Jim Briscoe began serving as town attorney for Hotchkiss and Paonia in 1974. He has just retired, as of the end of December.
This past week he attended his last two town council meetings.
While looking forward to retirement and the new activities it will afford him and his wife, Judy, it's still a time filled with emotion at ending his legal duties.
Neal Schwieterman, Paonia mayor, and Wendell Koontz, Hotchkiss mayor, spoke at the retirement party for Jim at the Creamery Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Mayor Schwieterman shared historical events from 1974 – Sky Lab 4 returned to earth in February; the oil embargo ended on March 18 of that year; Hank Aaron became the all-time home run hitter in April; President Nixon resigned in August; Mohammed Ali beat George Foreman to regain the heavyweight boxing championship; the Rubic cube was invented. Schwieterman said 60 percent of the current Paonia town staff was born after Jim started as town attorney.
Jim Briscoe was appointed town attorney at the March 19 Paonia town council meeting. Don Chapman was mayor at that time.
Mayor Schwieterman presented Jim with a certificate of appreciation with the names of all the trustees and mayors who served during his career.
"Jim was there for all of us for a long, long time. I want to thank you," Schwieterman said.
"I've really enjoyed that period of time. There have been occasions when I wondered about my sanity. I've always felt that I was doing some community benefit. There've been some times we had to argue amongst ourselves about what we should do or shouldn't do. I've always felt a part of the town councils, the mayors, the public works, the town offices. I'll never forget. Frankly, this is a very difficult time for me. I get a lot of positive recommendations telling me I'm going to enjoy retirement and I'm going to expect that and try to make it work to the best of Judy's and my lifetime," Jim said.
Mayor Wendell Koontz made a presentation of an iron bench for Jim. The bench was the idea of Marlene Searle, Hotchkiss town clerk, Tami Smith, Hotchkiss deputy town clerk and Barbara Peterson, Paonia town clerk, and blacksmith Ira Houseweart on the design of the bench.
"This shows our appreciation," Koontz said. "Over these 39 years you have directed our communities so well and provided so much good advice. Thursday night after the [Hotchkiss town council] meeting, Jim and I were visiting and one of the things I wanted to tell you is, what we pass on as adults in this society are values and principles. And you have certainly done that for us. On behalf of myself and the town, thank you."
After the mayors, Jim's family and friends shared some of their thoughts, remembrances and good wishes.
For refreshments, a cake in the design of a book of Colorado Revised Statutes and cupcakes were offered. By the cake was a book, "All I Know About Law," by Jim Briscoe. The pages were blank. It is an example of Jim's good humor that he has always been quick to display.blog comments powered by Disqus