At last night’s Visalia City Council meeting, the City of Visalia said farewell, and thank you, to retiring Council Member Greg Collins.
It was an evening of recognition of Council Member Collins retiring after thirty-one years of dedicated service. He was first appointed to the Visalia City Council on March 4, 1975.
With family, friends and community members in the audience, and many watching via the meeting’s live stream, Mayor Steve Nelsen opened the session with public comment.
Shannon O’Dell, a former City of Visalia Chief Deputy City Clerk, shared words on behalf of Ted Gabler, former City Manager and Assistant City Manager, noting his work that began in 1975 with a young newcomer to the city council named Greg Collins.
“During my decade long tenure, Greg had an amazing, yet subtle impact on the thinking, dialogue, and often then, the adopted policies of the entire city council,” provided O’Dell, reading from a letter written by Gabler. “Greg was a supporter of managerial innovation, as a planner he took a larger and longer term than many.”
O’Dell was followed at the podium by former City Manager Mike Olmos, who shared reflections of his time first meeting Collins as young planners together at the beginning of their careers and the many years they worked together.
“I’m going to miss your spunk on the council and I think the community will as well,” shared Olmos. “So I want to thank you for your service. You’ve been a great council member and you’ve been a great friend, so thank you.”
City Council Thanks Council Member Collins
Following the public comment period, sitting council members took turns sharing their comments of reflection and congratulations to Collins for his years of service.
Mayor Nelsen closed out the comments from the sitting members on the dias.
“I’ve had the privelage of serving with Greg for a number of years, and I too have a different philosphy on a lot of things,” stated Nelsen. “But the one thing I don’t have a different philosphy on, and what Greg brings to the city council, is his passion and love for the city.”
Collins Reflects and Says Thank You
The meeting then moved into comments from Collins himself where he introduced family and friends in the audience, with a special thank you and recognition to his two children and wife Dorothy.
He then shared thoughts on his time as a council member, noting a special thank you to residents.
“First and foremost I want to thank the citizens of Visalia, it’s been my honor to serve this community,” delivered Collins. “It’s an interesting collection of races and ages and different colors, but the thing that I’m most proud of is that many of them engage themselves in civic affairs thorugh churches, service clubs, athletic organizations, city commissions and committees, and the mark of a great community can be measured by its generosity and it’s support of it’s many non-profit organizations. I think Visalia is unsurpassed in that effort and that’s what make Visalia specials.”
Mentioning moments of time in his many years of service on the council, Collins noted projects of importance, progress made during his decades of service, and ultimately, how special Visalia is.
“I’m reminded of a saying long ago, that former Mayor Pete Peterson, they used to call him Mr. Visalia, had for his descpription of Visalia,” noted Collins. “He said Visalia is halfway between LA and San Francisco, halfway between the mighty Pacific and the majestic Sierras, and halfway between heaven and earth.”
In his final address, Collins shared that although official retired from the Visalia City Council, he will continue to be involved in local government, noting projects of interest ranging from the future City Civic Center to a potential aquatic complex, to general planning in the community.
Collins closed his comments by sharing with the audience, “It’s been pleasure to serve this community, and I will miss all of you.”
The recognition of Council Member Collins’ farewell then continued with Council Member Brett Taylor presentation of a farewell gift that was an artist’s rendering of Visalia landmarks that Collins was instrumental in bringing to fruition.
Council Member Brian Poochigian presented a special, commemorative street sign that read “Collins Avenue” and included his years of service on the City Council.
Mayor Steve Nelsen closed the precedings by presenting Collins with a Resolution of Commendation from the City, signed by each of the Council Members.
Council Member Collins will remain on the dias as a full and regular voting member of the Visalia City Council until the 2022 election results are certified and the Council reorganizes for the new terms.