Archived Story

A public servant defined

Published 5:06pm Thursday, December 12, 2013

Archie Jennings was an effective mayor for Washington because he kept this one thing in mind: the mayor is a public servant.

Before he became mayor, Jennings served the public. He served on several city and community boards, committees and panels. He served two terms as a City Council member. His influence in city business and civic affairs is evident when looking at Festival Park, new businesses at Warren Field Airport and decreases in the amount of money transferred from the city’s electric fund to its general fund.

Jennings would be the first to tell anyone that he accomplished those items with help from the City Council. And he’s right.

Jennings’ farewell remarks as he gave up the mayor’s chair Monday night say a lot about the man. They bear repeating.

“This has been the greatest blessing of my life. I set out to serve, and I was inspired instead. I can only thank the citizens of Washington for letting me for letting me be your mayor. The team here at the City of Washington, you have no idea how much I’ve enjoyed being your teammate. … It’s been inspiring, something I’ll never forget,” Jennings said.

Jennings knows running a city is a team effort, involving more than just the mayor and council. During his farewell remarks, Jennings made reference to three people “at the table” — the city manager, city attorney and city clerk.

“A lot of (their work goes) unsung, but I can tell you their contributions are not insignificant,” he said.

Jennings called the group “the heart of the city.”

“I’ll just tell you that that for the job, I’m often told it’s a thankless job. I can’t agree with that. I’ve been thanked more often than I could ever imagine — thanks for my service. Again, it’s been my blessing to serve this city. I would just say in a nutshell, the privilege of being your mayor has been my pleasure,” Jennings said.

In an interview before Monday’s council meeting, Jennings indicated there might come a time when he again becomes a public servant.

Let’s hope and pray that happens.

 

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