After 16 years in office, Donna Reed Miller was among six City Council members who served at their last meeting on Thursday.
In addition to the Eighth District City Councilwoman since 1996, the others leaving their seats behind were Frank DiCicco, Jack Kelly, Joan Krajewski, Frank Rizzo Jr. and Council President Anna Verna.
At the beginning of the session, Father John Zagarella of St. Gabriel Church – which is located in Verna’s district – noted that the retiring legislators represented “more than 100 years of service to the city.”
While resolutions and bills were voted on during the nearly three-hour session, ample time was dedicated to recognizing those who wouldn’t be in the seats in the middle of Council Chambers when the next session resumes in January.
First up was Mayor Michael Nutter, who arrived just before noon and spoke about the departing members, presenting each with parting gifts hidden behind blue wrapping paper. He recalled sitting next to Miller throughout his own City Council tenure.
“We had some wonderful conversations and got some great things done together,” he said, commending Miller “for a great career here on City Council.”
Then, Councilwoman Marian Tasco presented individual resolutions honoring all six.
Tasco cited Miller’s “distinguished, dedicated” service to the Eighth District. Other council members pointed out that the Philadelphia Tribune named Miller “one of Philadelphia’s most influential African-American leaders” who looked out for “seniors, youth and the economic disenfranchised.”
“I’m certain there will be days that I’ll miss all of you, but there will also be days when I’ll say I’m so glad I’m not there. That’s probably true for everybody,” said Miller, a Germantown resident who chaired the Public Safety and Disabled and Handicapped committees. “I saw City Council as a way to help lots of people. Councilman Kelly said earlier that he’ll miss seeing everyone, but all you have to do is come back and visit, and that’s what I intend to do.”
Miller, who had removed her nameplate from her Council Chambers desk within hours of the session, will retain the councilperson title through Jan. 2, when Cindy Bass and the other new legislators will be sworn in.
Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller spoke at length with NewsWorks about her time on Council a few hours after her last session ended. Look for a story about the conversation on Monday.