Mayor Kelly not seeking re-election

HRM Mayor Peter Kelly will not be seeking re-election this fall, he announced Wednesday.

Acknowledges 'stumbles' over will, says job took toll on personal life

The deputy premier says the province never appointed its head conciliator. 1:23

The mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Peter Kelly, will not be seeking re-election this fall, he announced Wednesday.

"I feel that, after 27 years of public service, I have made my contribution to the good of the community to the very best of my ability and it is time to seek new horizons," he said.

Kelly said that he intends to complete his term.

"It has been a great privilege to be mayor of HRM," he said in a media release. "The residents were always the best part of this job and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their advice, their support and also for their forgiveness when I have made mistakes, and I have made my fair share."

Kelly, 55, has faced questions about his handling of a friend's will. He was appointed executor of Mary Thibeault's will in 2004, but many of the beneficiaries have not received their money.

Politics took toll on personal life

He did not attend council Tuesday night, raising questions about his future. He answered those questions Wednesday, saying he had made his decision not to re-offer on Tuesday, after consulting with his family.

"Being mayor has come with a cost," he said. "Working more than 90 hours a week has taken its toll. My marriage has ended and it has been a strain on my family. I have always put the well being of the municipality first, but now it is time to give my family priority. I know that everyone will understand and respect my decision."

Kelly acknowledged that there had been stumbles along the way, not least being the issue of his duties as executor.

"I am not making any excuses. Whatever problems have arisen have been because of my own tardiness and I am in the process of fulfilling her instructions," he said. "Everything is accounted for and will be distributed according to her wishes."

McCluskey 'disappointed', Savage pays tribute

Dartmouth councillor Gloria McCluskey said she was "disappointed" to hear Kelly won't re-offer.

She said he had been "tardy" with his duties as an executor, but that overall he worked hard for the city and was given "a hard time" by a lot of people.

Mike Savage, the former MP who declared his candidacy for mayor earlier this month, paid tribute to Kelly.

"Mayor Peter Kelly has devoted many years to public life. I have always acknowledged his commitment to this municipality, and his work ethic on behalf of the citizens of the Halifax area," Savage said in a statement. "We owe him thanks for his service."

Savage said he will continue to focus on talking to the residents of HRM to develop his plan for the municipality, should he win the October election.

 Also in the running for the mayor's job are former Halifax police officer Tom Martin and Halifax businessman, Fred Connors.

Martin offered his reaction to Kelly Wednesday afternoon.

"I believe it is important that we realize one potentially overlooked factor in this situation — Mayor Kelly has been the mayor of our municipality for close to 12 years, and that is a service to the public that would be wrong to ignore," Martin said in a statement. "Mayor Kelly’s commitment to the municipality does require acknowledgement."

"This plays no role in my campaign for the office of mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality," he added.