The City of Fairfax bid farewell last week to outgoing City Councilmen Dan Drummond and Steve Stombres in a special ceremony on the City Hall lawn. Each has served for six years, and the June 24 event included Boy Scouts, the City of Fairfax band, and the City Police and Fire Department Joint Honor Guard.
"Both Dan and Steve brought a sense of commitment, purpose and humor to the job," said Mayor Scott Silverthorne. "There are no finer individuals."
"Dan was an excellent communicator," continued Silverthorne. "He helped re-engage his community, Southeast Fairfax, Green Acres in particular. And Steve had the unique ability to diffuse any tense situation with one witty comment. He brought a vigor and a renewed interest in environmental issues and our recycling program."
State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34) and Del. David Bulova (D-37) presented General Assembly resolutions to Stombres and Drummond, both of whom chose not to run for re-election. They also praised the two Councilmen.
"They represent all the best of why people get involved in public service," said Bulova. "They first became involved in activities such as church and Little League in their communities, and they brought that spirit and dedication to the City Council. They’ve made a difference and have left the City in better shape than they found it."
"We’ll miss them," added Petersen. "They did a great job."
Drummond thanked his wife and three children for their support and said he and his Council colleagues made a positive impact on the lives of the City’s 23,000 residents. And while the mayor and Council ultimately cast the votes, said Drummond, "It’s the people of this community who really make change happen and move us forward."
He recalled how it was a resident’s idea that Fairfax officially celebrate Veterans Day and that the members of the City’s boards and commissions collectively advocated for the new Downtown Park. And, he said, "It was my daughter, Sadie, who told me we needed to make sure anyone could live in our City – prompting our City’s first-ever, affordable-housing policy and a long-overdue discussion about the cost of housing in the City."
Drummond said he knows the mayor, Council members and School Board will continue to listen to the residents and respond to the community’s will, "doing what’s right and maintaining Fairfax’s sense of place." He then told each of his fellow Council members how their individual talents bring something special to the City.
He also thanked Silverthorne for being a mentor, friend and big brother to him, and City Manager Bob Sisson and the City staff for all they do. "You are the reason for the City’s success," said Drummond. "Without you, nothing gets done." Finally, he thanked the community for the opportunity to serve, adding, "It truly has been an honor."
Stombres expressed his appreciation to Silverthorne, Sisson and City staff, as well, plus former Councilman and Mayor Rob Lederer. He thanked Silverthorne for his leadership and guidance, and Lederer for his service. And he also thanked his wife and three children for their unconditional love and support.
"I welcome the new members of the City Council and School Board to the close-knit fraternity of men and women who’ve been elected to public office in the City of Fairfax," said Stombres. "I encourage you to listen to the City residents, your colleagues and your heart. Do what you think is the right thing to do when it’s easy and everyone agrees with you – but also when it’s difficult and you feel like a solitary voice alone in the wilderness."
He also let City staff know that the work they do every day really matters. "Your efforts are noticed and appreciated by everyone who lives, learns, works, grows, eats, walks, rides or recycles here," said Stombres. "You’ve impacted more lives in this community than you could ever comprehend."
Furthermore, he encouraged the residents to get involved in their City. "Find a way to help make your City a better place," said Stombres. "I can assure you that every minute you spend, every ounce of energy you provide, every bit of experience you offer to our community will come back to you tenfold. The City of Fairfax is truly a place where everyone gets more than they give."
At Drummond and Stombres’s last City Council meeting, just prior to the evening’s ceremony, they were part of the unanimous vote approving Fairfax’s strategic master plan for parks, recreation and cultural arts. Councilman Michael DeMarco thanked them both for their service and said they’ll be missed.
Councilman Jeff Greenfield said how much he enjoyed serving with them. "When we talk about City issues, it’s not about partisan politics, but what’s best for the City," he said.
"It’s been great working with you all," added Councilwoman Ellie Schmidt. "Thank you for your time and dedication."
Drummond said he considered them all friends, first, and colleagues, second. "There were a lot of late nights and long hours," said Stombres. "We argued, debated difficult issues, listened to and learned from each other; and ultimately, we grew together and accomplished a lot of great things."
"You’re two of the finest people I’ve served with, the past 21 years," added Silverthorne. "The City’s a better place for it, and I wish you both all the very best."