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Three Aurora aldermen say goodbye to City Hall

AurorAlderman Rick Lawrence 4th Ward is honored by city officials including Alderman John 'Whitey' Peters 5th Ward for serving two

Aurora Alderman Rick Lawrence, 4th Ward, is honored by city officials, including Alderman John "Whitey" Peters, 5th Ward, for serving two terms as ward alderman. Tuesday night's City Council meeting was the last for Lawrence; Alderman Allan Lewandowski, 9

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Updated: May 28, 2013 7:38PM

AURORA — Tuesday night brought laughs and tears to City Hall as aldermen said farewell to three of their own.

The City Council meeting was the last for three Aurora aldermen: two-term alderman Rick Lawrence, 4th Ward; two-year Alderman Allan Lewandowski, 9th Ward; and Alderman Lynda Elmore, 10th Ward, who has served the city since 2001.

In a farewell speech, Alderman John “Whitey” Peters, 5th Ward, said Lawrence was a great asset to Council’s Buildings, Grounds and Infrastructure Committee.

“We haven’t always agreed, but we’ve always gotten along,” Peters said.

Peters couldn’t resist getting in a joke with Lawrence.

“To show you how smart he is, we have this big flood and everything would be coming to BGI. [Now] he’s gone,” Peters said.

Lawrence, an outspoken critic who often clashed with Mayor Tom Weisner, said he stood for what he believed as alderman. He said he’s proud of what has been accomplished in the last eight years in the 4th Ward.

“At times, maybe my New York kind of came out in the way that I said something,” said Lawrence, a Long Island native. “I want to say something to my fellow Council members — it was never personal. I respect everybody up here.”

In an emotional tribute, Alderman Bob O’Connor said Elmore added valuable input as a member of the city’s Finance Committee.

“I jokingly said that she saved me so much time because she’d ask questions that I’d already written down so then I don’t have to take the time at that point,” O’Connor said. “We’re going to be absent a very good person when we see Lynda leave.”

Alderman Abby Schuler, 1st Ward, said Elmore left big shoes for her to fill when she became 10th Ward alderman. O’Connor’s words solicited tears from Elmore. She first thanked her husband for supporting her during three terms as alderman.

“I can’t say enough here about the staff at the city. I have badgered them, I have annoyed them, I have called them, and they always come through and they’re always polite,” she said. “They have put up with me for 12 years and I appreciate that.”

Elmore is moving from Aurora to Virginia.

“I am going to miss Aurora and it’s emotional,” she said before thanking Weisner and fellow aldermen.

Longtime Alderman Mike Saville, 6th Ward, said Lewandowski served the 9th Ward well.

Lewandowski, who was appointed to the post by Weisner, said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve and gave his best wishes to the ward’s next alderman — Ed Bugg.

Lawrence left his 4th Ward seat to run for Alderman At-large against seven term Alderman O’Connor; he failed in that bid. Lewandowski and Elmore decided not to seek reelection.

Aldermen-elect Bill Donnell, 4th Ward; Bugg, 9th Ward; and Lynne Johnson, 10th Ward, will be seated to Council May 7.

Lawrence said he won’t hesitate to speak up as a citizen at City Council meetings if he doesn’t agree with a move the next Council is making.

Peters responded: “Well on behalf of City Council, remember these five words: ‘Your three minutes are up.’”

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