Columbia County officials maintained a light-hearted mood during the final meeting Tuesday for longtime commissioners Diane Ford and Tommy Mercer.
After serving a combined 24 years on the commission, neither Ford nor Mercer sought re-election this year.
Taking a jibe about his age from commission chairman Ron Cross, Mercer reminded him that once he's gone, Cross will become the eldest member of the commission.
"And now that I'm leaving, Scott (Dean) will be the youngest," quipped Ford.
Ford later addressed county employees with a more serious tone.
"I will miss you greatly," she said. "Thank you so much for your friendship."
Mercer thanked county employees and his former constituents in District 2.
"I've served with some mighty fine people," he said. "(Columbia County residents are) very blessed to have this county to live in."
Mercer also strongly encouraged county residents to pass on making remarks in The Augusta Chroncicle's Rants and Raves or The Metro Spirit's Whine Line. Instead, speak with commissioners or county officials, he urged.
"I have no respect whatsoever for people who don't have the guts" to make such comments using their names, Mercer said.
Once finished, Cross questioned the ability of Ford and Mercer to embrace "retirement."
"We don't think for one second that you're not going to be around," he said.
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