BY JAMES HARPER
Tears were shed as outgoing Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey and Commissioners Cassandra Reynolds and Edith Shelley spoke their final words as elected officials at the Nov. 7 city commission meeting.
Reynolds had a prepared statement but couldn’t help but speak off the cuff as she noticed her sister Dr. Valerie King in the audience. Reynolds also spotted her daughter Stacy Reynolds Carruth with her husband and their children, Reynolds’ grandchildren.
The only family member missing was her son Michael McLaughlin who the night before welcomed his first child with his wife and another grandchild for Reynolds.
“My son is a new father. I look forward to spending time with my new grand,” Reynolds said, adding that she never envisioned being a city commissioner.
She noted that Charles Cherry (former Zone 6 commissioner and Daytona Times publisher) and family members asked her to look into it when he became ill. He died in November 2004; she took on the challenge and has served since December 2004.
Proud of accomplishments
Reynolds called herself “a woman of few words,” noting that “since I’ve been on this commission I didn’t talk that much.”
“Before I was a city commissioner, I was a social worker. This is an extension of that, but I do it on a broader basis. It has also allowed me to meet a lot of great people and work with some wonderful people,” Reynolds continued.
Reynolds said she is proud of all the accomplishments under her reign produced with other commissioners, the mayor and citizens.
“It takes all of us whether we agree or disagree. End of the day we come together,” Reynolds said, adding that she was most proud to see the construction to the Midtown Cultural center and the completion of a number of drainage projects. She acknowledged that there needed to be more to deal with the potential flooding throughout the city.
Reynolds said she couldn’t wait for the completion of the Yvonne Scarlett Golden Community Center named after the city’s first Black mayor.
“That is going to be a fabulous building. How fortunate it was for me to serve with her. I learned so much from her. She would take you under her wing. Everybody was like her child and you could not help but learn,” Reynolds said about her colleague and friend who died in 2006.
Reynolds concluded by referencing Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of Bethune-Cookman University – her alma mater.
“To the upcoming commission, I leave you a legacy. I leave you the willingness to cooperate and find workable solutions. I leave you the responsibility to keep in mind the least of us, as you govern, when you take care of the least of us you take care all of us. I leave you a sound budget and the challenge to develop a fiscally sound one each year, but most of all, I leave you love,” concluded Reynolds to applause.
Shelley, Ritchey reflect
Shelley, who lost the mayoral election to Derrick Henry on Nov. 6, said she really enjoyed serving with the commission.
‘It was never a goal of mine to be in public office. Some things were going on in the community and Glenn Ritchey was our mayor. I was very inspired by what was happening. That was my encouragement to move forward. I appreciate the support I’ve had. This commission has approved some wonderful projects that will have impact on community for years to come,” Shelley said, choking back the tears.
Finally, Ritchey also said it had been a pleasure for him to serve as mayor.
“A lot of you don’t know I was raised by my grandmother. I came to Daytona Beach in 1961 playing a guitar. I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. This community has been wonderful to my family and me. I could never give back enough,” Ritchey said.
“The people up here I work with are inspiring. All of our polices should be that our most rigid policies are flexible,” Ritchey said, explaining that he would come to many meetings with his mind made up on how he was going to vote on an item until he heard something from one of his colleagues that he had not considered.
“Sometimes we get so entrenched and draw lines and we don’t allow flexibility to move in. This commission has not proven to be that way,” Ritchey added.
Ritchey concluded saying this would not be his last city commission meeting.
“I will come back if you allow me to talk for three minutes,” he said to laughter referencing a change in policy the commissioners agreed to this year that now limits citizens’ comments to two minutes.