MUKILTEO, Washington (STPNS) -- If nothing else, Tony Tinsley will forever be remembered for his willingness to voice his opinion on city issues – even if it was an unpopular one.

Before his last meeting at City Hall, the city held a reception on Monday to thank Tinsley for his many years of service on the council.

A councilmember since 2004, Tinsley, 70, has served eight years on the council. Council-elect Steve Schmalz succeeds Tinsley in Position 4.

His term officially ends on Dec. 31. Schmalz is scheduled to be sworn in on Jan. 3.

At his reception, Tinsley received a plaque in recognition of his dedication and service.  He also received a list of all of the agenda bills seen by the council over the last eight years.

“From 2004 to current, there were 864 agenda bills, and most of those were your fault,” joked Mayor Joe Marine.

Marine continued: “You have a lot to look back on and be proud of. We haven’t always agreed, but we’ve always gotten along, and I’ve certainly appreciated your service.”

His peers expressed their gratitude for Tinsley’s willingness to voice differing viewpoints on the issues.

“We had great debates,” said Councilmember Randy Lord,” and they were always in the interest of the city and they were always civil, cordial and, frankly, good spirited. I liked the diversity in opinion.”

“Tony’s perspective was Tony’s,” said Council President Richard Emery. “And often it was a relief from all the other perspectives, and I value that a lot. He has a strong sense of values and direction, and he wasn’t that shy about sharing those.”

Council Vice President Jennifer Gregerson said she’ll miss him. She was also elected in 2004.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve with Tony,” Gregerson said. “I feel like he always represented his viewpoint really well, he always stood strong for the issues that he believed in, and I think he’s made a big impact on Mukilteo.”

In April, Tinsley announced he would not run for a third term. After two terms, Tinsley said it was time for him to move on.

Now, Tinsley said, he’ll finally have the time to finish writing a book or two, and to go abroad for six months at a time in Europe or Asia to teach again.

Before he was a councilmember, Tinsley was a professor at Southern Illinois University, with stints at several other universities, including the University of Washington, University of Minnesota, University of Florida and University of Texas. He retired in 1998.

Tinsley’s priorities have been better communication between citizens and the council, avoiding tax increases, increasing public safety, sustaining and enhancing Mukilteo’s natural environment, and maintaining and improving the city infrastructure.

He was a leader for many changes, including the transition from volunteer to career firefighters in the Mukilteo Fire Department; the location of City Hall; renovation of Lighthouse Park and the push for a more open, accurate and responsible city budget.

He served on several city committees, including the Mukilteo Ferry Advisory Committee, Public Safety Committee, Sustainability Committee and Transportation Committee.

Tinsley thanked the city staff; several regular council watchers; his wife, Diane; the Friends of the Community Center; and all the councilmembers he has served with – past and present – for their dedication and support.

“I do appreciate your willingness to continue serving – even though I’m not going to do it anymore,” Tinsley said. “I have never doubted your dedication to Mukilteo nor your enthusiasm for our city.”