Eagan City Councilors struggled to keep their composure during a ceremonial send-off on Tuesday night for departing Eagan City Administrator Tom Hedges, who is retiring after 36 years of service to the city.
"If nobody makes the motion to adjourn or seconds it, he has to stay here forever, doesn’t he?" Eagan City Councilor Paul Bakken joked at the tail end of Tuesday night's meeting—Hedges' last in the role of city administrator.
Laughter, nostalgia and emotion blended together during the lengthy ceremony as the council and city officials took their turns honoring Hedges, the city's first and only administrator since Eagan was incorporated. City officials roasted Hedges with a video tribute recounting his early days as Eagan's highest appointed official, and celebrated the progress the community made under Hedges' watch.
But the council also rolled out the welcome mat for incoming administrator Dave Osberg, who was selected in January from a field of four finalists to take the helm after Hedges' departure.
In a tongue-in-cheek moment reminiscent of a national athletic signing event, Osberg and Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire both signed their names on Osberg's employment contract. Maguire then draped a city of Eagan baseball hat and jersey over the new administrator.
"Mayor, council members, citizens, Tom, this night's for you. I'm thrilled to be a part of it, and I look forward to starting in a few weeks," said Osberg, who will assume the role of Eagan city administrator effective March 25.
The ceremony then turned solemn, as city officials personally thanked Hedges.
"I think everything I've learned about city government, I've learned from you," Eagan City Councilor Cyndee Fields said. "Thank you for teaching me and inspiring me to lead the city the way you have led.
"I'm not going to any farther, because now I will cry," she joked.
"This is not goodbye, we do plan to live in the city of Eagan—the best community in the state of Minnesota," Hedges said. "Thank you all so very, very much."