Thursday's New Bedford City Council meeting marked the end of over five years of service by Ward 3 Councilor Henry Bousquet. 

Bousquet announced earlier this month that he would be stepping down from his position effective Feb. 1st due to language in the state law that prohibits him from receiving a check for his work on the council while also working as a culinary instructor at Greater New Bedford Voc Tech High School. 

At the beginning of the meeting, the council presented Bousquet with an official resolution and plaque commemorating his service to the city. 

All councilors also wore bow ties, since Bousquet has been wearing them during official business for the last few years. 

While offering remarks, Bousquet's colleagues agreed the terms of this resignation was unjust and that he deserved to be paid for his service. Bousquet served as acting council president for the remainder of the meeting.

To fill the vacant seat, the city will hold a special election this spring. 

Bousquet said he looks forward to working with whoever wins to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

"I fully hope to be able to sit down with whoever gets elected and have a conversation with them about what I feel the issues are, certainly for the ward and also city wide, and some of the things we've been working on here in the council for the last five years," Bousquet said. "I can help cut their learning curve significantly if they're inclined to sit with me and have a cup of coffee."

Nomination papers will be available beginning Feb. 1st and must be returned by Feb. 8th with a minimum of 75 registered signatures. A primary election will be held Tuesday, March 28th and a special election will be held Tuesday, April 25th. 

In other news:

• Councilors held a passionate debate over the approval to an amendment of an ordinance pertaining to salaries of municipal employees. After long discussion, the ordinance amending the Unit C Salary Plan was referred to the Committee on Finances. Several councilors opposed the new language, stating it gives the Mayor's Office too much control over employee salaries. All councilors agreed the city's employees deserve a raise, but want to make sure not to give up their own powers over city finances. The amendment will be discussed Jan. 31st. 

• Council President Joseph Lopes filed two motions relative to special committees to the city council. One would make the Special Committee on Budget Review a Standing Committee of the City Council. That motion was referred to the Committee on Ordinances.

• Lopes also requested to dissolve the Special Committees on Soccer Fields, Charter Revision and Gaming/Casino while also dissolving the Special Committee on Employment Opportunities and moving its duties and responsibilities to the Committee on Labor and Industries. These matters were referred to the Clerk of Committees Office.

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