think that Fort Wayne was fortunate. You've been a shining light for 20 years with your service to this community."
In his remarks, Crawford described his tenure as "a heck of a party. This is a hard job, but it's very rewarding."
Crawford, who cast some controversial votes in his time – the smoking ban, funding for Parkview Field and some tax increases – said he's never regretted his work.
"These tough votes, along with the good work done by this council and the previous council and we've had good mayors, those tough votes are the reason Fort Wayne is a much better and a stronger city than it was 20 years ago," Crawford said. "For future council members coming in, you will regret it far more if you don't vote for what you think is right and vote in political ways.
Crawford concluded his remarks with a quote from former President Ronald Reagan: "I think the result has been not bad, not bad at all."
"I've enjoyed every minute with all of you and who knows, I might be back," Crawford said.
In his remarks, Barranda applauded his fellow City Council members.
"It's hard, but it's also a privilege to have served, not only to have served constituents but to serve alongside my colleagues here," Barranda said. "It's been said over and over again, we disagree, but we disagree respectfully and we respect the work each other does."
Barranda also thanked Crawford for his service.
"He's set a great example, I know, for myself, even though we've disagreed on several issues as well," he said. "I think that's what we respect out of each other is that even from an intellectual standpoint you can disagree with someone and still respect where they're coming from."