Riverside County Supervisors Marion Ashley and John Tavaglione Tuesday delivered farewell remarks to colleagues, friends and family during the Board of Supervisors’ final meeting of the year, reflecting on their combined four decades in county government.
“I’m going to miss you all,” Tavaglione said, choking back tears. “Any elected official knows the sacrifice you make doing this. People have asked me what am I going to miss the most? The challenges. I love challenges and trying to help solve problems.”
Ashley looked back to his election in 2002 and recalled the difficulty he experienced trying to win an “open seat.”
“I want to thank everyone who helped put me on the board,” the supervisor said. “It was quite an experience. My aunt was very involved. She’s gone now. My brother was involved. He’s gone. Great folks.”
Tavaglione, the most senior member of the board, to which he was elected in 1994, said he has formed strong friendships — “from the custodial staff on our floor to the Executive Office.”
“I’m going to miss the people I’ve worked with over the past 24 years,” he said. “And I want to thank my family for allowing me to serve. They have kept me in line, told me where to go.”
Ashley said he was touched by the “heartwarming goodbyes” he’d received in recent weeks.
“I’ve had a fantastic staff. Great from the word go,” the supervisor said. “I’ve been blessed to have great people around me.”
Board Chairman Chuck Washington rued the loss of “a lot of historical knowledge and leadership” that will depart the dais when Ashley and Tavaglione do.
Ashley expressed confidence that he and Tavaglione were leaving the county “in good hands,” with his seat being filled by Calimesa Mayor Jeff Hewitt, and Tavaglione’s seat being filled by Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel, both of whom were victorious in the Nov. 6 general election.
The incoming supervisors were on hand, seated with several hundred others to observe proceedings in the board chamber at the County Administrative Center, the front portion of which, the five-story annex, was renamed in Tavaglione’s honor last December.
Representatives from the Riverside County Building Industry Association, the Southern California Water Coalition and Congressman Ken Calvert’s office were among those who saluted the retiring supervisors.
The pair were presented with plaques and documents acknowledging their service. But the parting gifts that elicited chuckles from the two men and those gathered were leather chairs that are identical to the ones in which they’ve sat during their tenures on the board.
With Ashley’s and Tavaglione’s retirements, Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who was elected in 2012, will be the most senior member of the board. He will assume the chairmanship on Jan. 1. The chair is rotated annually.
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