Two community stalwarts were honored for their decades of service and commitment to Winters at the city council meeting Tuesday evening.
Rebecca Fridae, a sixth-grade teacher whose witnessed several generations of Winters residents come through her classroom, was honored with a framed copy of a state legislative resolution presented by former Winters mayor and current Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.
“You’ve been a good role model for students,” Aguiar-Curry said. “You have had them reach out farther in their lives and have a vision in what they do. Many in the community are so grateful for what you’ve done.”
Yolo County Librarian Mark Fink and Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor also honored Fridae, both crediting her local representation at the county level with ensuring Winters was represented in matters concerning the local library.
“I’ve been told many, many great stories by former county librarians about your commitment to the library and the students,” Fink said, adding that she had spent nearly 500 hours in library meetings since joining the library advisory board in 1985.
“That’s not even the fun part,” Fink said. “That’s just her commitment to Winters — to make sure Winters is represented in county decisions involving the library.”
Saylor presented Fridae with a honorary resolution from the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, which Saylor said passed with unanimous approval.
City Manager John Donlevy said Fridae and her husband Woody were some of the key citizens who pushed for the library to be built. His first encounter with Fridae was at a meeting — his first as city manager — on a local measure.
“There was a very passionate woman sitting next to me and she actually corrected a report I was working on as I was sitting there, and later I found out it was Rebecca,” Donlevy said. “At that time we were looking to build a library, and fast forward five years we were at the grand opening of the Winters Community Library which without question Rebecca and Woody were some of the key people in making that happen.”
Also honored at Tuesday’s meeting was City Clerk Nancy Mills who intends to officially retire at the end of the month after more than three decades in the position.
“Working with Nanci has been one of the highlights of my career,” Donlevy said. “The mayor said it best: She really is the Mom of Winters on various things.”
Donlevy called Mills a “very important confidante” who modernized the clerk’s function since she joined in 1986 and consistently put the city’s interest ahead of her own.
“There is nobody in the history of Winters who has had that steady influence if you add it all up,” Donlevy said. Then he did add it up: As city clerk, Donlevy said Mills attended a total of 904 city council meetings, including 720 regular meetings and 128 special meetings as well as 29 city development meetings between 2004 and 2006. In regular time, Donlevy said that equated to 2.5 years or “two years, 182 days as the city clerk coming to the city council meetings.”
“I don’t think you’re getting any of that time back,” Donlevy joked. “Hopefully, you will.”
After Donlevy’s initial remarks, he presented Mills with a bouquet of flowers. The council took a 20 minute break for cake, and then it was back to business as usual. Over the course of the next three hours, Mills kept the council on point — tracking the agenda items, recording the motions, logging the votes, all for the very last time.