Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore will retire from council when voters head to the polls in September.
The news slipped out at a press conference on Wednesday, to open the new Maitland Sportsground complex.
Planning Minister Anthony Roberts was speaking at the official opening when he questioned the mayor about his plans for retirement.
Cr Blackmore, 72, simply replied “yes”.
He told Fairfax Media that he had spent 22 years on Maitland City Council.
“I owe so much back to my family,” he said when asked why he had decided to stand down.
“My children, my grandchildren – I want to see them grow up. Particularly my grandchildren, they are spread around Australia.
“We have a caravan and there are things that I’d like to see.”
Though the city’s top job came with “a certain amount of stress”, Cr Blackmore said it had been “so rewarding when you see how Maitland has developed”.
“What I have learnt is to work with the government – whichever government – state, federal, no matter whether it’s conservative or whether it’s Labor,” he said.
The well-known Hunter identity and OAM recipient first entered the public eye as a councillor in 1980.
Cr Blackmore has been a National party member, a mayor supported by Labor and has represented the state seat of Maitland as a Liberal.
He has been the leader of in Maitland since 1999, putting him among the state’s longest serving mayors.
It was then that Cr Blackmore resigned from the Liberal Party, to help him work more effectively with state and federal governments of various political stripes.
He said he hoped his legacy would be the continued growth of Maitland.
“It’s the community of Maitland that makes it [the job of Mayor] all the more important,” he said.
“We’re not here for politics, we’re here for the community.”
And the secret to his longevity in the top job?
“Treat all people like you’d want to be treated yourself,” he said.
“There have been some hard times, there have been some people that have been unhappy with me – that’s fine.”