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Country stars wish Futrell ‘Happy Trails’ at final meeting

Friday, February 15, 2008 by Austin Monitor

Members of the City Council pulled off a surprise farewell presentation for out-going City Manager Toby Futrell Thursday evening. While Futrell has avoided any public tributes or parties in her honor, the Council did arrange for two well-known Austin musicians to perform “Happy Trails” during the live music portion of Thursday’s Council meeting, which was Futrell’s last before leaving office.


“She has been persistent that we not do anything…no certificates, no street signs…all that stuff,” said Mayor Will Wynn. “But music is the heart and soul of this community, and no City Manager has been as well versed in, connected to, or a fan of local music as Toby Futrell.”


The Mayor allowed Council Member Brewster McCracken to introduce the meeting’s surprise performers, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison. “Toby only agreed to stay as long as we gave no speeches about how awesome and wonderful she is, so we’re not going to say how much we miss her and love her,” McCracken said. “So instead, we’re going to allow Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison to sing a good-bye song to someone we really love and are going to miss terribly.”


After a rendition of the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans tune by husband-and-wife country music stars Robison and Willis, Futrell had a short but sweet summation of her tenure with the city. “It’s been an honor and a privilege,” she said. “Thank you.”


After the “non ceremony,” McCracken said he had been working the entire day to keep his plans from Futrell, even going so far as to avoid telling her staff, and assigned different people to “babysit” her so she didn’t leave early. “I think she was truly surprised,” he said. “I don’t think she expected this’

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