DURHAM — With standing ovations and repeated thank yous, Howard Clement took his leave Monday after 30 years on the City Council.
“God bless you and good night,” he said, closing the longest council career in Durham history – six terms – because of declining health.
“We talk about great things happening in the city of Durham, Howard’s been a part of it in every way,” Mayor Bill Bell said, presenting Clement a commemorative plaque before a swearing-in ceremony for newly elected and re-elected council members at City Hall.
Retired teacher Eddie Davis was elected to Clement’s Ward 2 seat in November. Davis took office Monday, along with fellow winners Bell, Ward 3 Councilman Don Moffitt and Ward 1 Councilwoman Cora Cole-McFadden.
Former City Councilman Kim Griffin, who helped persuade Clement to fill a mid-term council vacancy in 1983, presented a plaque from the Durham Regional Association of Realtors.
“If we need a shining example of a good elected official ... it’s Howard Clement,” Griffin said.
Bell said Clement was always one to inject a note of levity in council meetings, and he was in a joking mood Monday night.
“It doesn’t seem like 30 years, I tell you. … Sometimes it seemed like 100 years,” he said.