Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Cynthia P. Coad marked her last public meeting Tuesday, bidding farewell to colleagues and offering a musical salute to her husband and close aide, Tom.
Coad, 69, said she was sad to be leaving but was proud of her four years on the board.
"The separation is painful," she said. "But I leave with my integrity intact, my ethics uncompromised and my dignity undiminished."
Coad, a former community college trustee and self-help book author, took her seat on the board in January 1999. She emerged as a strong backer of plans to build an airport at the closed El Toro Marine Corps base.
But voters in March decided that a park, not an airport, should be built at El Toro. In that same election, Coad lost her reelection bid in a bitter race against Fullerton Councilman Chris Norby, who opposed the airport.
Coad's colleagues Tuesday praised her work on behalf of children, drug-addicted mothers and foster kids, and her representation of the sometimes-forgotten unincorporated areas. Supervisor Chuck Smith said Coad was one of the hardest-working supervisors.