“You don’t look a day older, Fred,” observed Arthur Athas.
Similarly, Mike Garabedian joked, “He looks so good since he’s been off the council.”
Rico Mello suggested lightly that Murtagh might run for the seat he is vacating in Ward 3. (Another former veteran councilor, Bill Toomey, has declared his interest in the job.)
Murtagh was smiling, looking energetic and fit. But he made clear his career as a councilor is over.
“I had a good run,” he said when a reporter asked if he missed the council. “I had my time, and it’s time for new blood.”
He responded to the praise from his former colleagues by mentioning them by name and saluting their work. He conceded that the Licensing Board will be a new experience.
“I’ll probably call Minnie Dakos in a couple of days. On the board, I’ll take each case as it comes,” Murtagh said.
The Licensing Board can assign licenses, and it polices their use, guarding, for example, against sales to minors by bestowing penalties on those who violate the prohibition.
“I give Mayor Bettencourt a lot of credit,” Murtagh said. “And I told him tonight, ‘Take care of your family first.’ Because life goes on.”
Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.