By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE -- Councilman Jack Kelly was given 12 years' worth of accolades on Nov. 19 at the special Port St. Lucie City Council meeting. It was the last time he sat on the dais.
The meeting started with a special proclamation honoring Councilman Kelly for his many years of service, resulting in a standing ovation for the councilman.
Afterward, Mayor JoAnn Faiella presented him with a plaque to show the city's appreciation.
"I can't tell you how much you're going to be missed," she said. "This is for all the hard work you've done for the city of Port St. Lucie.
In a moment of levity, Councilman Kelly raised the plaque above his head.
"Twelve years and I got a $25 plaque," he joked.
Then, with his family and friends in the front row of city council chambers, he took a few moments to acknowledge his thanks, choking back tears as he did so.
"Thanks for putting up with me, with all the inconveniences," he said. "We got demonized a lot. It's hard up here. It's a tough job."
He acknowledged the hard-working city staff and offered some advice for remaining council members.
"Treat everyone the same, protect everyone's property rights," he said.
Councilman Kelly has held the job since he was first elected in 2000. From his seat on the dais, he has been instrumental in the city's growth, including completing the Crosstown Parkway roadway project, the western watershed project, the city center and the growth of Tradition.
"Out of 165,000 people that live here, only five people get to do this," he said. "Thank you. I love you all."