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The longest-serving mayor in Charlottetown history bid farewell to city council on Tuesday night.
It was the final regular public monthly meeting for Clifford Lee, who has spent the past 15 years as the city’s top elected official and the previous 15 years as a sitting councillor.
As is tradition, a portrait has been painted of Lee by local artist Henry Purdy and has been hung high on the wall of council chambers at City Hall on Queen Street.
Prior to being elected as mayor, he served as a councillor for 15 years, first elected in November of 1987. He was elected as the 45th mayor of Charlottetown in November of 2003, replacing George MacDonald.
Lee was re-elected as mayor in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 municipal elections. Earlier this year, he announced he would not seek a fifth term, moving on to oversee the province’s affordable housing strategy instead.
He will be replaced on Dec. 6 by Mayor-elect Philip Brown, following Brown’s victory in the recent municipal election over Kim Devine, Cecil Villard, Jamie Larkin and William McFadden.
Lee kept his remarks brief on Tuesday night following a standing ovation from city council and those gathered in the public gallery.
“I want to congratulate members of council who were returned to office. I have every confidence the city will achieve great things going forward.’’
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee
“I want to congratulate members of council who were returned to office,’’ Lee said, adding that he wanted to welcome councillors-elect Alanna Jankov and Julie McCabe who were sitting in the gallery.
“I have every confidence the city will achieve great things going forward.’’
Lee noted that he also has every faith that Brown will do a great job.
In addition to Lee’s duties as mayor, he has been a member of the Atlantic caucus for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities and the Atlantic Mayor’s Congress.
Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy read a citation in Lee’s honour at the conclusion of Tuesday’s council meeting.
“You have truly made Charlottetown a place where great things happen and have been instrumental in countless projects and initiatives that have moved the city forward,’’ Duffy said.
Coun. Melissa Hilton also bid council farewell. She was defeated in Ward 6 by the incumbent, Bob Doiron.
“These last 13 years have been incredible,’’ Hilton said of her time on council. “It has been a fantastic learning opportunity. I never let (being on council) consume me. I think we (as an outgoing council) can hold our heads very high. We haven’t seen a tax rate increase, which I am very proud of.’’
It was also the last council meeting for Coun. Eddie Rice who didn’t re-offer in the election. He will be replaced by Jankov in Ward 1.