During the first Pendleton City Council meeting since his sudden death, Councilor John Brenne received a tribute.
Teresa O’Halloran of the Oregon state office of the Corporation for National & Community Service presented the council with a President’s Volunteer Service Award addressed to Brenne.
Fighting back tears, O’Halloran explained how Brenne committed to moving out to Eastern Oregon more than 40 years ago because the region was low in senior services. He became the executive director of Pendleton’s Foster Grandparents program and never left.
O’Halloran read aloud a letter signed by President Donald Trump, which touched on Brenne’s thousands of hours of service and his contributions to the community.
She joked that Brenne, a registered Democrat, would have been displeased that he had received a commendation from Trump, of whom he was not a fan.
“He’d kick my butt,” she said with a laugh.
The council’s remaining seven members made their own tribute when they voted on the consent agenda, a package of agenda items considered minor enough that the council votes on them without discussion.
With Brenne known to be quick to second a motion for approval, the council simultaneously seconded the consent agenda before it was passed.
Contained in the consent agenda was a resolution declaring a vacancy for Brenne’s Ward 1 seat, which covers South Hill, the downtown area and Riverside.
The council will appoint a replacement to fill the rest of Brenne’s term through the end of 2018. If the replacement wants to stay beyond the end of the year, he or she will have to file to run for a full term in the municipal election by March 6, the same deadline for potential appointees to send their applications.
Retired firefighter John Cook is the only person to file for the Ward 1 race, but he was noncommittal about seeking appointment in a previous interview.