Village commends Wayne Ake for dedication as Bosque Farms mayor

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Bosque Farms Village Council meetings don’t usually draw a big crowd, but more than 60 residents and village employees were on hand last week to bid a fond farewell to out-going Mayor Wayne Ake.

Clara Garcia-News-Bulletin photo: Bosque Farms Councilor Robert Knowlton, left, presents Mayor Wayne Ake, right, with a plaque of appreciation for the eight years he’s served in office. Ake is running for one of two at-large council positions, while Knowlton is running unopposed for the mayor position.

Ake, who decided not to seek a third term as mayor, may be stepping down from the helm, but he isn’t going far. He will once again assume a seat on the village council next month after the municipal elections.

Ake has served as mayor for the last eight years, and before that, spend four years on the village council.

During Thursday night’s meeting, the mayor was lauded by village employees and residents for his work for the village. Fire Chief Spencer Wood, who, on behalf of the entire fire department, presented Ake with a plaque thanking him for his leadership.

“We know you’re not going far,” Wood said, “and we look forward to working with you as a councilor. Again, thank you for all you do. We appreciate it.”

Bosque Farms Police Chief Greg Jones also commended Ake for his work as mayor, and thanked him for his commitment to the police department.

“I can’t say mayor without thinking of Ake,” Jones said. “You’ve been here eight years as mayor … and everything that we enjoy here has a great deal to do with your dedication to this community, even as far as donating your salary to the police department.”

Cliff Hibdon, the director of the village’s utility department, also stood up to thank Ake for his work as mayor.

“From all of us in the utility department, we just want thank you for being mayor for the last eight years and we’ve enjoyed working for you,” Hibdon said.

After asking all the village employees stand, Gayle Jones, the village clerk/administrator said, “On behalf of the staff, we just want to thank you. It’s been a great eight years and we look forward to working with you on the council.”

Not only did village employees express their gratitude to Ake, but so did member of the village council.

Councilor Dolly Wallace said while she and Ake butted heads a few times, “we appreciate all the work you’ve done for the village for the past eight years.”

Councilor Bill Kennedy echoed those sentiments, and said, “It’s been a pleasure working with you. I was one of the ones in the group who worked to get you elected.”

Councilor Bob Knowlton, who is running unopposed for mayor, thanked Ake for “showing him the ropes.” He said when Ake first became mayor, the village was “in shambles.”

He commended Ake for his work on making the police and fire station into a reality, finishing to bike path project and others.

“I don’t know how you did it, but we’ve even managed to dodge the bullet on the arsenic,” Knowlton said. “…The village is a part of Wayne’s heart and soul.”

Ake told the audience that when he was first elected mayor, the village had no treasurer, no planning and zoning officer and no clerk administrator.

“On the first day I was mayor, I got a phone call from the contractor who worked on our bike path,” he said. “He told me that if he didn’t have a check in his office by the end of the day, he was going to sue me. Needless to say, we figured out how to get him paid.

“(Former) Mayor (Louis) Huning, who served almost 30 years as mayor, was my mentor, and he used to tell everybody that his staff ‘was the stuff, I’m just the fluff.’ And that’s how I feel about our staff,” Ake said. “They’ll do anything I ask.

“I know God’s glad that I’m going to the council and not mayor anymore because he’s probably tired of me begging and whining.

“I’ve said a lot of prayers on many issues, such as the police and fire department.”

Ake thanked the village staff for all their hard work and help, saying what they do on a daily basis made his job easy.

He also thanked his wife, Lodi, saying, “Behind every successful man is a good woman, and I’ve certainly had the best.”

As for his successor, Ake jokingly told Knowlton, “You mess up, I’ll run against you in four years. So don’t mess up.”

At the end of the meeting, village resident presented Ake with a photo of himself, which he hung on the wall with other former Bosque Farms’ mayors.

“You have taught me so much, and I was one of those who worked not to get him elected,” McNabb said. “We’ve come so far in the last eight years. Boy did you ever make a difference for me. I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart. He’s one of the gentlest gentlemen I have ever met.”


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.