Bob Benton served city for 17 years
By Dawn Krebs
FORT PIERCE -- At the Dec. 3 Fort Pierce City Commission meeting, in front of a room filled with friends and family, former mayor Bob Benton said his goodbyes.
Mr. Benton, who has served the city for 17 years on various boards and the city commission as both a commissioner and mayor, chose not to run again for the mayor's seat this year.
Mr. Benton served as a commissioner from January 1996 to January 2004 and as mayor from 2004 to this year.
Instead, he ran against incumbent St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky, who retained his seat in the Nov. 6 election.
Meanwhile, the open mayor's position led to a close race, with Linda Hudson being declared the winner after a series of recounts. Mayor Hudson took her place behind the dais at this meeting, as well.
After the new mayor and board were sworn in, Mayor Hudson's first order of business was to present Mr. Benton with a resolution honoring him for his service.
The commissioners took a moment to leave their chairs and go to the podium to shake his hand.
Afterward, Mr. Benton thanked everyone.
"This has been a family effort since day one, and I couldn't have done this job without the support of my family," Mr. Benton said.
"We've been in the public eye more than most and now maybe we'll sit back a little while."
He went on to thank the people of Fort Pierce for allowing him to serve, along with some individuals who helped him along the way.
As he was leaving the meeting room, he received a standing ovation and some kind words from the commission.
"In the three years I served with you, I admire your perseverance the most," said Commissioner Thomas Perona.
"That, and your utmost desire to promote freedom of speech."
"The city is on strong financial footing now, and part of that credit goes to you," said Commissioner Edward Becht.
"Historically, when people look back, they're going to see this as the renaissance, and you were our mayor during the renaissance."
"We were able to agree to disagree," said Commissioner Rufus Alexander with a smile.
"I want to extend my appreciation for what you've done for our city," said Commissioner Reginald Sessions.
"I look back at the projects you took on. You were very steadfast, and you did it with a meek and humble spirit."
"I admire you very much for putting yourself out there and putting yourself at risk," said Mayor Hudson. "I hope you get to go fishing now and I wish you well with everything you do."
"If you need any help to anyone here, you know where to find me," Mr. Benton said. "I'm not going anywhere."