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Changing Of The Guard As Old Aldermen Say Farewell

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Outgoing Ald. Bernard Stone at his final City Council meeting. (CBS)

Outgoing Ald. Bernard Stone at his final City Council meeting. (CBS)

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UPDATED 05/04/11 6:02 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — It was certainly no ordinary Chicago City Council meeting on Wednesday.

There were a lot of goodbyes as Chicago gets ready for a new mayor and a much different cast of aldermen.

It will be the largest freshman class in City Council since 1991 and a lot of folks are making big changes, CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.

There are all sorts of reasons why they are going, all sorts of predictions about how this will change the city council. For a moment those thoughts were put aside as Mayor Daley, who is also stepping aside wished them well.

“They have sacrificed on behalf of their entire community, ” Daley said.

For 12 aldermen, it was a day of goodbyes. Each departure had its own story. Four fought and lost to stay here including, Freddrenna Lyle of the 6th Ward.

“Life has a way of taking you places you hadn’t planned on going,” she said.

Some–like 50th Ward Ald. Bernie Stone–are coming to terms with their defeat after a lifetime of public service.

“It’s a little emotional,” said Stone. “I’m sorta happy and I am sorta sad, but life goes on.”

36th Ward Ald. John Rice is among those still coming to grips with the changes in his political life.

“It’s bitter,” Rice said. “It hurts; it’s a tough day for me.”

It was cancer, now in remission, that convinced 45th Ward Ald. Patrick Levar to save his energy for a different fight.

“I am gonna get healthy,” he said. “I am gonna beat my sickness.”

They’re seasoned politicians, with advice for their replacements on getting things done Chicago style.

“Working with the mayor is good for the alderman and good for the neighborhood,” Levar said. “I have a new library in Edgebrook. I have a new police station 50 feet from my office.

But with so many new faces joining these ranks, and a new mayor, 41st Ward Ald. Brian Doherty expects things will be different.

“It’s going to be contentious because they are going to have to make hard decisions in a hard economy,” he said.

46th Ward Ald Helen Shiller, who chose not to run, would agree.

“People need to be discussing but you have to do it in a manner that gets solutions,” she said.

That’s advice for tomorrow, but for today there remain the goodbyes.

“I’ll go on to bigger and better things, I hope,” Stone said

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