Last night was Metro Clerk Ana Escobar's last Metro Council meeting before she leaves for her new gig as become deputy director of the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts.
She was honored with a resolution, and a standing ovation, from council members whose admiration and gratitude for her service was evident. Full disclosure: I briefly applauded from the press box.
As noted in the council resolution, "Escobar practiced criminal law for over fifteen years in Nashville, serving as a prosecutor in the Office of the District Attorney, an assistant public defender in the Office of the Public Defender, and as a private criminal defense lawyer." She was appointed as Metro Clerk on July 5, 2011, making her the first Hispanic woman to lead a Metro department.
Most of her work as clerk happens behind the scenes — as witnessed by council members, or the aimless reporters whom she has occasionally assisted in tracking down one thing or another — but here at Pith we've become quite fond of her speaking part at the beginning of every council meeting.
As each council meeting gets under way, it falls to the Metro Clerk note whether there is any correspondence from on high. Typically, there is not, in which case, for more than two years, Escobar has announced:
"There are no messages from the mayor."
But sometimes there are! By Pith's count, Mayor Karl Dean has sent nine messages to the mayor during Escobar's tenure as clerk. Most of those have involved bond sales or other financial matters. For instance, back in July, Dean sent this:
July 1, 2013
The Honorable Diane Neighbors, Vice Mayor
Members of the Metropolitan Council The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
Metropolitan Courthouse, Suite 204 Nashville, TN 37201
Dear Vice Mayor Neighbors and Members of the Council:
Please find attached the State of Tennessee reporting form, State Form No. CT-0253, required to be submitted to the local legislative body following the sale of bonds previously authorized by the Metropolitan Council. The report is for the sale of $56,055,000 Electric System Revenue Refunding Bonds, 2013 Series A, which closed on June 27, 2013.
The refunding issue was structured in conformance with the Nashville Electric Service’s Debt Policy and will result in net present value savings of $5,761,660 (9.78626%) for the Metropolitan Government over the remaining life of the bonds.
As always, we appreciate the Metropolitan Council’s support in these important financing initiatives.
Karl F. Dean
A more festive greeting came in December, 2011:
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 To Members of the Metro Council:
I wish you a blessed and happy holiday season. This has been a challenging year for many of you as you’ve worked on your re-election or election campaigns. I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy this time of year, the slower pace that comes with it, and to catch up with friends and loved ones.
There is much work for us to do in the new year. I look forward to working with all of you to keep our city moving in the right direction. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy New Year!
Sincerely, Karl F. Dean
These much-anticipated messages will continue to arrive, every so often. Someone will announce their arrival or, more often, their absence. It just won't be Ana Escobar, to whom we wish the best of luck.