Two Normal council members regret partisanship as they bid farewell

Fritzen and McBride
Council members Jeff Fritzen and R.C. McBride at their final council meeting Monday night. They will be replaced by Stan Nord and Karyn Smith. (Photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)

 

By Howard Packowitz

NORMAL – Two Normal Town Council members, who attended their final council meeting Monday night, lamented that the divisiveness afflicting national politics has spread to the local level.

Jeff Fritzen decided not to run for re-election after serving 32 years on the council, and also running and losing a race for mayor against incumbent Chris Koos.

Fritzen regretted the past two municipal elections have become very partisan even though though local races are for non-partisan positions.

According to Fritzen, one of the Normal council’s strengths is that its elected leaders and staff are able to reason through difficult issues.

“Our ability to disagree without being disagreeable. If somebody asks me what’s your hope? That would be my hope, that we return to that. That we set aside the negativism,” said Fritzen.

First-term council member Chemberly Cummings said Fritzen is a grandfather-like figure and mentor who reminds her of the late President George H. W. Bush.

Council member Kathleen Lorenz praised Fritzen for being the “true statesman” of city government.

Also bidding farewell to the council is R.C. McBride, who was defeated in his re-election bid.

“In a world where and in a point in our country’s history where so many are so angry about so much, so much of the time, and many times with very good reason, that feeling of anger is pervasive,” said McBride.

“We need more Jeff Fritzens,” McBride added.

McBride congratulated council newcomers Stan Nord and Karyn Smith, who attended Monday night’s meeting. McBride warned them they’re going to upset people no matter what they do. That’s what makes the council position a hard job, McBride also said.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

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