Lisburn's mayor, Councillor Hugh Gray Bass, will not be standing in the forthcoming local government elections.
On Thursday - less than a week before 'Nomination Day' - he announced that he will be stepping down to make way for a younger man.'
And when his office terminates on October 1 (the date set for the inauguration of the new area councils) he will have completed 12½ years service to the Borough.
In a statement Mr. Bass said: "I have decided not to stand as a candidate for election to the new Lisburn District Council for a variety of reasons.
"Firstly, the newly elected members will sit for four years, and as I have already completed 12 years, this seems an appropriate time to bow out and make way for a younger man.
"The new council will represent a much larger area yet will have greatly reduced powers. Voting will be by Proportional Representation - this means that the number of electors to be canvassed is greatly increased and therefore an independent is put at a considerable disadvantage.
"I have always believed that there was no place for party politics in local government, that personalities should rate higher than parties, but that belief - like so much of the old system - belongs now to the past.
"Proportional Representation has undoubted merits but little to commend it for local government.
"I will leave local government with the greatest regret but as the existing councils continue until October 1, now is not the time for post mortems.
"The members of the new District Council will, of course, have important functions - particularly with regard to the provision of recreational facilities. Even more important, they will have the difficult task of ensuring that the voice of the people they represent will not only be heard, but listened to in the various ministries and area boards responsible for most of the functions of local government.
"I wish them well," Mr. Bass concluded.
Mr. Bass became Mayor in May 1970, having been a member of the borough council - and the former Urban council - from 1961.
He has lived in Lisburn since 1935 and has taken a keen interest in public affairs down the years. He is an ex-serviceman, having served in the RAF in the second World War.
He was the first president of the Lisburn Chamber of Commerce, first chairman of the Lisburn Historical Society, past President and founder member of the local Rotary Club and is a Justice of the Peace for County Antrim.
A member of the Society of Friends, Councillor Bass is a former member of the Board of Governors to Friends' School, Lisburn.