ALBANY -- Michael Barnes and Peter Maass were posing for pictures with friends and well-wishers in the City Council chambers on Monday night. They had just been sworn in as the newest members of the city council, along with incumbent Peggy Thomsen after all three were elected to four-year terms in November.
Nearby, Farid Javandel and Robert Lieber were adjusting to civilian life.
In a city known for its long meetings stretching into the night, Monday's was delightfully brief. Outgoing Mayor Javandel dressed up, with a black top hat, silver patterned vest, scarf -style black wraparound tie and a red, white and blue sash that read, "Mayor." He might not have looked quite like a baby New Year, but certainly a dapper, middle-aged one.
The agenda contained only a few items, among them: certify the November election results, swear in the new council members and praise the old ones. Javandel and Lieber each received a plaque and a proclamation and each politely recused himself from voting on his own proclamation.
Vice Mayor Marge Atkinson read Javandel's proclamation. She drew laughter when she paused after reading, "while serving as Mayor, Farid Javandel presided over a number of well-attended City Council meetings."
Javandel thanked the community and his family. But his most moving words were directed at city staff. "(They've) done so much work with diminished resources," he said. "There's so many good ideas out there and we have to restrain ourselves with the resources we have. Staff makes it seem they can make miracles happen out of nothing."
Javandel then read Lieber's proclamation, followed by council members' remarks about their departing colleague. Again, Atkinson drew laughter.
"I very much appreciate the times -- most of the time -- that you went first (during council discussions)," she said.
All noted Lieber's passion on many issues and it was no surprise that Lieber indicated he won't be disappearing. "Unlike soldiers, old politicians don't just fade away," he said. "I'm not going anywhere."
City Clerk Nicole Almaguer then swore in Barnes, Maass, Thomsen and City Treasurer Kim Denton. At 7:29 p.m. -- less than 30 minutes after the meeting began, Atkinson took the gavel from Javandel and closed the meeting.