Retiring the reins

Williams gives up the gavel after 18 years

Posted: Friday, October 22, 2004

The gavel was passed Wednesday evening, as Pat Porter officially became the 11th mayor in the 44-year history of the city of Kenai.

Porter took over from John Williams who with 18 years of tenure was the longest-serving mayor in the city's history at the regular meeting of the Kenai City Council. Before swearing in his successor, Williams spoke to the large audience about what the past two decades have meant to him.

"It is the most educational experience of my entire life," Williams said. "And, I have to say, it is the longest job I've ever had."

In attendance for the ceremony were members of both Williams' and Porter's families, as well as a number of well-wishers and friends from the community.

Williams said he's seen a lot during his 18 years, but Wednesday's ceremony was definitely a first.

"It's the first opportunity I've had to swear in a new mayor," he said.

Williams then gave Porter the oath of office and handed her a large bouquet of flowers. The new mayor said she's looking forward to the job of mayor, and praised Williams for his time serving the city.

"(He's) going to be a hard act to follow," Porter said. "You are an inspiration to me and it's an honor to follow in your footsteps. I hope I do a good job."

Williams then thanked the city administration, staff and his wife before Porter presented him with a plaque mounted with a gavel in recognition of Williams' many years of running city meetings.

Porter's first official act as mayor was to swear in two incoming council members also elected during the Oct. 2 election. One, Joe Moore, is a familiar face on the council, having been reelected as an incumbent. The other, Cliff Massie, is a new member of the council.

Following the ceremonies, the audience gathered outside the council chambers to eat cake and congratulate Williams on his tenure as mayor and Porter on her new job.

Following the festivities, most of the audience left the council to its regular agenda.

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