The Allen City Council last week appointed Debbie Stout to fill the vacancy in the unexpired term of mayor.
Stephen Terrell filed Dec. 9 to run for Collin County commissioner, resulting in the automatic resignation from his position as mayor.
Terrell was first elected to council in 1991 and became mayor in 1997. The local businessman has been elected every term since. As he took the gavel for the first time nearly three decades ago, Terrell has watched his beloved city grow from a mere 34,000 to now more than 100,000.
When he handed the gavel over to Stout last Tuesday, Terrell said he was confident Stout would serve the city well. Likewise, she congratulated Terrell on a “job well done.”
“I love what you’ve done with the place,” Stout said.
During what would have been followed by more appropriate fanfare in another time, Terrell took a few minutes to thank many of the people who left a lasting mark on his time in service to the city.
“I’ve truly enjoyed every bit of it. The citizens of Allen are probably the best people in the world. They’re always gracious and caring,” he said. “The people built Allen, Texas. You told me what you wanted and I just made it happen. … I couldn’t have done it without all the councils that have served with me.”
Notably, he thanked former and current city secretaries Judy Morrison and Shelley George, as well as former city manager Peter Vargas, who retired last year. He described Vargas’ hiring as a turning point in Allen.
In a more emotional tribute, Terrell recognized his wife Sally and their children Stephanie Terrell Guth and Aaron Terrell for their support.
“What people don’t understand about me, from 1991 until Dec. 9, when I started running for my other position, there was only one council meeting that I missed in all of those years – one council meeting – that was my daughter’s wedding,” he said. “All of these challenges and everything else, my wife Sally, wow, golden. … I couldn’t have done it without her, and she’s always been by my side.”
He encouraged continued input from residents and diversity on the council.
“It does make a healthy decision, it does make this council right,” he said. “A blend of people on the council is always good. It’s not good to be one-sided – it needs to heard from all sides.”
Before Stout took her place on the dais to finish out the meeting, Terrell gave a few more parting words. “All I can tell y’all is I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it. Thank you very much, I appreciate it.”
Council Members Carl Clemencich, Baine Brooks, Gary Caplinger and Lauren Doherty thanked Terrell for his leadership and guidance to them throughout the years.
“I always felt like this was a great group of people and that you were the reason for it – your leadership and your temperament,” Doherty said.
A sendoff reception for Terrell was cancelled due to community health concerns and will be rescheduled in the future.