BRADENTON -- Years ago, Gene Gallo, Ward 1 councilman for the city of Bradenton, met a spirited church woman who caught the attention of city officials when she voiced her displeasure about a questionable lingerie store in her church's neighborhood.
With elections approaching soon after, Gallo asked former mayor Bill Evers who had announced their candidacy for the Ward 2 seat.
To Gallo's surprise, Evers said it was the same church woman that raised concerns over the lingerie store.
Interestingly, for 15 years, that woman sat at Gallo's side during every Bradenton City Council meeting.
That woman is Marianne Barnebey.
On Tuesday during the Bradenton City Council meeting at City Hall, Gallo and other city council members and officials said their goodbyes to Barnebey, whose term expires at the end of the year.
Barnebey, who has
served on the city council since 1998, challenged Mayor Wayne Poston in the November general election and had to resign her council seat per city charter rules.
In the mayor's race, she finished third, behind Poston and Richard O'Brien.
"The city is going to miss you, and I'm going to miss you," Gallo said.
Gallo represented Barnebey with a plaque and congratulated her for having a successful career.
Gallo's comments expressed a sentiment shared by other council members and officials, who described Barnebey as a caring person who offered advice and friendship and spoke on behalf of residents
"You gave a face to the community," said Patrick Roff, Ward 3 councilman.
"You always looked out for us, either if it was bringing food or umbrellas during the storms," said Claude Tankersley, Bradenton's public works director.
Gene Brown, vice president and chief operating officer of Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory, won a three-way battle for Barnebey's seat in November. Brown will finish Barnebey's remaining two term years and will be sworn into office in January.
Barnebey chose not to comment on her departure following the meeting, but amid wiping away tears, did offer a short farewell during the meeting.
"Bradenton, it's been an honor and a privilege," she said.
Nick Williams, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams