Councilor at Large John R. Connolly quietly returned to work Wednesday, slipping into the council chambers about 15 minutes late and taking a seat in the chair he has occupied for the past six years.
Councilor Robert Consalvo stepped over to shake his hand, and Connolly settled in as the Boston City Council went about its weekly business.
“It’s awesome to be back on the City Council,’’ Connolly said later.
But it was also a tough pill to swallow. He had hoped to be mayor-elect, but Tuesday’s election did not go as he had planned, and now he faces an uncertain future, with his council term expiring at the end of the year. Connolly said he didn’t sleep much Tuesday night.
“I haven’t started processing it,” he said of the election outcome. “I’m glad it’s over, win or lose. I’m glad I did it. I wouldn’t have changed anything about it.”
During the meeting, the councilors considered a request for a hearing for disgruntled school bus drivers, debated the merits of a school reorganization plan, and approved designating a community room at the East Boston branch library for Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
When the meeting came to a close an hour later, Councilor Matt O’Malley addressed his colleagues. He wanted to acknowledge Connolly’s hard-fought race.
‘He made us all proud. . . . Marty Walsh will be a better mayor because of this.’
“He made this body proud,’’ O’Malley said. “He made us all proud. . . . Marty Walsh will be a better mayor because of this.”
The other councilors stood and cheered, applauding loudly, and Connolly’s face broke into a broad smile.
For all the councilors, it seemed a day of varied emotions. Four men on the council — Connolly, Consalvo, Michael Ross, and Felix Arroyo — ran for mayor and lost. All now are looking for work. Others had survived their respective races, triumphant but scarred. Some had sailed through easily.
Before the meeting started, councilors showered each other with good wishes and exchanged hugs and handshakes.
“Buddy! Congratulations,’’ Consalvo said to O’Malley, who easily retook his West Roxbury district seat.
O’Malley hugged Ayanna Pressley, who topped the ticket in her third run for one of four at-large council seats. Michelle Wu, a South End lawyer, and Michael Flaherty, who had given up his council seat in 2009 to run for mayor, also won at-large seats. Council president Stephen J. Murphy was reelected, making him the longest-serving at-large councilor, entering his ninth term.
In January, the council will see two new district councilors: Timothy McCarthy of Hyde Park’s District 5 and Josh Zakim, son of the late civil rights activist Leonard P. Zakim, who won in Mission Hill’s District 8.
Bill Linehan, District 2 councilor since 2007, survived a tough contest and was all too happy about prevailing in a fierce rematch with former Boston public schools principal Suzanne Lee, who had been seen as a symbol of a new, culturally changing Boston.
At one point, Linehan pulled out a photocopy of a dinosaur picture from a folder and flashed it at Murphy, who was standing on a podium nearby. Both men then started laughing, apparently making fun of the local media’s depiction of Linehan as being from an old and out-of-touch era of Boston.
When city clerk Maureen Feeney called Linehan’s name to get the meeting started, he the District 2 councilor responded, “Still here.”Meghan E. Irons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.