Colleagues bid farewell to April Ford-Griffin
They called her "Mama Duck," for the way she tried to move everyone toward consensus.
She was a "pillar" of an alderwoman despite her short stature, a small lady with big ideas, compassionate, steady, deliberate.
They gave her a crystal bowl, because, as alderwoman Marlene Davis put it, "When you look at crystal, you know that it has that shine, that gleam, but it's also sturdy and lifelong, and that's you."
That's how members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen said farewell to April Ford-Griffin at City Hall this morning.
Ford-Griffin, who has served as 5th ward alderman since 1997, stepped down to become the head of the city's Civil Rights Enforcement Agency, a role Mayor Francis Slay appointed her to earlier this month. The new job starts Monday.
Ford-Griffin, who's from a political family, says she knew her time to leave the board would come.
"It's always been my prayer that it would come at a time when I could walk away with my head up and still have a good name in place," she said. "I didn't want to be thrown out, ran out, any of those things that have happened to some public leaders."
Her colleague, 22nd ward alderman Jeffrey Boyd, said he most appreciated Ford-Griffin's level-headedness.
"Most people that know me that sometimes, I'm not always that," Boyd said, as a colleague agreed "Amen!" in the background. "I appreciate being able to call you and see you in the neighborhood sometime and just talk to you and vent and whatever, and no matter what my conviction was, you would always draw me back to reality."
The special election to fill Ford-Griffin's 5th ward seat is Dec. 20. The winner will serve until April 2013.