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Marilla says goodbye to two Town Board veterans

Two longtime Marilla council members who lost re-election bids said goodbye to town politics Thursday.

Barbara Spanitz and Warren Handley had held their posts for 16 and 12 years, respectively.

Both Republicans were defeated in a contentious primary after failing to win endorsements from their own party.

The politically charged primary was the result of a yearlong debate over Marilla’s controversial biosolids law and sewage sludge.

But on Thursday, all of that seemed to be water under the bridge in a Town Hall atmosphere that was congenial.

“I know there’s been some turmoil at times,” Supervisor Earl Gingerich said. “Just because we have not always seen eye to eye at the town they do deserve a thank-you. Their decisions were based on what in their hearts they thought was right.”

Gingerich said Handley and Spanitz are his neighbors and spoke highly of them and their families, and praised them for many decisions benefited Marilla.

Both were presented with glass mementoes commemorating their service on the council.

As he unwrapped his gift, Handley jokingly asked if it was necessary to clear the room.

“I guarantee you, it’s safe,” Gingerich said.

Spanitz said she is grateful for the friends she has made while in office and offered praise to all serving on town boards.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve this town for 16 years,” Spanitz said. “It’s not an easy job. I want to thank you for the confidence you’ve had in me for the past 16 years.”

Handley advised new board members to “follow your heart” when making decisions.

“You’ll be challenged with many things,” he said. “Do what you think is right, whether people like your opinion or not.”

The council closes out the year with a wrap-up meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 29 in Town Hall.