EAST ORANGE, NJ — On Monday, Dec. 14, the incoming members of the East Orange City Council set to be sworn into office Jan. 1, had their pictures taken inside the Council Chambers at City Hall.
Later that same evening, at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting, outgoing 1st Ward Councilwoman Andrea McPhatter bade a final farewell to her fellow council members and constituents. She lost her reelection bid in the Democratic Party primary election on Tuesday, June 2, to newcomer Amy Lewis, who will be sworn into office New Year’s Day.
But McPhatter said she will not be around to watch that happen.
“This will be my last meeting,” said McPhatter on Monday, Dec. 14. “I will be out of town for the holidays. I am grateful for the season and I thank each and every one of you.”
McPhatter said she is leaving the council with “many countless memories.” She thanked current 3rd Ward Councilwoman and former City Council President Quilla Talmadge for all the mentoring and support she showed her during her two terms on the council.
“Quilla, you’ve been like a mother to us,” said McPhatter. “I just want to personally thank you. To my residents and constituents, I wish you all a blessed 2016.”
City Council President and 5th Ward Councilwoman Alicia Holman thanked McPhatter for her years of service to the city and for her kind parting words.
“You served your constituents well and we wish you well,” said Holman on Monday, Dec. 14.
McPhatter’s 1st Ward council partner, Councilman Chris James, echoed Holman’s sentiments. He said McPhatter would always be known and remembered for her service, dedication and advocacy on behalf of the city’s youth.
“On behalf of everyone in the 1st Ward, I just want to say thank you,” said James on Monday, Dec. 14. “Thank you for everything that you’ve done, from your First Fridays events to the East Orange Public Library and afterschool programs. Thank you for everything you’ve done.”
Outgoing 5th Ward Councilman Lonnie P. Hughes also said he would not be returning to the city or the council in 2016, and did not run for re-election this year. He said he will be relocating to Maryland once his term is over, but even though he won’t physically be in East Orange anymore, the “City on the Move” will always have a place in his heart.
But Hughes said he does plan to finish out his last days in office by attending the final council meeting of 2015 on Monday, Dec. 28.
“I plan to be here on the 28th,” said Hughes on Monday, Dec. 14. “It’s been a pleasure working with you. I just want to wish you well in your future endeavors.”