By Allison Jarrell
Former Mayor Roy Byrnes announced his intent to retire from the dais at the City Council’s Jan. 20 meeting. A 55-year resident of San Juan, Byrnes served multiple terms as mayor. Byrnes plans to retire effective in February, and said he looks forward to focusing his attention on the study of Chinese ceramics of the Ming Dynasty.
“I am retiring because the objectives which impelled my return to this council have largely been attained,” Byrnes said. “We have accomplished what was necessary to achieve, therefore, it’s time to move on.”
Following his announcement, Byrnes left his fellow councilmembers with remarks that garnered an emotional standing ovation.
“The voters of this city have called for a new direction, and we should let it play out. I have confidence in the ability of you councilmembers … I know that you ladies and gentlemen will carry on the people’s business with diligence and with kindness,” Byrnes said, with an emphasis on the latter. “This I beg of you—be kinder than necessary. Be guided by reconciliation, unification and let us celebrate excellence, friendship and respect.”
Byrnes went on to thank the people of San Juan to allow him to serve as a member of the council.
“Truly, I have tried to do my best for all of you,” he said.
Mayor Derek Reeve said the council will begin discussing how to replace he “who cannot be replaced” on Feb. 3.