AZTEC — The nameplates on the commissioners' bench reflected the previous group, but the sense of change was clear.
At Tuesday's Aztec City Commission meeting, outgoing Commissioner Eugene Current and Mayor Pro-tem Jim Crowley sat on the bench just long enough to welcome their replacements.
Newly elected commissioners Katee McClure and Sheri Rogers took their commission seats for the first time on an all women-led commission. McClure and Rogers joined Mayor Sally Burbridge, Roberta Locke and Sherri Sipe.
"Has it only been six years?" mused Current. "I try not to get emotional because I've been accused of crying at garage sales. I've had a great experience. I've gotten to work with some fine, honest and ethical people. They're not just good folks, they're service-minded folks. And believe me for what they pay, this is charity."
Current said one of his greatest honors was working with Crowley, and he offered praise for Burbridge.
"I admire Sally Burbridge," he said. "I'm a better person for having met you."
Current got emotional when he turned his attention to Crowley, who has spent much of the last year battling colon cancer.
"(Crowley) is a person who is an analyzer and can hold feet to the fire," Current said.
City Manager Joshua Ray also got emotional as he thanked Crowley for his eight years on commission.
"You may not be our commissioner (any longer), but you are forever our friend." Ray said.
Crowley acknowledged his years on the commission and noted the changes, especially the infrastructure.
"I'm going to take time to get well, and I am going to get there," Crowley said, thanking his colleagues for working together to accomplish many of the goals and priorities of the city.
Then Judge Karen Townsend administered the oath of office for Burbridge and newcomers McClure and Rogers, who were each elected on March 4 to four-year terms.
In Aztec's commissioner-management form of government, the commission nominates and votes to elect the mayor and mayor pro-tem at the first meeting after an election.
Commissioner Sipe nominated Burbridge to another term as mayor.
"Madame Mayor, I'd like to move that our current mayor stay the mayor, Sally Burbridge," Sipe said.
"This is not awkward at all," Burbridge joked as she called for a vote.
She was elected unanimously by the commissioners.
"Thank you, I think," she joked.
McClure nominated Sipe as mayor pro-tem.
Intergovernmental board seats were also elected.
"Thank you, ladies. See? That was not nearly as painful as it may have seemed," Burbridge joked.