After five years of public service, Connelley needed only a few minutes to summarize his tenure on the council in a brief and heartfelt speech, thanking the city colleagues he’s collaborated with over the years.
“It’s been a great five years serving this community. It’s truly been an honor and privilege to be a part of Team Oakley,” Connelley said to a crowd of nearly 100 guests during the Dec. 14 council meeting. “… I want to thank the original council for appointing me, and the staff for tolerating me. Most of all I want to thank the staff for all their hard work because they are truly the reason why things get done. The council makes the major decisions, but it is Team Oakley that makes things a reality. I tip my hat to you.”
The hat he tipped was none other than a festive Santa’s cap, a colorful gesture that personified Connelley’s presence on the council. During his five years, he was known for speaking his mind and offering views that weren’t always accepted by the majority. A passionate advocate for the Delta and the Oakley-Antioch shoreline, he often went to Sacramento to make sure Oakley issues had a voice at the capitol.
Although Connelley will no longer represent Oakley in a formal capacity, he’ll continue to be active in the community as a member of the Oakley-Delta Lions Club and the Oakley Chamber of Commerce.
During his council career, Connelley served as vice mayor in 2007 and mayor in 2008. He helped spearhead the Economic Development Plan and initiated the Shoreline Vision Plan. In 2009, Connelley was one of the organizers of the Million Boat Float, a protest of legislation he believed was injurious to the Delta. He also helped preserve 7,500 acres of open space as a member of the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy.
Outgoing Mayor Pat Anderson honored the self-proclaimed “Grandpa Mayor” with a proclamation highlighting his many contributions to the city and honoring his dedication to improving the quality of life in Oakley. Proclamations of appreciation for his service also came from County Supervisor Federal Glover and State Assembly member Joan Buchanan.
As a parting gift, incoming Mayor Jim Frazier presented Connelley with a gift certificate for Vic Stewart’s. “I want to thank you for your service. It’s been a pleasure working with you,” Frazier said. “I’m going to miss you, but I want you to know that you’re not forgotten. … We will support you in all of your endeavors.”