Jim Ireton offers heartfelt farewell in departure

Jim Ireton, an outgoing Salisbury City Council member and former two-term mayor, gave an emotional farewell to city employees, friends and family during Monday night’s council meeting.

“Thank you, Salisbury,” he said. “Thank you so much for the opportunity to be everything I thought I could be.”

Ireton, 49, who has been active in local politics since he was 19 did not seek re-election to his District 4 seat, saying it was time to focus on his personal and professional lives.

During the roughly 20-minute speech, Ireton thanked city employees by name, calling them “unsung heroes” who make sure trash is picked up and that residents have water and sewer services.

Ireton called the city’s police chief his “touchstone” of the last four years.

“If it was possible for me to have another sibling, it’s Barbara Duncan,” he said of the city’s Police Chief.

On Mayor Jake Day, Ireton called him “an inspiration to us all every day with his drive, with his vision, with his ability to bring people together. I cannot tell you there’s anyone who works any harder than he does.”

Ireton also paid tribute to the late Mayor Paul Martin, calling him “a most amazing man” who met with him as a teenager and taught him what it means to be a public servant.

And Ireton thanked family members, including his mother and sisters, who he said made it possible for him to do everything in his life.

Ireton congratulated Michele Gregory who is replacing him on the City Council. “What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing for you and for District 4,” he said.

Gregory, who won the Nov. 5 election 478-122 over Jonathan Taylor, was sworn in Monday night along with the four returning council members April Jackson, Muir Boda, Jack Heath and Angela Blake.

“I can’t wait to get to know all of you individually,” Gregory told the other four.

During Monday night’s meeting, council members unanimously picked Heath for another term as their President and returned Boda as Vice President.

Council members said they would miss Ireton and wished him well. Heath called him “the conscience of the council.”

Next week on Nov. 25, Day will be sworn in at the Salisbury Fire Department Station 16 where he will address the crowd. The 6 p.m. event also will serve as a ceremonial swearing-in for City Council members.

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