Commentary | Grateful to family, friends, city staff

McCarthy with her family

Newly-elected City Councilwoman Conna McCarthy delivered these remarks at the Dec. 7 council meeting:

I am delighted to be with all of you tonight. I am fortunate for the opportunity to thank those who helped me get here: Starting with my husband Peter Craigie who steered me into buying our first home in Piedmont 32 years ago. Thank you to our three amazing adult children, Kieran, Cormac, and Kathlyn, all PHS grads. Dad and I are so proud of the challenges you undertake and your service to country and community.  I am particularly grateful to each one of you for taking a leadership role in my campaign.

Thank you to my San Francisco McCarthy Family: My mom, Jackie McCarthy. My brother Niall, my brother Adam, my sister Sharon and their spouses Yvonne, Heather and Dale and my 11 very charming nieces and nephews.

Most importantly I am forever appreciative for being raised by Leo T. McCarthy who taught me and my siblings the value of public service.  He was a profound example of ethical leadership. He counseled each of us to use our knowledge, power, privilege, and voice to create a better community and tonight I am very proud to stand in his reflection.

Thank you to my Campaign Team Photographer Lauren Remer, Sean Wong who designed my signs and media materials, Campaign Administrator Wendy Szczech, Advisors Chad Olcott and our beloved, wise Cameron Wolfe, my Campaign Manager Andrea Swenson who just completed 8 years of service on Piedmont School Board. Thank you for always picking up when I call. Thank you Data Manager Sharon Hom. You make a complicated task easy. And once again, a shout out to my brothers Niall and Adam who made sure I achieved fundraising goals.

Thank you to the Endorsers and Advisors who support my leadership and continue to encourage me: former Mayor Bob McBain, newly elected Mayor Teddy Gray King, Councilmembers Tim Rood and Betsy Anderson.  Councilmember Cavenaugh and I will have some catching up to do bc we were both candidates in this election cycle.  I look forward to continuing collaboration with School Board members Amal Smith, Cory Smegal, Veronica Anderson Thigpin, and Hilary Cooper.   We know that with women at the table, everyone gets fed.

I wear white tonight in deference to the 100 year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. As I am with you tonight in the role of Councilwoman, I am particularly grateful to those Piedmont women, who early on served in elected office sometimes as the only female member of a decision-making body. Sue Smegal, Ann Trutner, Stephi Moers, Valerie Matzger, Susan Hill, Tam Hege  to name a few. The women elected today stand on your shoulders.

Thank you to the folks at City Hall who work every day to make sure Piedmont is a wonderful place to live.

Thank you City Administrator Sara Lilevand  We first worked together  when I joined the Recreation Commission and Sara was Recreation Director. And now I am delighted to be joining Sara’s leadership at City Hall. Sara is the glue that holds all the pieces together. A few months into her job as City Administrator , the pandemic hit. Sara put on a second hat as Director of Emergency Services. All Piedmonters benefit from her thoroughness, patience and adaptability.

Thank you to Asst City Administrator John Tulloch.

John knows the devil is in the details. And while he is patient explaining rules and regulations, he sets a high standard for accountability. He is highly ethical and fair. Most importantly he is eager to help others succeed.

Thank you to Recreation Director Chelle Putzer and her team, Erin Rivera, Jackson Stearns, Steven Chavarria, and Cora Woods. As a Recreation Commissioner I saw first-hand the incredible talent in our Recreation Department. Chelle was on the job for 3 months when the pandemic hit. She deserves widespread applause for her ability to lead a team that is consistently able to pivot with fresh starts and with creativity to meet the needs of all Piedmonters.

When I decided to run for City Council I reached out every Department Head. Without fail, each director responded offering to make themselves available to answer questions, or add background or context or shed light on topics of concern to Piedmont voters. 

-Finance Director Mike Szczech — thank you for your humor and intellect.

-We will all miss Chester Nakahara as Director of Public Works but I am appreciative that Parks and Project manager, Nancy Kent remains a source of continuity.

-Police Chief Jeremy Bowers is a special treasure amid a social re-awakening demanding equity and justice in Police Departments throughout the nation. Kudos to the search team who brought Jeremy to Piedmont. His leadership is gift to all of us.

-Thank you to Planning Director Kevin Jackson. There are several hot topics in your court. I look forward to working with you and your team.

-Welcome Interim Fire Chief Michael Despain, let’s work together to find the next  Piedmont Fire Chief.

Thank you to the Voters of Piedmont

We will build an aquatics facility.

We will plan and prepare and be ready for opportunities to improve existing infrastructure.

We will remain resolute in our pledge as City leaders to embrace differing backgrounds, lived experiences, and beliefs, and look for opportunities to express our shared values for diversity, and inclusivity.

Piedmonters, continue to support your elected council members by sharing your ideas, and volunteering your talents. Ask questions. Challenge us to be better and join us in doing better.

But right now, as the pandemic has suspended our lives,  take care of each other. Look out for your neighbors. Practice patience and forgiveness. Each of us is bearing a burden that pushes us to find new levels of resiliency.

Stay Safe. Stay healthy. Know that your Piedmont leadership is looking out for you.

Thank you.

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