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December 21, 2010 > City Council welcomes new members, honors outgoing ones

City Council welcomes new members, honors outgoing ones

By Shavon Walker

On December 13, Emily Duncan, Lorrin Ellis and Pat Gacoscos became the newest members of the Union City City Council. Carol Dutra-Vernaci, Manny Fernandez, and Richard Valle were honored for their service as councilmembers.

The new council will be the most diverse council that the city has had in its 50 year history, due to the addition of two women of color. Pat Gacoscos was sworn in by Manny Fernandez, Emily Duncan by Carol Dutra-Vernaci, and Lorrin Ellis by his mother, Charlene. Each new member was given time to make a short speech.

Pat Gacoscos thanked the audience for coming, as well as the former councilmembers. "I hope I can fill their shoes, since I'm only five feet tall," she quipped. She also pointed out that she was the first Pilipino American woman elected to the office, and hoped that she and the new council will work well together.

Emily Duncan thanked the voters for believing in her, and everyone who supported her throughout the campaign. "You supported me along the way and I will need your support as I continue," she admitted. She also thanked the former councilmembers for their legacy, and her husband Joseph for his patience and advice. "I will work hard and give my all to the city of Union City to ensure that this continues to be a great place to live," she promised.

Lorrin Ellis thanked the voters and former councilmembers as well. "We will continue to push the envelope for the city," he emphasized. He also thanked his campaign members for their help, as well as his family. In particular, he thanked his wife. "Kelly, you are the rock that guides me. I want to thank you for everything you did on the campaign, and I look forward to contributing to the bright future that is our city," he concluded.

City Manager Larry Cheeves hosted the presentations for the outgoing members, who were given tokens of appreciation from the Redevelopment Agency, the Police Department, Leisure Services, and other departments. Police Chief Greg Stewart, one of the presenters, noted the former councilmembers' long history. "On behalf of the city of Union City, thank you for your service," he added.

Manny Fernandez reminded the attendees that when he first joined the City Council, he was the youngest member. "Now, I've found out that I'm the oldest," he joked as the crowd laughed. "I hope [the new members] will enjoy sitting here as much as I did," he continued. He also thanked his wife, the staff and other community members for their support.

Dutra-Vernaci thanked the staff, the police department, and retired director Mark Leonard. "You were all professional and candid when I asked questions. You helped me understand the issues and form my own conclusions," she said. She teared up as she thanked her brothers and husband for their support and help. "I'd like to thank my husband Mike, who always gave me his input, but I'd especially like to thank him for his encouragement."

Richard Valle thanked Barry Ferrier and Hugh McNamara for their service. "Thank you for always stepping out to talk to us and letting us know your opinion," he affirmed. He also thanked Centro de Servicios, Jean Harper, and Pastor Jerome Brown for their help. Lastly, he thanked his wife Barbara and his sister Evonne.

Dutra Vernaci, Fernandez, and Valle all congratulated the new city councilmembers, and wished them the best in their endeavors. They also emphasized the need for teamwork. "Sometimes you wonder how five strong personalities can work together to achieve anything, but we did," explained Fernandez. "In the end, we arrived at very good conclusions that benefitted the city."

A reception to honor both outgoing and incoming city council members was held in the lobby after the presentations.

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